Best team goal: Netherlands ‘revive Total Football’ with brilliant Nations League goal

Johan Cruyff Total Football

Johan Cruyff is one of the greatest football players to ever grace the pitch, revolutionising the game with Ajax and the Dutch National Team, before taking the style to Barcelona where he enjoyed a fruitful spell as a player.

The style was branded ‘Total Football’ and was made famous with Ajax as Cruyff was the on field conductor before adopting the style himself as a manager, especially when at Barcelona.

Unfortunately, the great man is no longer with us, but his football legacy lives on, with Holland this international break putting on a beautiful display with a great example of total football to open the scoring.

Holland 2-0 Poland

The Netherlands continues their dominant Nations League campaign with a 2-0 victory over Poland on Thursday evening, thanks to goals from Cody Gakpo and Steven Bergwijn.

After going close to triumphing in the new international tournament in the past, Virgil van Dijk’s side will be looking to go one better this time around.

It was van Dijk’s goal that separated his side and Belgium in the final group game, seeing the Dutchmen top, with an undefeated campaign including five wins and a draw.

Van Dijk as Netherlands captain.
Soccer Football – International Friendly – Netherlands v Germany – Johan Cruijff ArenA, Amsterdam, Netherlands – March 29, 2022 Netherlands’ Virgil van Dijk REUTERS/Piroschka Van De Wouw

Netherlands Total Football

Total Football is a beautiful style to watch, with former Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal getting his side to perform it superbly in their win over Poland.

They showed their patience in the build-up with sideways passes around the back to retain possession, with a few attempts to go forward. However, when they couldn’t advance, the ball was recycled.

LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 21: Louis van Gaal Manager of Manchester United applauds the fans after winning The Emirates FA Cup Final match between Manchester United and Crystal Palace at Wembley Stadium on May 21, 2016 in London, England. Man Utd won 2-1 after extra time. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

It was the skipper, van Dijk, who got the attack underway properly after displaying patience, taking matters into his own hands to ping the ball out to Denzel Dumfries on the wing, with the full back finding Steven Berghuis who linked up with Memphis Depay.

Using a first time pass, Depay slipped the ball back into Dumfries who cut the ball back expertly to Cody Gakpo who slotted the ball home to top off an unreal move.

Video: Holland’s revival of Total Football

Seeing a Dutch side deploy an iconic style of play that originated with arguably the nation’s biggest footballing legend is incredibly satisfying, it doesn’t get much better than that!

I’m sure Cruyff would have been looking down brimming with pride to see how much of an influence he has had on the Dutch national team, with his legacy living on both on and off the pitch.

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