Johan Cruyff's views on the 2010 World Cup final shows how much he valued Total Football

Spain won the final against the Netherland 1-0

BY Daniel Kelly 14:32 Saturday 26 March 2016, 14:32 26 Mar 2016

Spain's Andres Iniesta scores a goal past Netherlands' Rafael van der Vaart during the World Cup final. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

The 2010 World Cup final was far from a classic. Spain won their first World Cup defeating the Netherlands in a downright dire final, which was plagued by the tactics of the Dutch.

Andres Iniesta scored the only goal of the game in extra-time to right his name into the history books. The defeat was the third time the Dutch has lost at the final hurdle. No country has lost the biggest game in World football as many times as the Oranje. 

The late Johan Cruyff had more of a vested interest in the final that almost anyone else. Cruyff engrained his name into the footballing cultures of both countries as a player and manager. As a player, he helped the Ajax and Dutch sides of the 1970s dominate football.

At Barcelona, he led the team to their first European Cup triumph in 1991, and changed the culture of the club. Those tactics seeped their way into the 2010 national team under Vicente del Bosque.

Ahead of the final, he revealed that despite being Dutch, he expected and hoped Spain would win the final in Johannesburg. "I am Dutch but I will always defend the football Spain play...  Now, deservedly, Spain are in the final, a match that is only about winning, as I know. Spain have a great footballing generation, who may never get another chance like this."

He even spoke about the joy he would have if Spain were to be victorious in the Final. "It is Spain's game to lose but I will take intense joy if they win it."

The Dutch side of 2010 were a world away from their predecessors of the 1970s. Bert Van Marwijk's team reached the final playing a physical, defensive brand of football. The team reached the final winning five of their six games by a one-goal margin.

After the loss, Cruyff was unapologetic about his thoughts on the team claiming the played "anti-football".

He told El Periodico that the team should have been ashamed of their performances. "Holland chose an ugly path to aim for the title", Cruyff claimed.

"This ugly, vulgar, hard, hermetic, hardly eye-catching, hardly football style, yes it served the Dutch to unsettle Spain. If with this they got satisfaction, fine, but they ended up losing. They were playing anti-football."

If Cruyff's views on the final could not be blurred by patriotic lines, it really shows how much the Dutch genius valued the game being played in what he thought was the right way.


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