Tribute for defeated Dutch football team
The Dutch football team - the boys in orange - returns to the Netherlands from South Africa late this afternoon. Their plane will be escorted into Dutch air space by an F-16 fighter jet painted orange. They will land at Amsterdam’s Schipol airport, where their arrival will be screened off from fans, but not from the media.
From the airport, a military helicopter will then take them to a hotel to meet their families and friends. On Tuesday, Queen Beatrix and outgoing Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende will greet them before an official welcome in Amsterdam.
The public celebration will take place on the city’s Museum Square at 17:00, with hundreds of thousands of fans expected to attend. However, in the wake of their 1-0 defeat in Johannesburg, a large portion of the planned festivities, among them a boat trip through the city’s canals, will now no longer take place. The council will make more details of the adjusted timetable known during the day.
Sweetened defeat Despite their last minute defeat, the Orange Eleven won’t be returning home in total gloom. FIFA, the international football governing body, is to pay the team a bonus of just under 19 million euros. This is part of the 333.5 million euros it is paying out to the 32 countries that participated in this year’s World Cup.
Most national football associations are expected to give a portion of the bonuses to their teams’ trainers and players. Champion Spain is to receive a cheque for 24 million euros, from which each player will end up with a record 600,000 euros. Although there has been no official announcement about the Dutch players’ bonuses, unconfirmed media rumours suggest each member of the team will take home 200,000 euros.
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