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Thursday, March 03, 2005

Rinus Michels

Rinus Michels, the coach of netherlands' national soccer side during its "clockwork orange" total football heyday of the 1970s (and 1988 eurocup), has passed away...

michels was very important to developing netherlands' identity on the pitch...he created the total football approach which led to increasing fluidity on the soccer field with players acting like interchangeable addition, it was attacking players, during holland's 70s heyday, seemed to surge and surge forward...

if you want to see total soccer in action get your hands on the argentina-netherlands match from the 1974 world cup.... argentina never knew what hit them and got spanked 6-0 with the dutch running circles around says a lot that a supporter of argentina can admit how much fun this game is to watch!....

rinus' tactical innovations increasingly became the standard.. the man could coach and when he came back to coach holland in the 1988 eurocup led them to their single international title (and soccer lovers all over the world breathed a sigh of relief)..

the soccer loving world will forever appreciate that although a disciplinarian michels' tactical innovations served to free the player from the rigid boring strategy that limited his use of his skill..they allowed the player to play anywhere on the pitch but in an organized manner. his approach made soccer more beautiful and entertaining to watch.... and beauty in soccer has been in increasing short supply..

when menotti argentina's coach during the 1978 world cup decided to distribute players' jersey numbers alphabetically with 1 for last names starting with a and so on this in part must have been a recognition of the concept of total football michels pioneered.. no longer would the number 2 be for the left back or 3 for center back or 4 for right back and on and on...argentina avenged the 1974 spanking with a 3-1 victory in the final but it must be recognized that holland was without both michels and cruyff

some say winning is all that counts but when i think of the 1974 dutch side i do not think that is true.. they may have lost the final to the germans but everyone agrees the dutch were the bigger delight.. likewise france's 1984 eurocup side with platini, tigana and the rest may have never won a world cup but are remembered fondly by soccer lovers....

anyhow, i could not let this go without a few words... for a more standard bio and description of his tactical innovations please go here

or go here for wikipedia's entry on him with links

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