Spare a thought for conflicted Nick Clegg ahead of today’s World Cup final

by Stephen Tall on July 11, 2010

As the rest of us settle in front of the telly and choose freely which team to cheer – Spain or the Netherlands – spare a thought for Nick Clegg, biologically half-Dutch, and married to a Spaniard.

As The Independent reported his dilemma:

Tensions will run high in the Deputy Prime Minister’s house this Sunday evening when the Netherlands take on Spain in the World Cup final. Nick Clegg’s wife, Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, who was born in the Spanish village of Olmedo, north-west of Madrid, will naturally be cheering on her homeland, along with her two football-mad eldest sons, Antonio, eight, and Alberto, five. …

But there will be no footballing coalition around the Clegg family television: instead he hopes it will be the Dutch captain, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, who will lift the Jules Rimet trophy in Johannesburg.

Although he married a Spaniard – and speaks the language at home with the family – Mr Clegg is, as he puts it, “biologically half-Dutch”. His mother, Hermance van den Wall Bake, was interned as a child with her family in 1942, when the Japanese invaded Indonesia, which was then under Dutch rule. …

Mr Clegg’s office confirmed last night he would be supporting the Netherlands on Sunday, but declined to give a further explanation.

Having young sons has helped awaken an interest in football for Mr Clegg, whose first sporting love is skiing. He even left a Downing Street garden party for the press early on Wednesday evening – at which he sported a bright orange tie – to be home in time for Spain’s semi-final clash with Germany.

At least it explains Nick’s noted preference for a bright orange tie – nothing to do with being an Orange Booker after all.