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Netherlands v Spain

Cruyff slams 'vulgar' Dutch

July 12, 2010
By Soccernet staff

Johan Cruyff has slammed Netherlands for their approach to the World Cup final and said he had never believed the team could adopt such a "vulgar" style.

Johan Cruyff
GettyImagesJohan Cruyff is currently in charge of the Catalonia national team

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Cruyff, who featured in Netherlands' first World Cup final in 1974, is seen as the icon of the Dutch 'Total Football' style and he says he finds it hard to accept the methods adopted against Spain.

"Thursday they asked me from Netherlands 'Can we play like Inter? Can we stop Spain in the same way Mourinho eliminated Barca?" Cruyff wrote in El Periodico. "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 and regrettably, sadly, they played in a very dirty fashion. So much so that they should have been down to nine immediately, then they made two such ugly and hard tackles that even I felt the damage.

"This ugly, vulgar, hard, hardly eye-catching, hardly football style - yes, it served the Dutch to unsettle Spain. If they got satisfaction from this then fine, but they ended up losing.

"They were playing anti-football."

Referee Howard Webb has received criticism both for being too lenient and being too harsh. Having seen Nigel de Jong's chest-high tackle on Xabi Alonso, though, Cruyff is firmly in the former camp.

"When we say, often, that we do not like talking about referees, it is true and, above all, because only refereeing like that last night by the Englishman Howard Webb can create in us a state of such indignation that it is necessary to comment.

"You can referee incorrectly, make a mistake, but what you cannot do is create your own sense of justice and, even worse, invent a very personal application of the rules.

"Not only did he not send off two Dutchmen (including Robben who deserved the second yellow) but he also looked the other way at times when he should have involved himself.

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