Football fever hits the Netherlands as country gears up for first match
After years of debate and controversy, the FIFA World Cup has officially kicked off in Qatar. Monday afternoon will see the Netherlands and Senegal meet in the country’s first match of the competition, with Rijkswaterstaat warning drivers to expect traffic from as early as 3pm as football fans rush home from work in time for kick-off.
Rijkswaterstaat: Roads will be busy ahead of the Netherlands' match
After yesterday’s opening match between host nation Qatar and Ecuador, the Netherlands is gearing up for its first appearance in the 2022 World Cup, facing off against Senegal at 5pm on Monday, November 21.
With a 5pm kick-off, the Rijkswaterstaat expects Dutch roads will be busier than usual by mid-afternoon on Monday, as fans attempt to make it home ahead of the start of the game. A similar warning has been issued for Friday, when the Netherlands will play against Ecuador at 4pm. The slightly earlier kick-off time means roads in the Netherlands will likely be busier than usual from 2pm.
But what are the Dutch team’s odds in their opening match? Well, things are looking pretty good: the Netherlands hasn’t lost an opening match of a World Cup since 1938. According to data agency Gracenote, the Netherlands has a 78 percent chance of making it through to the knockout stage, but just a 7 percent chance of winning the competition.
No plans for Dutch prime minister or king to travel to Qatar
A few weeks ago, the announcement that King Willem-Alexander would attend the Netherlands’ matches in Qatar was met with some serious backlash from members of the public and parliament alike. Since then, the government has confirmed that a small delegation will be present at the Netherlands’ game against Qatar next week, but that no other representatives will attend any of the team’s other matches in the group stage.
This means that neither Prime Minister Mark Rutte nor the king will be present for any of the group-stage matches. The government has said it will reconsider this decision if the Dutch national team makes it through to the knockout stage.
Thumb: Paul Vance via Shutterstock.
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