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Posts Tagged ‘Johan Cruyff’

An Open Letter to Johan Cruyff

Dear Mr. Cruyff,

You have given us some of the greatest gifts a football can offer.  You created an almost otherworldly way of playing football that included revolutionary changes for players and teams alike.  Because you gave your country and the world these gifts, you are loved not only as a player but as a person who dreams for perfect and beautiful football. 

The last time our football team reached the World Cup Final game was thirty-two years ago.  I have never experienced an event like this and the thought of the Netherlands winning the World cup in my lifetime brings tears to my eyes.  Having seen the acheivements of the teams created by you in the 1970s I having always dreamed of this day and I can hardly believe it’s happening.

As your fans and as supporters of the Oranje we have been crushed by your support for Spain.  When you, our hero and talismanic chieftain, complement our opponents instead of the Oranje ahead of the most significant match in football it’s hard not to feel betrayed.

All who know you are familiar with how you love to see football played; indeed there isn’t anyone who disagrees with your ideal for beautiful football.  Not every squad is able to achieve this very high level of play and some concessions must be made in the interest of having a functional team.  In this case our Oranje team have been very successful playing a simpler and more defensive form of football.  Perhaps it’s their success without your formula that is troubling to you.  Yours ideals are the same ideals engrained in all Dutch supporters; we all yearn for that same type of football.  I assure you this success without the traditional Dutch style of play is in no way an indictment of your feelings or beliefs. 

To support another country is as near to betrayal as a cultural icon like yourself can come.  Recently in Barcelona the new club president removed you from your honorary post within the illustrious club.  I would be heart-broken if the motivation behind your comments was in part an effort to regain that post for Barcelona.  We share your history and hopes.  We shared your joy in Germany when the world was electrified by what they saw and your heartbreak in the final.  We are all united in the path we’ve walked together.

I implore you to support the Oranje; support that same shirt that you wore in 1974.  As supporters we look to you as our Oranje captain.  These Oranje players representing your country have blossomed within the footballing legacy created by you.  Do not desert us now in our moment of pregnant potential! 

Respectfully yours,

Michael de Vries

***I have attempted to send this letter to Johan Cruyff via the email addresses found on his foundation website as well as his personal website.  A response is not expected.***

Quarter Final Video Love

Can you believe that its been almost 48 hours since we put out Brazil in the quarter finals?  I can’t really come to grips with it and I keep smiling.  Can you remember the last time you were impressed by a Dutch team’s fighting spirit?  I certainly can’t and I think that’s why I’m stilling having trouble believing it.  We took on a superpower and beat them.

Okay Mike, let’s have a little perspective.  Brazil weren’t at their best and it was an error that let the Dutch back into the game.  My point is simple.  I thought as soon as Robinho slid home that lovely goal in the tenth minute the Dutch spirit would be broken.  Up to that point they had been happily trundling along content to nudge opponents out of the way.  It was at this point where adversity pummeled the Oranje that I was near certain it was over.

Shame on me for my lack of faith.  Isn’t it a trademark of good sides that all they need is a door left slightly ajar?  At 1-1 there was much to do and through perserverance and determination not only did they get the second goal they needed but their opponents lost their minds a little bit.

With all the talking done let’s sit back and look at some of the history that was intermingled with Friday’s game.

We start with the 2-0 victory over Brazil in 1974; one of the greatest Dutch sides of all time.  Both of these goals, Neeskens and Cruyff, are without a doubt two of the best from the tournament.  Both seem to typify the type of player the scorer was.  Neeskens with a lung busting run into the box going into a hard challenge for the ball and in doing so lifting it over the keeper and into the net.  Cruyff’s mid-air lunging volley captured his outrageous skill.  Notice also some horrific tackling by the Brazilians…

Next we have the defeat to Brazil in 1994.  Essentially a clinic for awful defending.

Here we see the devastating semi-final loss to Brazil on penalties in 1998.  Likely the best team at the tournament the Oranje thrilled the crowds.  The Dutch are most remembered in 1998 for Dennis Bergkamps spine-tingling 88 minute winner against Argentina.

And last but perhaps most significant of all is Friday’s come from behind victory.  Apologies for the abbreviated highlights but FIFA is making it hard to get a decent video.

Obviously the true significance of the victory will be determined as time goes by.  For now all we can do is enjoy the incredible acheivement and hope there is more to come.

New Dutch World Cup 2010 Home Shirt

Alright let’s talk a little fashion! 

I’ve looked all over and I haven’t had a lot of success finding the new home shirt for the World Cup.  There is plenty of information floating around for the away shirt but very little for the home shirt.

Low and behold my local store has it!  I managed to grab an image as well as a TERRIBLE video.  Yes the video is very very bad but it briefly summarizes the main features for Nike’s latest offering. 

The Dutch kits of late have been creative.  The shirt for Euro 2008 was beautiful with a lot of small details appreciated by everyone.  This time out the shirt has been scaled back in terms of flash.  We are back to a more traditional look with black being the secondary colour.  The first time I saw this shirt I thought immediately of the 1974 kit worn by the legendary Cruyff and Company.  Ironically that kit was made by Adidas and not Nike.  There are also some similarities to the Euro 2000 kit.

Features are sparse as I alluded too.  “NEDERLAND” appears at the nape of the neck while an oblong flag appears on the inside.  For the 2006 World Cup we had a well designed collar while in the 2008 Euro tournament we had a half white and half red/white/blue collar.  This time around we have a traditional crew neck with black trim.

The most interesting feature is on the inside of the shirt and will never be seen by anyone looking at you.  It was this feature that made me want to take the video.  Inside the shirt on the reverse of the KNVB badge there are the worlds “Oranje Leeuwen” which translates to Orange Lions.  I like the touch and Nike have included this on the away shirt as well.

I don’t think this is the most exciting football shirt I’ve seen.  I won’t be running out to pick this one up (although I may have told a little white lie to the store employee in order to convince them to let me make a video in their store).  It’s my understanding this shirt will be paired with all black shorts with white trim.  There are some online stores that are selling the new home shirt while it is beginning to creep into stores.  We can expect wider availability as we get closer South Africa where our Oranje Leeuwen will be looking svelte in their throwback shirts.