Low enthusiasm among Dutch for World Cup as Oranje head to Qatar

While the FIFA World Cup is about to start in Qatar, the enthusiasm for football has yet to reach the Netherlands. Only 14% of Dutch residents are excited about the World Cup, the same number as a month ago, EenVandaag reported on the day the Dutch national team traveled to the Gulf state for the tournament.

EenVandaag surveyed over 28,000 members of its opinion panel about the upcoming football tournament. Among Oranje supporters, enthusiasm for the World Cup is not much greater, with only 20% saying they are looking forward to it. The lack of enthusiasm seems largely rooted in Qatar’s poor reputation for equality and human rights.

“It’s on my mind, but mostly in a negative sense,” one respondent told EenVandaag. Another said: “At this World Cup you really realize how the world of football has been hijacked by big bucks. Seems there’s nothing you can do about it now. I’d rather watch the Eredivisie.

Of those who said they would watch the Oranje’s opener on Monday, a quarter said they were a bit ashamed. “I’m not just going to skip something like the World Cup, but it’s a little dirty. I’ll watch it at home with the shutters closed,” one respondent said. Only 11% said they would like to watch the match in a bar with other people or on a big screen. 77% will watch at home, alone or with roommates.

The Cabinet sends Sports Minister Conny Helder to represent the Netherlands in Qatar at the first stage of the tournament. If Oranje advances to the next round, Prime Minister Mark Rutte or King Willem-Alexander could still attend the World Cup.

Nearly 60% of EenVandaag respondents don’t want the King to go to Qatar, even if Oranje advance far in the tournament. “I’m going, it looks like he’s on the side of the Qataris and not on the side of LGBTI people and dead workers.”

The Dutch national team and coach Louis van Gaal leave today for Qatar. Their flight from Schiphol is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Memphis Depay will be with them, despite earlier fears that a hamstring injury will keep him out of the tournament.