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World Cup Finals 2010, Netherlands and Total Football

Netherlands have waited for 32 years to return to the finals of the World Cup. Perhaps their back-to-back defeats at World Cup 1974 and World Cup 1978 had been too hard for them. Perhaps a cloud of doubt had been implanted on "Total Football"

Now, Netherlands will face Spain in the World Cup 2010 finals and like 1978 they are using a modern version of total football. They will face an opponent who might also be using the same tactic but Netherlands is advanced when it comes to knowledge of Total Football.

"Total Football" is the label given to an influential tactical theory of association football in which any outfield player can take over the role of any other player in a team. It was pioneered by Dutch football club Ajax from 1969 to 1973, and further used by the Netherlands National Football Team in the 1974 FIFA World Cup. It was invented by Rinus Michels, a famous Dutch football trainer/coach (who was the coach of both Ajax and the Netherlands national team at the time).

In Total Football, a player who moves out of position is replaced by another member of the team, thus retaining the team's intended organizational structure. In this fluid system, no player is fixed in a nominal role; anyone can be successively an attacker, a midfielder and a defender. The only player fixed in a nominal position is the goalkeeper.

Total Football's tactical success depends largely on the adaptability of each footballer within the team, in particular the ability to quickly switch positions depending on the on-field situation. The theory requires players to be comfortable in multiple positions; hence, it places high technical and physical demands on them.

During this era Ajax played some of their finest football ever, achieving home wins (46-0-0) for two full seasons (1971-72 and 1972-73), just one defeat in the whole of the 1971-72 season, and celebrating five titles in 1972 (the Netherlands national league, KNVB Cup, European Cup, European Super Cup and Intercontinental Cup).

Netherlands then went on to compete for the 1974 World Cup and cruised to the finals easily. They defeated Argentina (4–0), East Germany (2–0) and Brazil (2–0). In the finals they faced the host country, West Germany however, they eventually lost 2-1.

World Cup Compilation - Holland 1974

The next World Cup 1978, Netherlands once again lost to the host nation Argentina after a controversial match. It was the second time that for them, total football work but it seems the field did not.

Netherlands - 2010 FIFA World Cup: 32 Teams, 1 Dream

On July 11, 2010, Sunday at Soccer City, Johannesburg the Dutch team had a lot to prove. They want to finally win the World Cup championship and tell everyone that Total Football is still working to this date.

Reference: Total Football. (2010, July 8). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 08:01, July 8, 2010, from

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