Dutch, Argentine fans endure snoozer of a game 

The bar may have been bright orange, but the match was definitely a bland brown.

Wednesday afternoon’s World Cup game between the Netherlands and Argentina was billed as one of the best in this tournament’s early going, and fans of the "Oranje" have flooded Bacchus Kirk in Nob Hill for Dutch games throughout pool play.

But with both teams assured of advancing to the second round before kickoff, not even two teams that are typically among the most entertaining in the world had the motivation to push for a goal.

Around 40 Holland fans and a few Argentine supporters sat mostly quietly during the match, pleased with the direction their teams are headed despite Wednesday’s 0-0 draw.

"Today’s game was boring, to be honest," said Steven Liles, a Dutch supporter who lives in Hayes Valley. "But we’re playing well and have a good chance to go a long way. And I’m glad we played Argentina now, so we don’t have to see them again for a while."

The best of the few chances went to Argentina, which almost scored in the first half when Juan Riquelme’s free kick was knocked into the crossbar by a Dutch defender. Next to the TV, Mario Ledezma tugged on his blue and white Argentina jersey and let out a groan.

"I’m from Peru, but I like Argentina because they’re a South American team," Ledezma said. "Plus, I’ve got some money on those guys to win it all."

In the corner, Holland residents Gerard and Brian sipped on Stellas while contemplating the success of their team and soccer in America as a whole. The two return to Amsterdam today, but came away impressed with the buzz surrounding this year’s Cup in the Bay Area.

"It’s far more lively than it was four years ago," Gerard said. "I like the atmosphere."

With the draw, Argentina wins the group and will next play Mexico on Saturday. The Dutch face Portugal on Sunday, and its fans are still hoping for big things.

"In general they look really good," Brian said. "They were already through before this game, but they’re still working hard. I have high hopes."

melliser@examiner.com

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