It must have been a special moment for Jonathan de Guzman when he walked into the dressing room of the Arena Fonte Nova at approximately 9.50pm BST on Friday evening. He had been part of a side that had beaten the world champions. And they had beaten them good.
It’s been a strong start for Jacks players so far this tournament, de Guzman has been part of the Dutch’s dream start against Spain on day two of the tournament, whilst Wilfried Bony helped inspire the Ivory Coast to a dramatic turnaround in Recife,-going from 1-0 down to 2-1 with Wilf grabbing the equaliser with a brilliantly directed header before Gervinho did exactly the same two minutes later.
And there’s plenty more to come. Ki Sung-yeung kicked off his campaign against Russia, and will be trying to help the Asian side push for a place in the Second Round in what looks to be a very tight group.
But it’s arguably Group B and the Dutch who are going to provide all the excitement for Swansea fans. They’ve already steamrollered the favourites to top the group and now face a much less difficult task against Australia on Wednesday night. Louis Van Gaal may even take this chance to rest a few of his star names and even bring in the likes of Michel Vorm, who has been a key figure in South Wales since 2011.
de Guzman is once again likely to start for the Flying Dutchmen in the holding role, and with him giving the attack a little more freedom, the 25 year old could be key throughout the tournament especially with the Netherlands World Cup Free Bets page indicating that the Orange Army could end up going head-to-head with hosts Brazil in the Second Round.
Elsewhere, many of the other Swans are bracing themselves for difficult second round matches should they qualify. Bony could end taking on any team in Group D, with Italy or the threatening England looking most likely, whilst South Korea would need a miracle to get past a likely encounter with the ruthless Germans.
However, as this World Cup has already proved, it’s wise not to write any team off. We’ve already seen the Koreans shock teams before- including Italy and Spain on the road to the 2002 World Cup semi-finals-and they’ve been channelling that spirit again after they held out for a 1-1 draw against the Russians in their opening group fixture.
Of course it’s highly unlikely that the Koreans will replicate the feat of 2002. It is however realistic to believe that two World Cup winners could be coming back to Swansea, should Villarreal allow de Guzman to return to the Liberty Stadium.
At the moment it’s looking good, and what an achievement that would be for the little side that nearly dropped out of the Football League just over ten years ago to contain World Cup Winners.
This article was written by Sean O’Connor