Before leaving Italy, I already knew I was going to join a local football team in the Netherlands. During the AID I was advised to join the University team, GVC Wageningen. When I entered the dressing room for the first time I immediately noticed that this team mirrors the University: more or less half the team is Dutch, while the other half is from all over the world (Spain, Brazil, Ecuador, Poland, China, Germany and Italy).
The coach and training staff, on the other hand, are typically Dutch. Their style of football is quite different from the Italian style. For example the trainings here focus more on individual technique and on passing skills, much like the tikitaka of FC Barcelona. The Italian tactic and training style, on the other hand, focuses more on the defence, the famous catenaccio. These differences can also be noticed during matches, on Saturdays, where GVC Wageningen has built a reputation among local football teams for playing a unique blend of tikinaccio – a mix between tikitaka and catenaccio.
Besides the way the game is played, I also found some other interesting differences from Italian football. For instance, most of the games are played on synthetic fields, there is a bit more fair play and – this I found the funniest – the ‘third half’ is very important to the players. We played against some teams that would sit outside the dressing room after the match, drinking beers and playing very loud music. Techno and hardcore, most of the time. Francesco Di Martino Comaschi, recent Wageningen University graduate
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Het Wageningse voetbalteam waar Francesco Di Martino in speelde, weerspiegelde de universiteit: voor de helft Nederlandse spelers en voor de helft internationale studenten. Dat leidde tot een mix aan speelstijlen. Maar ook buiten het veld gaat het er in Nederland anders aan toe dan in Italië, zegt Franscesco. Het viel hem vooral op hoeveel belang de tegenstanders, Nederlandse teams, hechtten aan de ‘derde helft’: na de wedstrijd voor de kleedkamer zitten, bier drinken en techno luisteren.