Take pity on the fans as the Dutch crash out of Euro 2008

After watching the Dutch get knocked out of the Euro 2008 soccer championships yesterday, I had no choice but to once again, write about the agony of being a Dutch soccer fan.

As it was in 2006, it is again in 2008. Russia definitely deserved to win yesterday, as they dominated the field, had the better chances, played an aggressive attacking style of soccer, and were simply the better team. In the end they beat the Dutch at their own game, which might have something to do with their Dutch coach, the brilliant Guus Hiddink.

It definitely had something to do with Russian playmaker - and goalscorer - Andrei Arshavin, a relative unknown before this tournament, who had the game of his life and was, amazingly, the best man on the field by far.

I say "amazingly", because he was playing against a team of Dutch superstars. Tied 1-1 at the end of 90 minutes, the Russians took control in the 30 minutes of extra time and scored two more goals to win it 3-1.

Yesterday may have been the longest day of the year, but for all us Dutch fans it felt like the longest night as well.

No one looked better in the opening round-robin stage of the tournament than the Dutch. No one scored more goals. No one had more flash. No one looked more unbeatable. And no one could have crashed out more spectacularly.

I'm not a religious man, but I beg that some deity or another will have mercy on all us Dutch fans and make the pain go away. With God on our side or not, one thing's for certain: this isn't happening again in South Africa in two years’ time!

That's right, Holland are going all the way at the World Cup in 2010. World Champions. Remember, you heard it here first.

Mike Cowie is a writer currently embarked on a book about his three-year trip across Asia with his wife, Sonoko. Read more of Mike’s views on his website.