Dutch open training session to fans

Dutch training open to fans

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — At Brazilian club Flamengo on Saturday, orange was the new red and black.

The Netherlands held its first World Cup training session open to fans and the stand turned — predictably — the national color: orange.

There was a sprinkling of red and black too, the colors of Brazilian club Flamengo, whose training complex Louis van Gaal’s team is using.

The Dutch don’t play their first game until June 13 — a repeat of the 2010 World Cup final against Spain — and it’s in Salvador, hundreds of kilometers (miles) away so the stand overlooking the pitch and Rio’s iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer was not a total orange crush. Instead it was a mixture of ex-pats and Brazilian fans.

Even a security guard was wearing a T-shirt in the Dutch national color.

Maarten de Haan, a 38-year-old IT project manager in an orange polo shirt, has lived in Rio for two years and said he is not optimistic of getting tickets for a match. Instead, he was standing alongside his Brazilian wife watching the players train in baking heat and high humidity.

“The shirt just comes out for (the Dutch national holiday of) King’s Day and football matches,” he said.

Not everybody was in orange.

High school student Andre Somma was wearing the red of Manchester United and was tracking the movements of striker Robin van Persie and his boss next season at Old Trafford, Van Gaal.

“He is a great manager and he’s going to Manchester,” he said. “I like him very much. I’ve come to try to get his and Van Persie’s autographs.”

De Haan’s wife Emanuele, despite her Brazilian roots, was happy to join the Dutch jingoism, if only temporarily.

“Today, I am orange,” she said.

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