Dutch fans rely on Brazilian backup for semis

High travel costs as well as trouble finding match tickets has kept many Oranje fans from following their team to Brazil

The Sao Paulo Tourism Authority expects about 40,000 Argentinins have tickets to the game [GALLO/GETTY]

Sao Paulo, Brazil – Dutch football fans lucky enough to attend the World Cup semi-final on Wednesday will struggle to make themselves heard among the thousands of Argentinians expected at the Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo.

The Dutch fans will likely be fewer than 3,000** strong at the match against La Albiceleste (the white and sky blue), a record low for the fanatical Oranje legion that normally counts many thousands of orange-clad fans.

The so-called Orange Camping, an all-Dutch initiative offering a cheap alternative to the expensive hotels in Brazil, had to close down on Monday because of lack of customers.

An orange invasion of Sao Paulo.

At its peak, during the group stage of the World Cup, there were about 500 guests staying at the Oranje Camping. Now the organisation cancelled all reservations and has been working to break down the tents.

Oranje Camping organiser Jakko de Wit told Al Jazeera that exorbitant travel costs and difficulties finding match tickets had spoiled travel plans for many Dutch supporters.

“Flights from Amsterdam to Brazil were about 2,000 euros ($2,700). Add to that the cost of food and tickets to the games, which – if you’re lucky enough to find them – can cost up to $1,000, it can easily amount to a package of over 3,500 euros ($4,700).”

“In the age of European austerity, that’s simply too expensive for a football game, even for a World Cup game,” De Wit said.

De Wit added that the international media’s ‘scare mongering’ about the security situation in the Brazilian host cities also put off many Dutch football fans from taking the 11,5 hour flight from Amsterdam.

Only one charter flight carrying 200 Oranje supporters left the Netherlands for Brazil on Tuesday, the Dutch national broadcaster NOS reported.

Value of winning

Despite their often crazy-looking orange outfits, the Dutch fans have the most level-headed approach to the tournament of all four countries that made it to the semi-finals, Dutch bank ING said in a study published on Tuesday.

A sample survey showed that fans from Argentina would be willing to sacrifice 10 times more money than the Dutch for their team to win the World Cup.

On average the Argentinians would be willing to pay $580 per person if it would mean that Messi-and-Co would win the tournament. The frugal Dutch are only willing to sacrifice $53, according to the survey.

The Sao Paulo Tourism Authority expects about 70,000 Argentinians in the city during the match on Wednesday but only about 40,000 of them have tickets to the game.

Nevertheless, the amount of orange shirts in the stadium will far outnumber the 1,000 Dutch fans, as many Brazilian ticket holders will support the Dutch team against their old football rival, Argentina.

**An earlier version of this story said fewer than 1,000 Dutch fans will be travelling to the game. The number has been changed to 3,000 after an update from the Dutch police.

Source: Al Jazeera

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