Saturday, July 10, 2010


The origin of the football played by most of the players are almost identical. The root that is now apparent in the Spanish team more than the Dutch team. Johan Cruyff with Michels should be credited for exporting the brand of football to Spain in Barcelona. All we wish for on the final is the best representation of Total Football where defence is not in their vocabulary. We want to see the finest display of Total Football where offence is the key ingredient. It does not guarantee victory as being shown by Inter Milan against Barcelona this season. Therefore, will Spain's art of Total Football survive in the end? Johan Cruyff is a Dutch but he loves Spain to win in promotion of the Total Football that he promoted in Barcelona.

Netherlands v Spain World Cup 2010 Final Will Be The Clash Of Two Greatest Ever Academies
Rinus Michels, Johan Cruyff and their footballing gift to Oranje and La Roja.
By Graham Lister
Jul 9, 2010 10:55:00 PM

Sunday's eagerly-awaited World Cup final between Holland and Spain will, remarkably, be the first ever competitive meeting between these two nations; yet they are inextricably linked by their shared footballing philosophy - a tactical approach attributable to two Dutchmen, Rinus Michels and Johan Cruyff, and their profound influence on two clubs, Ajax and Barcelona.

The two squads from whom a new name will be inscribed on the World Cup this weekend include no fewer than 17 players who graduated from the academies of these two great clubs, which is to say that all 17 were schooled in their formative years in the fluid and highly flexible style known as 'Total Football'.

That was the label given to the system in which any outfield player can seamlessly assume the role of any other in the team - an approach embodied in successive Ajax, Holland, Barcelona and Spain teams, and one which could provide a feast for football purists on Sunday.

Some argue that the genesis of Total Football was the great Hungary team of the early 1950s, who are credited with re-inventing the game after the Second World War. They have a strong case; and it is no coincidence that the international record set by those Magical Magyars - of 32 consecutive matches without defeat - was only beaten, in June 2009, by the current Spain team.

But the version of Total Football developed by Ajax and later Barcelona had its origins in Amsterdam. Englishman Jack Reynolds, manager of Ajax Amsterdam from 1915–1925, 1928–1940, and 1945-1947, first experimented with it. One of his players in his last spell at the club was Michels, and he is the man who famously pioneered and refined it when he himself turned to coaching.

Under Michels, Ajax played some of their best ever football, winning the Dutch league four times and cup three times between 1965 and 1971, and also lifting the first of three consecutive European Cups. His great on-field orchestrator was the incomparable Johan Cruyff. The pair also worked together at Barcelona - Michels joining the Catalans in 1971 and Cruyff in 1973 - and with the Dutch national team, who dazzled the world with Total Football at the 1974 World Cup and are still regarded as the best team never to have won the trophy.

In Cruyff's vision of Total Football, which was further refined when he became coach of Ajax (1985-88) and Barcelona (1988-96), and which is evident today in the way both 2010 World Cup finalists play, space is everything. An Ajax team-mate of Cruyff's, Barry Hulshoff, once explained: "We discussed space the whole time. Johan Cruyff always talked about where people should run and where they should stand, and when they should not move."

In 1987 Ajax won the European Cup again under Cruyff; and when he emulated Michels by becoming coach of Barca, he assembled the fabled 'Dream Team'. Under Cruyff's guidance, Barca won four consecutive La Liga titles from 1991 to 1994 and beat Sampdoria in both the 1989 Cup Winners' Cup final and the 1992 European Cup final - the latter with a free kick by Dutch international Ronald Koeman, which reflected the growing Dutch influence at Barca.

Winning 11 trophies, Cruyff became Barcelona's most successful and longest serving manager to date. Perhaps most significantly, in building the Dream Team he recruited Pep Guardiola, whose successful playing career has been followed by an even more successful coaching career, in which the legacy of the Michels-Cruyff brand of Total Football is dazzlingly apparent. The current Spain squad is packed with players under Guardiola's tutelage at club level who came through the Barca academy: Victor Valdes, Gerard Pique, Carles Puyol, Sergio Busquets, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta and Pedro Rodriguez, with Cesc Fabregas having begun his footballing education at Camp Nou, where he modeled his game on Guardiola’s.

Meanwhile the Ajax youth program remains one of the most vibrant and productive in world football. In 1995, when Ajax won the Champions League, the Dutch national team was composed almost entirely of their players, including Edwin van der Sar, Michael Reiziger, Frank de Boer, Danny Blind, Ronald de Boer, Edgar Davids, Clarence Seedorf, Patrick Kluivert and Marc Overmars. Several of those stars also went on to represent Barcelona with distinction.

Heirs to the legacy created by these players and the likes of Cruyff, Marco van Basten, Frank Rijkaard and Dennis Bergkamp can be found throughout the current Oranje squad. Wesley Sneijder, Rafael van der Vaart, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Eljero Elia, John Heitinga, Nigel de Jong, Maarten Stekelenburg, Gregory van der Wiel and Ryan Babel all came through the ranks at Ajax.

The 2010 World Cup final will, therefore, be something of an affirmation that the Total Football philosophy born some 40 years ago in Amsterdam has been nurtured over a couple of generations and flourished in the academies of two famous clubs to the benefit of two distinctive national teams. And when of those nations lifts the trophy for the first time on Sunday, attacking football will be the winner.

Netherlands v Spain
Cruyff tips Spain to beat Dutch
July 9, 2010

By Soccernet staff

Dutch legend Johan Cruyff has tipped Spain to beat his native Netherlands in the World Cup final, claiming it would be better for football if their Barcelona-style play won out.

Cruyff has had significant influence on both the World Cup finalists. He helped drive the Netherlands to new heights with their Total Football in the 1970s and his lasting impression as a player and coach on Barcelona has filtered through to this Spain team, which is mostly made up from representatives of the Catalan club.

While Bert van Marwijk's Dutch team has adopted a more measured approach to ensure their progress to the South Africa showpiece, Spain continue to play a dominating, possession-based style of football, albeit without a flood of goals to show for it, that Cruyff appreciates most.

"Spain is now the great favourite," he wrote in El Periodico de Catalunya on Thursday. "Del Bosque's team has grown in strength and finds itself in the final at the top of its game. Yesterday evening Germany, which put on a display against Argentina, played football which would have been enough to beat any team but not Spain.

"But not Spain. If Spain goes for you, it kills you. There's no doubt that Germany knew what it was going to go through, just like Holland is probably thinking now. If you go up against a team that wants to keep the ball, you're going to suffer.

"Spain, a replica of Barca, is the best publicity for football. Who am I supporting? I am Dutch but I support the football that Spain is playing."


Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home