Total Football

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Ajax played the most fluid football after deploying Total Football, and completed a perfect home record 46 wins, 0 losses and draws for two consecutive seasons and They suffered just one defeat in the whole of the Eredivisie season, and celebrated four titles in — winning two league titles, the KNVB Cup, the European Cup and the Intercontinental Cup.

Ajax, alongside Real Madrid , were clubs who adopted Total Football in Europe early on, though the philosophy was also used in other countries and leagues — such as the Austrian Wunderteam in the s, Argentina side 'La Maquina' of River Plate in the s, and English side Burnley in the s as well as Brazilian side Santos in the s. In Argentina, River Plate forged an excellent team that were dubbed 'La Maquina' The Machine who were led by Carlos Munoz, Jose Manuel Moreno, Adolofo pedernera and Angel Labruno — who had perfected the idea of the 'false nine' playing style and a frequent change of attacking positions and formations.

For their efforts, La Maquina won several Argentine and international accolades and inspired Hungary's Golden Team of the Summer Olympics pictured — who then went on to lose the World Cup final to West Germany in a narrow scoreline. Johan Cruyff is the player who is the most synonymous with the philosophy of Total Football, having excelled in his role as a forward for Ajax under manager Rinus Michels in the mids. Cruyff was one of the most lauded players in his time and is still revered today — known for his iconic 'Cruyff Turn', a trademark feint of his that has been widely replicated in the modern game.

Total Football: What Ever Happened To the Beautiful Game?

Though Cruyff was initially fileded as a centre-forward, his manager allowed him to be deployed freely around the pitch and was not set in one permanent position — and he used his technical skill and intelligence in reading the state of play to take advantage of the other team's opposition and use space to create chances. Cruyff's teammates then adapted their own play to suit him accordingly, and switched positions between themselves to make sure that tactical roles were always filled.

Cruyff was viewed as the on-pitch 'conductor' of Total Football, with space and creation create plays integral to the philosophy. The prominence of Total Football in Dutch football was also thought to be related to the "death of Catenaccio", an old system used by Italian teams that were heavily reliant on defense and used frequently by Inter in the early s. Total Football was prone to errors and wasn't always successful, however, as seen by their defeat in the World Cup final. West Germany succeeded in their vigilant man-marking through Berti Vogts that stifled the Netherlands' intents on playmaking, which allowed the eventual winners to establish their dominance in the midfield.

In later years, Cruyff implemented the philosophy of Total Football during his time as Barcelona manager in to , though it evolved into a new playing style titled 'Juego de Posicion' which was also based off of the same theory. In their song 'Total Football' from their album released this year, New York-based post-punk band Parquet Courts delivers a socialist message that combines themes from actual football as well as reactions stemmed from the current political climate in the United states.

The World Cup was the tipping point in the history of the tournament, perhaps of all global sport. But, everything was going to be alright. The Netherlands, encapsulating youth and optimism, were going to win the World Cup and set everything right. The Netherlands were experiencing a cultural, architectural and social revolution in the s, and at the centre of that was the concept of space, or, more accurately, the lack of it. Inundated by the North Sea, the Netherlands was a nation that grew up in a lack of space.

Minimalism and abstractness were at the forefront of everyday thought.

Η διαφωνία στο Total Football για τον Σ. Θεοδωρίδη

While the above-mentioned used canvases and charts, Johan Cruyff and Co. When attacking, the Total Football system sought to expand space on the pitch, while, more tellingly, when defending, it sought to compress it. The tenets of the Total Football system were held up by positional flexibility, where the space the player finds himself in dictates his role and not the number on the back of his shirt. This required a high capacity for spatial understanding, technical ability, chemistry, individual all-round skill, and the gift of timing.

It was unnerving. To better understand this organised disorganisation, think of it like a jazz band making free-jam geometry with the ball, if you will. Overlapping, interceding, crests and troughs, forming patterns with movement.

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Johan Cruyff, aptly named the conductor of this band by coach Rinus Michels, and Pythagoras in Boots by David Miller, saw sheet music behind his eyes. Michels called it waging psychological warfare, undermining morale and worrying their wives. Some called it exaggeration, others in the team called it lies. It must have been someone else.


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Football Paradise asks David Winner, the author of Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football , one of the best football culture writers of our times, to shed some light on the events that led up to the Day Total Football Died and on the day itself. So, has he come upon new evidence since the publication of his book in ?

He showed, for example, that the swimming pool story was accurate and in fact understated the degree to which the Dutch were living loosely. Little did he know. An assistant coach, for example, according to Hugh McIlvanney, was sent home for hurling wine bottles at the wall behind the bar counter at the Hotel Wald. But why were they so complacent? Up until the final, the Dutch were politely shrugging their way through the competition, scoring fourteen goals and conceding one which was, incidentally, an own goal by Ruud Krol, made perhaps to make things a little more interesting.

The widespread consensus was that the flourish came a game too early. Having beaten Brazil, they thought that was it , they were the only team they feared. Rinus Michels lied about the incident not happening.

total football

Embarrassed by the discovery and in an attempt to save face he went on an offensive against the German media who were, in truth, warm and accommodating , refusing to speak Deutsch at press conferences. They were riled. On July 7, , under the ratatatatat of patrol helicopters and far inside the outside perimeters of gruffy police rottweilers, referee Jack Taylor blew his whistle for kick-off in the Olympic Stadium. The team that thrilled neutrals into fairweather fandom with their attacking play, which was both spirited and surgically precise, gave way to disdain.

Urban Dictionary: total football

The West Germans were European Champions. They had the feeling they were invincible — you could see it in their eyes. They made us feel small. The first time West Germany touched the ball was when the goalkeeper, Sepp Maier picked the ball out of his own net.


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  • It was Johan Neeskens who put the penalty away. Yeah, the Netherlands were arrogant, they relaxed too soon and then they took the lead in the first minute and they thought, well, this is easy. They started showing off, making fun of the Germans. There was a basis for the arrogance, however.