RICHLAND — Bert de Jong's cat pounced on an orange towel hanging off the couch in the living room.
De Jong gently pulled the feline onto his lap and said, "You can tear up a red one."
Even animals must respect orange in de Jong's house because that's the color worn by the Netherlands' national soccer team.
The Dutchman, who now lives in Richland and works at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, had friends over Sunday to watch his team face off against Spain in the World Cup final.
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"The world is standing still in the Netherlands right now," de Jong, 41, said as the match began.
He and friends including Lucas Visscher, 44, who lives near Amsterdam but was in town visiting the lab, sat on the edge of the couch as the players worked the ball up and down the field. They talked strategy and shared jokes, but kept their eyes glued to the TV.
At halftime, the score was 0-0. Even though Spain was favored to win, de Jong said he still felt the Netherlands had a solid shot.
"It's still a 50-50 chance, that's for sure," he said.
De Jong showed his team pride by decking out his house in orange. There were orange towels draped over the couch. He even had orange table cloths and napkins.
And he wore a bright orange polo shirt -- no easy find in the Tri-Cities, he said.
"The last two days I've been looking (for orange gear)," he said.
He finally found the shirt at T.J. Maxx.
Neither the Netherlands nor Spain had won a World Cup title before. The Netherlands made it to the finals twice in the 1970s.
"If they win, I think (people in the Netherlands) will stop working for two days," de Jong joked.
At half-time, he said that -- regardless of the final outcome -- he was proud of how well the team did this year.
"I'm still amazed they made it this far," he said.
It was a close finish. Spain scored a goal in extra time and won.