So, how many of you watched the special on the '74 World Cup on Nederland 2 yesterday? I watched almost all of it, and I thought it was really interesting. Since I was only seven-and-a-half at the time, I really don’t remember too much from then.
The first thing I noticed was how much the game has changed in thirty years. In '74 the players actually had time to stop the ball, look around, and then pass. Sometimes you would actually see the player with the ball come to a complete standstill for a few seconds! Nowadays, the players and the ball are in constant movement.
The second thing I noticed was how good some of the players other than the two Johans (Neeskens and Cruyff) were. I didn’t know that Wim van Hanegem was such an excellent passer! Other players that I thought were really good were Suurbier, Wim Jansen, and Krol. For instance the assist for the 2-0 against Brazil was a thing of beauty from Krol, especially considering he crossed with his weaker foot.
The third thing I noticed is how good the Dutch offside trap was, and how bad the linesmen were. There were several cases of the linesmen calling offside incorrectly. The Dutch were so good at springing that trap, that most linesmen fell for it, even when the attackers were clearly NOT offside at the moment the ball was passed.
The fourth thing I noticed was the hair. Man, those were some horrendous haircuts!
The fifth thing I noticed was how good the Dutch “totalvoetbal” really was. One minute you would see Cruyff defending all the way back, while Krol and Arie Haan were running up the flanks with the ball, and Wim Jansen was attacking up the middle. The next minute Rensenbrink and van Hanegem would be in the back with Neeskens and Cruyff attacking. No team could really figure out how to play against these tactics.
The last and most important thing is the fact that the Dutch deserved to win that World Cup. They were much better than West Germany throughout the tournament. But then Germany had Gerd Müller. Only he could have scored that goal in the Final the way he did. Oh, and Hölzenbein obviously did a “Schwalbe”. He started falling before he was even touched!
OK, this is now open for discussion. Fire away!