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Page last updated at 17:11 GMT, Monday, 12 July 2010 18:11 UK

World Cup 2010: Dutch tactics upset Johan Cruyff

Nigel De Jong lunges at Xabi Alonso

De Jong sees yellow for 'Kung-Fu' tackle

Dutch football legend Johan Cruyff has launched a scathing attack on Netherlands' display in the World Cup final, deriding it as "anti-football".

The Dutch received nine yellow cards, and a red card for Johnny Heitinga, as they lost 1-0 to Spain in South Africa.

"Sadly, they played very dirty," Cruyff told Spanish newspaper El Periodico.

"This ugly, vulgar, hard, hermetic, hardly eye-catching, hardly football style... If with this they got satisfaction, fine, but they lost."

Cruyff was the symbol of 'Total Football', which earned the Dutch successive World Cup final appearances in 1974 and 1978.

Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk appeared to opt for pragmatism over style as he led the Oranje to a third final in South Africa, but the result was the same, as Andres Iniesta scored an extra-time winner for Spain.


But Sunday's game was also notable for Netherlands' surprisingly aggressive approach.

Cruyff, along with many others, believed Mark van Bommel and Nigel de Jong were lucky not to be sent off before half-time, Van Bommel for a tackle from behind on Iniesta and De Jong for kicking Xabi Alonso in the chest.

"They should have been down to nine immediately, then they made two [such] ugly and hard tackles that even I felt the damage," said the 63-year-old Cruyff.

"It hurts me that Holland chose an ugly path to aim for the title."

Cruyff brought his footballing philosophy to Barcelona in an eight-year spell as manager, and he is widely credited with the one-touch passing style still employed by the Catalan club, who provided the backbone of Spain's World Cup-winning squad.

However, in the Champions League semi-final last season, Pep Guardiola's side were upset by a defence-minded Inter Milan, coached by Jose Mourinho - a fact not lost on Cruyff.

"On Thursday they asked me from Holland 'Can we play like Inter? Can we stop Spain in the same way Mourinho eliminated Barca?'

"I said no, no way at all. I said no, not because I hate this style, I said no because I thought that my country wouldn't dare to and would never renounce their style. I said no because, without having great players like those of the past, the team has its own style.

"I was wrong. Of course I'm not hanging all 11 of them by the same rope, but almost. They didn't want the ball."

Cruyff also joined in the criticism of English referee Howard Webb, accusing him of being too soft with the players.

"A World Cup final deserves great refereeing and, above all, deserves a referee who dares to do everything it means to be a judge," he said.

Iker Casillas lifts the World Cup for Spain

Highlights - Netherlands 0-1 Spain

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see also
Del Bosque tips Spain to dominate
11 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Dutch coach condemns referee Webb
12 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Webb had very hard task - Blatter
12 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
BBC pundits on World Cup final
12 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Fifa to make refereeing changes
08 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Team tracker and Predictor
27 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup venues
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010

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