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Dutch prepare for party, issued with health warning

Sports Desk |
Update: 2010-07-10 21:40:11

THE HAGUE: Virtually the whole of the 16.5million population of the Netherlands were gearing up for a huge nationwide party amid enormous anticipation of the Oranje winning the World Cup for the first time when they face European champions Spain in Johannesburg later on Sunday.

However, the Dutch Football Federation did issue a health warning for supporters to be careful in the amount of alcohol they drank and to try and restrain their emotions during the final itself.

"The risk of cardiac arrest is between 1.5 to 2.5 times higher with football fans during an important competition than normal times," it said in a statement.

Oranje fever` has swept a nation where only a brave 8percent have confessed to have taken no interest whatsoever in the tournament and their team`s fortunes.

One of the country`s largest pizza companies is not opening because their delivery workers preferred to risk the sack by watching the final than work.

And famed violinist Andre Rieu has had to make a swift change of venue.

Rieu was due to give a concert in Maastricht`s main square on Sunday evening but the two giant screens are going to be showing the final instead.

He like all performers has insisted the show must go on but has switched to giving his musical rendition of the Vienna Waltzes in the main exhibition hall in the city in the afternoon.

"A large amount of the people who had wanted to watch Andre Rieu perform also wanted to watch the final," Joseph Delfing, spokesman for the mayor, told AFP.

Elsewhere tens of thousands of Dutch supporters were expected to descend en masse and en famille later on Sunday to watch the match on Europe`s biggest mobile giant screen (88 square metres) in front of the Rijksmuseum.

"People should start arriving in the afternoon, especially those who are coming from outside Amsterdam, people living in Amsterdam will roll up later," Rob van der Veen, a spokesman for Amsterdam police, told AFP.

In what should be a spectacular prelude to the kick-off (1830 GMT) and in a diplomatic gesture 85,000 flowers both orange (the Dutch side`s colours) and others in red and yellow (the Spanish colours) will be dropped by helicopter in both Amsterdam and Madrid half-an-hour before the match.

The organisers of the drop, the Dutch Association for Gardening, clearly not missing the opportunity for an eyecatching piece of self-promotion.

Giant screens have also been erected in Holland`s second largest city Rotterdam, and in the central city of Utrecht, where the match will be screened on the outskirts so as to avoid overcrowding in bars in the centre of the city.

If Tuesday`s figures are anything to go by for the semi-final win over Uruguay then Amsterdam is in for quite an invasion as 50,000 pople packed the area to watch the match on the giant screen while an amazing 12.3million Dutch people watched the 3-2 victory on television.

BDST: 1848hrs, July 11, 2010

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