European Soccer

DeJong does it again

Nigel DeJong (Reuters) 

Dutch midfielder Nigel DeJong will always be remembered by U.S. men's national team fans for his leg-breaking tackle on Stuart Holden (and by most other soccer fans for his chest stomp on Xabi Alonso in the World Cup Final). The leg breaker was at it again on Sunday, snapping the leg of Newcastle midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa in a tackle that could best be described as reckless.

How bad was it? So bad that Dutch national team manager Bert van Marwyjk has rescinded a call-up of De Jong because of it.

If you haven't seen the tackle, here it is (and it's not for the squeemish):

What do you think of the tackle? Praying for the day someone gives De Jong a taste of his own medicine? Have more respect for the Dutch national team manager for his decision? Think FIFA should step in and ban De Jong?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Knowles

    Normally I’m not into vengeance, but with this guy’s track record I wholeheartedly agree with the posters who believe he should be put in his place on the field. There’s a certain primal justice to players governing themselves that can act as a deterrent when league bureaucracy doesn’t take sufficient action, like when that player for the Washington Nationals got beaned earlier this year by the opposing pitcher for showing up the other team.

    If I was a player on a team coming up soon on Man City’s sched, I’d be aiming between the foot and knee with studs up and a nice running start


  • r.benjamin

    well as the Dutch coach said.. I guess there are multiple standards.

    The tackle was brutal and he certainly has history.

    So.. hats off to the Dutch coach for taking the stance. In the long run he it could be self serving when De jong doesnt get a red in a Euro 2012 match


  • GW


    It’s not just Europe.

    Perhaps I’m just a lot more cynical or maybe I’ve seen a lot more games than you but I’ve seen quite a few tackles like De Jong’s. It’s just that they aren’t often all done by the same player, so close together in time and in such high profile matches. And they don’t always break legs.

    I’ve followed MB since his first game for the US. In those games he was going to the ground so often and so hard you would have thought he was always trying to steal second base. Thankfully, he usually missed his man. I feared for his US career because I was sure he was going to get thrown out of every game. Thankfully, he’s gotten a lot better since then.

    And if you think I’m exaggerating then read the British websites. Try the Guardian. Yes, the fact that De Jong has strung three high profile bad tackles ( especially in the World Cup final) together has drawn attention. But they are not anywhere near as up in arms about this as US fans are. Of course you have to remember that City play three ( and you thought BB was conservative!) holding midfielders and Mancini is a pragmatic Italian strategist.

    City are clearly not out to play pretty.

    And Mancini hasn’t, as far as I can tell , been critical of De Jong.

    Google the dutch manager and read his quotes

    on the matter. Or read them here. From the Guardian:

    “The Holland coach, Bert van Marwijk, said he saw “no alternative” but to remove De Jong, adding: “I’ve seen the pictures back. It was a wild and unnecessary offence. He went in much too hard. It is unfortunate, especially since he does not need to do it.

    “The funny thing is that the referee did not even show a yellow card for it. Apparently, there are other standards. But I have a problem with the way Nigel needlessly looks to push the limit. I am going to speak to him.”

    You may not agree but to me this is a man who is critical of De Jong because of his lack of discipline and how that is bad for a team,not because of any inherent lack of morality, or because De Jong is some sort of monster. De Jong is a highly accomplished player and I’m sure he sees this as a consequence of aggressive play.

    I doubt he thinks he is trying to intentionally trying to hurt anyone because, well, he’s out there too. He’s not like you and me hurling insults from behind the safety of anonymous computer screens. If any other footballer wants a piece of him he’s out there every Sunday. Holden is welcome to try and break his leg the next time Bolton take on City.


  • GW

    Cesc was playng for Arsenal at the time. Reason enough I guess.

    And it wasn’t intentional. You’ll hear that ad nauseum, whenever this sort of thing happens.


  • Big Smoke

    If I remember correctly, the only card in the Stuart Holden tackle was given to Torres for vehemently berating the ref for lack of a card on De Wrong.


  • Big Smoke

    Actually, the FA is not responsible for handing down any suspension. The only authority the FA has over the EPL is some sort of oversight into EPL rule changes, and, I think, veto power over the EPL’s chairman.


  • Big Smoke

    Therefore, the EPL would be solely responsible for this one, not FIFA, UEFA, or the FA, because it was an EPL match.


  • GW

    If you are going to go for the vigilante solution Holden should do the dirty himself. I don’t think Bolton has an enforcer. This isn’t hockey where the star player always had a bodyguard, a hammer like Dave Schultz, Bob Probert, Joey Kocur, or Dave Semenko.

    If Holden has an issue with De Jong he’ll have 90 minutes to do something about it when Bolton meets City.


  • wally

    why are you so sure it wasn’t intentional? perhaps he wasn’t precisely thinking “break Arfa’s leg,” but you can’t watch that video and tell me that De Jong, as he slides through Arfa at 20mph, is not fully aware he’s about to impart serious and excessive force to Arfa’s body.

    And, assuming you are correct about the frequency of similalry hideous tackles in europe (which i don’t think you are), i’m not sure why that should excuse such behavior. Aren’t violent tackles bad and worthy of punishment, no matter how frequent or infrequent? If they happen so much, as you contend, isn’t that further reason to take a stand and punish De Jong, further deterring that kind of play.. or do you enjoy watching thugs kick long balls, battle on set pieces and physically punish small skill players..


  • Neruda

    De Jong is in the wrong sport. He’s a lethal martial artist playing soccer. I wish Chuck Norris could protect Holden against him the Bolton v Man City match.


  • RB

    No, De Jong was booked for the tackle on Holden. Very late, and seemingly while enjoying a good joke with the ref, but he was. You can check the game stats online.


  • RB

    “And if you think I’m exaggerating then read the British websites. Try the Guardian.”

    You mean like the Guardian piece now out on the matter by Richard Williams that’s entitled “Football Has a Duty to Disarm its Human Missiles”?


  • GW

    I’m not excusing De Jong’s behavior. I just don’t think it’s particularly surprising. The man and many others like him, have been tackling like this for years on end. If De Jong did this in League Two and the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Cup, I doubt it would get the notice is has been getting.

    What is surprising, besides the fact that De Jong has three in a row so close together, is that the serious injuries don’t happen more frequently.

    I can’t read minds,which apparently you and others on this blog can. I have no way of knowing whether or not De Jong meant to hurt Holden, Alonso and HBA. So unless you are a proven mind reader, you are unable to truly determine actual intent. Maybe De Jong is a lying cheat, but in this matter we cannot prove intent. He always tackles this way. Leads with the left and trails with the right leg bent. They don’t call him the “Lawnmower” for nothing. But he doesn’t alway break legs or hurt people. Otherwise, defenders would never slide tackle anyone.

    The FA and The EPL know all about him but they choose to do nothing. He didn’t even get a card for the HBA incident so there is not foul and no action can be taken. So if you are upset about it take it up with them not me.

    I don’t care what De Jong’s intent was because the end result is the same. Saying you are sorry changes nothing. Saying you meant to him changes nothing. The leg is still broken. De Jong clearly isn’t terribly concerned that he might end someone’s career, but is he trying to do that? I couldn’t tell you.

    Everyone who goes into a slide tackle should realise that there is always a chance that you can break someone’s leg. Whether it’s football or baseball anyone who runs full out and then goes into a slide knows, at some level, that this action can result in all kinds of serious bodily harm to him or someone else. But athletes are all practiced in the art of denial and they just know it won’t happen with them. They tell themselves it’s part of the game. They tell themselves, they aren’t going for the man they are going for the ball. If the man gets in the way, well that’s just too bad it’s part of the game.

    I once broke a winger’s leg but it was unintentional. But I will say my coaches always said to do everything full out otherwise I’d get hurt. So I went into every tackle as hard as I could so I would not get hurt. And believe me, getting tackled by me is nothing like what happens when a real player tackles you. And I still broke a guy’s leg.

    Remember, before he got hurt Holden or any other USMNT player could have tackled De Jong and, unintentionally of course, broken his leg. And of course, Holden and his teamates still have that option open to them.


  • GW

    That’s the one. Did you read the article?

    If you do you’ll find Williams doesn’t talk about what monster De Jong is; rather he talks about how there is a need to do something about this sort of tackle: what exactly one should do he doesn’t really say but then I don’t have any great ideas either.

    At any rate if you read the article you’ll find nothing like the level of outrage that is in evidence here.


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