Orange fever as fans go bananas

Orange fever as fans go bananas

De Telegraaf, the country's largest newspaper, led its front page with a lion screaming ‘Finale!’ and photos of the team's stars, including Wesley Sneijder and Giovanni van Bronckhorst, who both scored, smiling ear to ear at Tuesday's semifinal in Cape Town.

State TV was in a similar mood, opening with shots of screaming crowds across the country, more than a fair few of them fully covered with either orange facepaint or the national red, white and blue flag.

Reports suggested more than 80,000 people -- or over 10 percent of the city's entire population -- watched the match on big screens in Amsterdam's Museum Square, which erupted in orange fireworks and flares when the final whistle blew.

"It's really fantastic, I'm really pleased and happy. We will win the final against Germany 3-0!" said Jelle Groenendaal, a spectator in the massive crowd, sporting a fuzzy orange chicken hat.

Although Germany and Spain meet later on Wednesday in Durban for the right to meet the Dutch in the final on Sunday in Soccer City, Johannesburg, most Dutch are expecting -- if not anticipating -- a final against bitter rivals Germany.  The Netherlands lost their previous two World Cup finals, against West Germany in 1974 and Argentina in 1978.

After the win, Dutch soccer anthems such as "Viva Hollandia" blasted from loudspeakers as people danced and waved flags, sporting orange wigs, hats and feather boas. Crowds of people streamed into garland-decked bars in Amsterdam's squares to celebrate after the match, while honking car horns and cyclists' bells were heard along the city's canals late into the night.

Other than 18 arrests in The Hague, there was little evidence of serious problems throughout the country following the match, aside from the odd report of people jumping into canals, on to trams and even on to the roofs of houseboats.

Some 8.5 million viewers, on average, tuned into the match in the country of 16.7 million. Mobile phone operator T-Mobile reported some 800,000 text messages being sent directly after the match, Dutch news agency ANP said, and some 900,000 phone calls as well.

Air France-KLM said immediately after the game ended that it would put on four extra flights to Johannesburg this weekend, three from Amsterdam and one from Paris.

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