The Netherlands are facing some very important hours at the time I write this. This night, the future of our nation will officially be decided. F*ck that. Let’s talk some football.
I am really, really nervous for Thursday. Usually, right before we get kicked out of Europe, I get this weird feeling, and I got it again today. That feeling, of course being confidence. I sincerely feel Ajax are strong favourites to proceed to the quarter finals of the Europa League. Which is weird, because Copenhagen are showing all the characteristics of an Ajax-boogeyman. Let’s run through the checklist.
First of all, we were all sort of relieved when Copenhagen was drawn two weeks ago. It wasn’t Manchester United, or Rostov, or the amazing Lyon and Roma. Hardly any draw could have been better than Copenhagen. Which is, coincidentally, the exact same way I felt about Rostov earlier this year, Steaua Bucarest three years ago, Salzburg (I didn’t know, really) and Dnjepr Dnjepropetrovsk (typed that one without looking it up, I swear).
Step two. Do you know any of the players of your opponent? I hardly know anyone from Copenhagen, besides Boilesen, Zanka and Cornelius. I didn’t know anyone from Salzburg (Sadio Mané, who?), Bucarest (still don’t), Rostov (really, no-one) or Dnjepr (besides Konoplyanka, and look how that turned out). All those really unknown players ended up destroying the hyped-up Ajax-youngsters.
Step three. Does the opponent get (rightfully) hyped up by football hipsters you follow on Twitter? Rostov was, almost immediately landmarked as a dangerous opponent by someone I follow. So was Salzburg, so was Steaua and so was f*cking Dnjepr. Copenhagen was hyped up so badly, I almost went in the first leg expecting to be beaten 7-0. They were so confident, their stats were so impressive, so my expectations were a little lower than I initially thought they would be.
Which leads us to…
Step four. Is the opponent not as terrifying as expected after the first leg? Yes, again. Copenhagen wasn’t really amazing, were they? We scored against them and we were fairly sh*t for around sixty minutes, while only conceding two with half of our defense missing. But Rostov weren’t that great in Amsterdam, and Steaua were actually less than us in the first leg. Only Salzburg breaks the pattern in this one, making me very, very sad right from the get-go. But rules are there to be broken.
It’s time that this time, the rules break in our advantage. Let’s f*cking go Ajax!