Argentina struggles to beat Australia and meet the Netherlands in the quarterfinals

Argentina won the round of 16 against Australia 2-1 on Saturday evening. At the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan, Lionel Messi scored the first goal of the game in the first half and Julián Álvarez was able to take advantage of an error in the Australian defense after the break. Australia eventually made it quite difficult for Argentina, but it didn’t get any further than the 2-1 fifteen minutes before the end. With the victory, Argentina qualifies for the quarterfinals of this World Cup, in which it will meet the Dutch national team next Friday. The Netherlands won 3-1 against the US earlier on Saturday.

Argentina already had some trouble in the first half with Australia, which kept the spaces on the field small. The Argentinians, seen by many as one of the favorites for the world title prior to the tournament, hardly created any scoring opportunities. Until the 35th minute, when Lionel Messi found a hole in a crowded penalty area. He shot the ball with the inside of his left foot behind Australian goalkeeper Matthew Ryan. It was Messi’s ninth World Cup goal, but his first goal in the knockout stage of a World Cup.

Australia had to come in the second half, creating more space for Argentina. Still, the 2-0 came from a situation where Australia had the ball. After an hour of play, defender Harry Souttar got his keeper Matthew Ryan into trouble with a back pass. Ryan couldn’t control the ball, after which Julián Álvarez managed to snatch the ball from him and then had no trouble finding the empty goal.

Argentina failed to finish the match easily. In the 73rd minute, a long shot from Australian substitute Craig Goodwin via Enzo Fernández ended up behind goalkeeper Martínez: 2-1. Australia came close to equalizing ten minutes before the end, but left back Aziz Behich could not crown his solo with a goal. Lisandro Martínez managed to block the bet just in time. It remained at 2-1, because Argentina missed some great opportunities and Australia was also unable to score.

This article is also part of our live blog: Argentina struggles to beat Australia and meet the Netherlands in the quarterfinals


US national coach apologizes after fuss over Iranian flag

The American national coach Gregg Berhalter had to apologize on Monday for a social media action by the American football association in the run-up to the fraught match between the United States and Iran, which will be played on Tuesday. The union posted an image on Facebook, among other things, of the standings in group B. However, the Iranian flag was missing the emblem of the Islamic Republic.

The Iranian Football Association filed a complaint with FIFA and the world football association Iranian state media demanded that the American team would be removed from the tournament. A short time later, another image appeared on the social media and website of the US federation, this time showing the Iranian flag with the emblem.

According to US coach Gregg Berhalter, he and his players were not involved in the action. “We are not involved in these external things and all we can do is apologize on behalf of the players and staff,” he said according to AFP news agency. “I don’t know enough about politics, I’m a football coach.”

The match between the two geopolitical arch rivals is also a sporting duel to look forward to. The American team must beat Iran on Tuesday to qualify for the next round.

This article is also part of our live blog: Ghana too strong for combative South Korea: 3-2


Brazil beats Switzerland by goal Casemiro in the last minute

Brazil defeated Switzerland 1-0 on Monday through a late goal from midfielder Casemiro. The team of national coach Tite has thus qualified as the second country for the knockout phase of the tournament.

Brazil started without star player Neymar, who was injured in the opening game against Serbia. Brazil started cautiously against Switzerland and did not create any real opportunities, partly due to the good organization of the Swiss. Only after half an hour of play did the Brazilians get a first opportunity via Real Madrid striker Vinícius Júnior, which was caught by Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer. Brazil’s pressure increased more and more, but further great opportunities failed to materialize before the break.

After just over an hour of play, Vinícius Júnior thought he had put Brazil ahead, but his goal was disallowed for offside. In the 82nd minute it was still hit. After a quick combination in the Swiss sixteen-meter area, midfielder Casemiro hit diagonally with the outside of his foot. In the final phase, Brazil’s lead was no longer in danger.

With the 1-0 victory, Brazil is the second country to qualify for the round of 16 at the World Cup. Earlier, title holder France already qualified for the knockout phase in which sixteen countries remain. Switzerland can also qualify for this. It is second in group H behind Brazil and will play in the last group match on Friday against Serbia, which, like Cameroon, has one point.

This article is also part of our live blog: US national coach apologizes after fuss over Iranian flag


Portugal qualifies for the knockout phase thanks to Bruno Fernandes

Portugal has qualified for the knockout stage of the World Cup by beating Uruguay 2-0. The Portuguese are in the lead in group H after winning two games, where Uruguay is at the bottom with 1 point. On Friday, the South Americans must beat Ghana to qualify for the next round.

The pace was high from the start at the Lusail Stadium, with Portugal dominating, having their first chance of the match through William Carvalho. After half an hour, Uruguay was close to the opening goal via midfielder Rodrigo Betancur, who met goalkeeper Diogo Costa after an impressive rush.

Rainbow flag

After the break it was already a spectacle after five minutes, although not for a football-technical reason. A man ran onto the field with a rainbow flag, wearing a shirt with texts for Ukraine (‘Save Ukraine’) and Iran (‘Respect for Iranian Women’). He was quickly carried off the field and a few minutes later it was Portugal who took the lead when a Bruno Fernandes cross swung straight into the goal.

Uruguay now had to score and that created more threat for the Portuguese goal, with a shot from Maxi Gómez at the post as the highlight. Portugal, however, held on in the closing stages and doubled their lead in stoppage time via a penalty from star Bruno Fernandes, after hands from José María Giménez.

This article is also part of our live blog: Portugal qualifies for the knockout phase thanks to Bruno Fernandes


How a Dutch top model became friends with Gianni Versace

Vai – to go – Marpessina. Gianni Versace gave that message to the Dutch model Marpessa Hennink before she took to the catwalk. For almost ten years, between 1985 and 1994, she participated in almost all shows of the Italian designer, who was killed in front of his home in Miami in 1997 at the age of fifty by serial killer Andrew Cunanan. “I felt like a superstar in an Oscar film with him,” says Hennink (58). “I usually played the diva on his catwalk, a bit bitchy: here I am! Now all models walk the same way everywhere, but in those days you were supposed to interpret the clothes.”

From 3 December, the Groninger Museum will be showing an exhibition featuring Versace clothing – the Versace belonging to Gianni Versace, not his sister Donatella, who has been responsible for the collections since his death. The garments come from various private collections, and were previously on display in Berlin.

There was an atmosphere of excess around Versace, especially in the nineties. Not only because of the fashion – sexy, powerful, festive, lavishly decorated – also because of his own lavishly decorated houses and the entourage of actors, pop stars and supermodels. After the shows, Hennink also went to the dinners at his home in Milan. “Then you could sit next to Diana, or Elton John or Prince. It was intimidating the first few times, but Gianni and Donatella always put you at ease.”

He never embarrassed models. Other designers talked about tits, he about breasts

Marpessa Hennick

Because Versace was, she says, a sweet man. “So gentle and respectful to the women around him. Never an unkind word. He adored his mother and his sister, he never embarrassed models. Other designers talked about tits, he about breasts. And he himself had no decadent lifestyle at all. That’s why I got so mad about that series on Netflix, The Assassination of Gianni Versace. He is portrayed as a spoiled Italian with a spacious villa in Miami who completely immersed himself in the gay nightlife. Well, I’ve been to clubs with him, but he wasn’t one to go to a back room disappeared.”


Defying fear turned out to be a formula for success for two young ‘scared hares’

While ringing in the bath the idea arose, through the tears of panic. Suffering from severe anxiety attacks, entrepreneurs – “fast marketing guys”, they say themselves – Michael Hijlkema (34) and Fabrizio Manese (31) decide to start the company Hoofdbaas. “Expensive things and a lot of money did not make us happy. Psychologists did not help us to break out of the vicious circle of stress,” says Hijlkema. Now the friends themselves act in mental toughness.

In a moss-green coworking space on Amsterdam’s Rhijnvis Feithstraat, not far from the Vondelpark, history student Gijs van Leeuwen (22) concludes his monthly ‘mentally strong’ training session. “Laterrr”, calls Hijlkema when Van Leeuwen walks out the door. “When he came here two years ago, he was intensely sad,” Hijlkema looks back.

Van Leeuwen had been with a psychologist (cognitive behavioral therapy for an anxiety disorder) for four years before he reported to Hoofdboss. “A world of difference,” he says. “The psychologist’s strongly past-oriented approach made me think endlessly. I did not get out of my fear spiral, at most for the short term.” According to him, the main boss is “straight to the point”, focused on the future. Hijlkema – T-shirt, jeans, big smile – gives “hope”. Looking at him, “confident and knowing that he knows the monster of fear”, opens an “equivalent dialogue” for Van Leeuwen that allows him to better face his fears. “Friends no longer see the wallflower I was, but a boy with bravura,” he concludes.

Luxury life, but no balance

Back to those men in the bath. Or better: the experts by experience. Manese – also called “the investor” – and Hijlkema (“the trainer”) have known each other for years from the municipality of Uitgeest-Akersloot. Manese calls between the bubble baths from Bangkok, where he ran an international online marketing company at the time. In 2017, Manese tells in the AD about his lifestyle there: situated in a penthouse of 145 square meters and with at least “1,000 euros per month in dining costs”.

I know what it’s like not to dare to enter Albert Heijn

Michael Hilkema

But despite palm trees, slippers and expensive curries: you can’t buy inner balance. “I was overworked, had panic attacks. A Dutch psychologist gave advice that I could not do much with. But Michael knew exactly what I was feeling.” Hijlkema has been at home for almost two years at that time and does not leave the house at all for seven months. “I know what it is like not to dare to enter Albert Heijn,” says Hijlkema.

That experience, feeling fear, learning to live with it, and a good sense of marketing – “We are not crazy either, there is a huge market here” – is the basis of Hoofdbaas (founded in 2021). “Let’s not forget the waiting lists in regular health care,” says Hijlkema. “We are anything but that dusty GGZ,” Manese agrees.

Fabrizio Manese (left) and Michael Hijlkema: „Expensive things and a lot of money did not make us happy. Psychologists did not help us break out of the vicious circle of stress.”

The revenue model? Online training – “on a large scale to as many people as possible” – under the heading ‘Fear and panic mastery’ (22 videos) and ‘Mental strong’ (39 videos) and one-on-one training. “Accessible, direct, without fuss, no waiting lists, full of humor and vulnerability,” said the Amsterdammers. Because: “It’s okay to feel shitty sometimes.”

What you get for 79 to 249 euros per package online, 100 euros per hour offline, uninsured: exercises in mindfulness, emotion and communication training, awareness of personal rules, letting go of control. It borrows from ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) – such as exercises around finding balance and the question: what do I need to be happy?

Anxiety complaints getting younger

Hijlkema and Manese are worried and see that anxiety symptoms are emerging at an increasingly young age. “The anxiety problem is only getting bigger, we are massively overstimulated. Partly due to excessive screen time and the high standards we set for ourselves.”

Figures from the Health Monitor (an initiative of the GGD, RIVM and CBS) show that 9 percent of young adults (18 to 34 years old) in the Netherlands have a high risk of developing an anxiety disorder or depression (2020) . Eight years earlier that was still 6 percent.

While it ‘rains’ registrations and positive reviews, there is also criticism of Hoofdboss from the psychological field. “The first reaction is: stay away from our profession,” said Frank Jonker, clinical neuropsychologist and chairman of mental health care at the NIP (Dutch Institute of Psychologists), after viewing Hoofdbaas’s “slick website”. But, he admits, that “land grabbing feeling” is a matter of “false ownership”.

He continues: “The entire GGZ is turned upside down, the rack is out.” Waiting lists are long. Initiatives such as these, which support mental resilience, can ‘unburden’ mental health care. But it is “not a treatment” that is offered, emphasizes Jonker. He points to the Integral Care Agreement, drawn up in September, with the aim of keeping care for the future ‘good, accessible and affordable’, whereby it is precisely the light forms of care that are provided by mental health care. “This vision includes an approach to care in the neighborhood and digital care on a large scale. The initiative of Hoofdbaas, who rightly talk about training, fits in with this.”

Trainer Hijlkema talks with psychologists to expand the team. In addition to ‘improving image’, this has another important reason: ‘Keep your mental peace yourself. Otherwise we are back to square one.”


Let yourself be enchanted by their aerial ballet

Few natural wonders are as spectacular as the aerial ballet of giant starling clouds. We can also see this in the Netherlands at this time of year when we look up – whether in a rural area above the meadows, or directly above the roofs of densely populated urban areas. Those who are lucky enough to see and hear such a beautiful dance up close – the murmur of all those thousands of wings – will never forget that. Fortunately, there are plenty of videos on the internet that will almost blow you out of your chair even looking at a screen; that they fly so massively close to each other when suddenly swerving to the left or right and then do not collide with each other, remains something unbelievable.

Photo Sasha Elage

The Russian-Lebanese photographer Sasha Elage (1980) lives in Nice in the south of France, near a public garden where large numbers of starlings perch in the trees every evening in autumn to spend the night there, but only after they have shown their acrobatic skills. During the lockdown in October 2020, photographing the starlings was a welcome distraction in that one hour he was allowed outside; “a sensation” too, as he himself says. Elage posted his starling photos on his website ( and on Instagram.

The phenomenon appealed to him so much that he decided to turn it into a whole project, titled Murmurations (swarms), for which he not only waits for the starlings around his house, but now also follows them on their routes to the warmer south, such as Italy, or to Northern Europe. The project is a work in progress but already includes many beautiful images of palm trees surrounded by thousands of birds in Nice, silhouettes on tree branches as night falls and ‘red’ starlings illuminated by the evening sun. Elage: “In 2020, our world mysteriously changed, and nature came a little closer to us. With my photos I want to show how these natural phenomena gave meaning and purpose to my everyday evenings.”

Photo Sasha Elage

Photo Sasha Elage

Photo Sasha Elage

Photo Sasha Elage

Photo Sasha Elage

Photo Sasha Elage


Opinion | The NPO needs public competition

The media offer must be “developed independently, without substantive interference from politics or commerce”. These beautiful words, read on the website of the NPO, the Dutch Public Broadcasting, are unfortunately little more than wishful thinking. Since the abolition of TV and radio fees in 2000, exactly the opposite has happened.

Politicians are only too happy to interfere with ‘Hilversum’, while the hunt for the viewing figures has become the main occupation of the NPO board. Add to that the reprehensible work morals of some broadcasters that have recently become known and the shameful state of affairs surrounding Ongehoord Nederland, and it is clear that the public broadcasting system is in need of a thorough overhaul.

The monopoly of the NPO should come to an end, namely by setting up an Alternative Public Broadcasting, in short ‘APO’. This is not some lobby that gets airtime after recruiting 50,000 like-minded people, but an entirely new public organization that will produce programs for all kinds of platforms. So not within the existing system, but alongside it, as a direct public competitor for the entire NPO.

Broadcasting associations once competed with each other on identity and creativity. That unique system became a fertile breeding ground for a world-leading media industry. But the pillarization is passé. Since the establishment of the NPO as an umbrella organization and the various broadcasting mergers, the identity of the various associations has been greatly diluted. Zapping along the various NPO channels, the viewer has the greatest difficulty in discovering which sender is behind which programme. Usually it is only the large logos at the top left of the screen that refer to a specific broadcaster. A ‘platform for identities’, which the NPO still tries to be, has long since become obsolete.

High Quality

For those who object that a second public broadcaster would be impossible: that system has been working excellently for years in various European countries. Germany has, among others, the ARD, the ZDF and Deutsche Welle, which all operate independently of each other. The British pay 190 euros a year for the BBC (without advertising) and for Channel 4 (with advertising). Partly due to their mutual competition, these two organizations produce many productions of exceptionally high quality. In addition to France Télévisions (which includes five television channels), the French watch a handful of other public channels. There is even a European public broadcaster, ARTE, financed by French and German taxpayers, available free of charge to every European, including the Netherlands.

Revelations in recent weeks about the corporate culture at BNNVARA show that radio and television makers of the NPO are unacceptably dependent on the mood swings of Frans Klein (even after all the revelations still officially director video of the NPO), Jurre Bosman (director audio ) and their network coordinators. This unhealthy, pyramidal governance monopoly has led to clientelism, inefficiency, a tense battle with commercial broadcasters, and a lack of technological innovation.

The APO has the advantage that the structural flaws of the NPO can be avoided from the start. Without top-heavy bureaucracy, Hilversum real estate portfolios and broadcasting editors, the APO can efficiently devote itself to the core task of a public broadcaster: making high-quality programmes. News, debates, music, high-quality drama, documentaries, et cetera. In any case, the criterion should always be quality, not viewing figures and target groups.

Read also: Something is faltering in Hilversum, but what is needed for a real cultural change?

Not a public market disruptor

A full-fledged second public service broadcaster can manage with around 100 to 125 million euros per year. That is about 10 to 15 percent of the NPO’s budget, and sufficient for an APO without advertising. In this way, the STER funds remain available to the NPO, and the commercial channels do not receive a public market disruptor. In comparison, the very ambitious ARTE gets by with about 140 million a year.

There are several options for financing the APO. The amount could be deducted from the current budget of the NPO (942 million euros in 2027, about 100 euros per household per year, less than Netflix or Apple TV). The government can also decide to finance the APO from general funds. Since the beginning of this century, the government grant, corrected for inflation, has fallen steadily. An amount of 100 million extra has no consequences for the treasury. Another possibility is the reintroduction of the TV and audio fees or a levy on products with a screen (from smartphone to smart TV). Possibly a (compulsory or not) monthly subscription of ten euros for all public channels could be considered, as in Denmark.

Following a public tender, the APO could receive a long-term concession of, for example, seven years, renewable for another five years. In this way, long-term investments are possible and there is no need to dance to the fickle tunes of changing coalitions in The Hague.

And unhealthy, pyramidal governance monopoly has led to clientelism, inefficiency, a tense battle with commercial broadcasters

The programming of the APO is not based on an oppressive philosophy of life, but on the basis of a clear mission. Which this is can be defined in the tender conditions. Where the NPO is now often conspicuous by its absence in international partnerships, the APO can enter into close cooperation with broadcasters such as ARTE, Euronews and other public broadcasters in the EU right from the start. Together with the company’s own productions, this creates an offer that focuses not on viewing figures, but on quality.

Anyone who is unheard of, evangelical, generally liberal, or an elderly adept of Bart de Graaff can still turn to the old NPO, which is collapsing under its own weight, even after the introduction of the APO. Those who need a platform that is not guided by viewing figures or political preferences will get their money’s worth at the Alternative Public Broadcasting. Therefore a call to politicians for a radical change in the law: save the NPO, launch the APO!

Let NRC know what you think of this piece and send a letter!

Would you like to respond to a letter or an article? Use this form to send a letter (maximum 250 words) to the NRC opinion editors.

If your letter is published, we will contact you by email. We do not post anonymous letters and letters sent to various media. The opinion editors can quote from your letter in the Saturday column ‘Editor’s Inbox’.



Do you want to stay informed of the latest news? Sign up for the Today Newsletter



  1. Leave your letter here (maximum 250 words)


Exposure to poison

In her youth, Radio 1 reporter Laura Kors peeled tulip bulbs, a part-time job that made her hate flowers for years to come. When she interviewed a former greenhouse horticulturist during a radio broadcast a few years ago who most likely developed Parkinson’s disease from exposure to poison, she began to worry.

As bulb growers, her relatives used large quantities of the pesticides. What are the consequences? And would she herself also notice the effects of the summers in the greenhouse? Kors thus embarks on a journalistic quest with a personal motive. A well-known format, but a beautiful execution: the perspectives of Kors’ family members add a lot to the story. This is how Uncle Cor explains the impact of the substances as simply as they are powerful: “When you went to the toilet after work, the toilet stank of that substance. But you didn’t think about that at the time.”

Will I get Parkinson’s?5 episodes of about 30 minutes, NPO Radio 1 / AVROTROS.


Mother and son

In My Mother Made Me Poet and children’s book author Jason Reynolds introduces us to his mother, Isabell. As a workaholic, Reynolds sometimes doesn’t know how to keep suppressing his “internal scream” at the end of the week. But then it’s Sunday again. The day he returns to his childhood home, where he finds Isabell at the kitchen table.

The two talk about work, family, aging, religion. The intimate conversations are part of an almost two-hour long monologue by Reynolds about passing on life lessons. His rhythmic narration in combination with the beautiful music his brother made for this podcast imbues the whole with gentleness and nostalgia.

My Mother Made Me4 ep. of 30 min, Radiotopia Presents.