Dutch soccer legend leaves the field

3rd March 2005, Comments 0 comments

3 March 2005, AMSTERDAM — The Netherlands lost a soccer hero with the death of Rinus Michels on Thursday. The former manager who instilled the "Total Football" concept into the Dutch soccer team in the 1970s and 1980s was 77.

3 March 2005

AMSTERDAM — The Netherlands lost a soccer hero with the death of Rinus Michels on Thursday. The former manager who instilled the "Total Football" concept into the Dutch soccer team in the 1970s and 1980s was 77.

Rinus Michels defined the Netherlands' Total Football age

As a sign of the regard the Dutch public had for him, the news of his passing bumped coverage of the heaviest snow in the Netherlands for decades down the page on many internet sites. Flags flew at half-mast at the headquarters of the Dutch soccer association KNVB in Zeist.

Michels was one of the most successful soccer coaches in the Netherlands, NOS reported. He was named coach of the century by soccer's world governing body FIFA in 1999.

He began his playing career with Amsterdam Ajax in 1941 and played with the Netherlands' national team on five occasions. He later managed the Amsterdam side as it won the national championship on four occasions.

He earned the nickname "the General" while he was the national team's trainer. He led the Netherlands to the final of the World Cup in West Germany in 1974. The Dutch lost 2-1 against the host country.

His greatest success came in 1988 when the Dutch team won the European Cup, a vindication of the "Total Football" philosophy.

Wikipedia, an online encyclopaedia, describes Total Football as a "system where a player who moves out of his position is replaced by another from his team, thus retaining their intended organisational structure. In this fluid system no footballer is fixed in their intended outfield role; anyone can be successively an attacker, a midfielder and a defender. Total Football depends largely on the adaptability of each footballer within the team to succeed".

Michels underwent preventative heart surgery two weeks ago to install a pacemaker. Doctors said at the time that the procedure had gone well.

But the Dutch soccer association KNVB said his recovery was halted when complications set in. Michels died at 5am on Thursday.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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