TPA’s musings generally don’t extend to personal financial matters, but today we are making an exception.
Here’s some advice: Take all of your money out of your savings account and bet every last cent on Chile to beat the Netherlands in their World Cup match tomorrow morning.*
Chile are a sure thing. Surer than the Cincinnati Reds in the 1919 World Series. Surer than any side playing a Hansie Cronje-led South African side in an ODI in the mid-90s. Or anyone playing the Pakistan cricket team ever, for that matter.
Chile are guaranteed to win because, as ESPNFC reports, their opponents the Netherlands are set to field a team without a player whose surname begins with “Van” for the first time since 1996. No van Persie. No van der Vaart. No van Basten.
The Van streak in competitive matches goes back even further, with the last Van-less Netherlands side playing in the 1994 World Cup. It didn’t end well. They lost against Belgium.
The Netherlands without a “Van” in the lineup is like the Australian test cricket team without a Waugh in their middle order.
It’s the equivalent of an Australian Men’s Doubles Team without “wood” in a players’ surname, a South Korea side without any “Lee”, or worse still, a Brazilian team with no single-word-named players (imagine a world with no Fred, no Jo and no Juninho).
It goes without saying that all of these sides are greatly diminished when they are deprived of their stalwart names.
Like a dole-bludger surfer in 1970s Australia (or a child kidnapper), the Netherlands will struggle without their Van.
On the other hand, Chile will field a strong side laden with Sanchez-es, Diaz-es and Silvas.
Expect Chile to take the Van-less Netherlands for a ride.
By Ben Shine
*Gamble responsibly. Or save yourself some money and don’t gamble at all.