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BORN:  APR. 25, 1947
COUNTRY: Holland
WORLD CUP APPEARANCES:  7 matches in 1 tournament ('74)
CLUBS: Ajax, Barcelona, Los Angles Aztecs, Washington Diplomats, Levante, Ajax, Feyernood

INTRODUCTION:The greatest player of the 1974 World Cup and the greatest Dutch player of all-time.

1974 World Cup - West Germany
Cruyff was the captain of Holland and received comparisons to Pele during the tournament in West Germany.  His breathtaking display was there for all to see, scoring and creating goals.  Cruyff gave a performance in his World Cup debut against Uruguay that the spectators could hardly forget.  Accelarating and turning away from opponents, Cruyff created havoc in the South American defence.  He combined with Suurbier to set up Rep and also scored a disallowed 'goal'.  Holland had a goalless draw against Sweden.  But in the next game, Cruyff gave his greatest performance in the World Cup.  First, he was fouled in the penalty area by a Bulgarian defender that led to Neeskens' penalty goal.  Next, his free-kick set up Rep.  He completed a remarkable performance by playing a left-wing cross for De Jong to apply a beautiful diving header and complete the rout.

Cruyff continued his breath-taking form in the quarter-final against Argentina, scoring two superb goals, one of them after dancing beautifully past Argentine goalkeeper Carnevali.  And just like in the previous game, he provided another deadly cross for Rep to score the final goal of the 4-0 victory.  Holland beat East Germany easily and met Brazil in the match which decides who will go to the Final.
In a bad-tempered match, Cruyff's majestic skills proved decisive.  First he laid the ball back for Neeskens to finish powerfully.  Next came perhaps the Dutch master's greatest goal in the World Cup.  Running like a leopard from midfield, he connected with Neeskens' cross in front of Brazil's goal and volleyed home a superb clinching goal that spelled an end to Brazil's dominance of world football.

With Cruyff in such dangerous form, West Germany's manager Helmut Schoen assigned Berti Vogts, the greatest marker of his generation, to man-mark Cruyff in the Final.  But Cruyff still inspired Holland's first goal, darting through the Dutch defence before being brought down by Hoeness.  However, West Germany's resilience brought them two goals.  And with Cruyff distracted by arguments with the referee (he also received a yellow card for that), Holland failed to come back in the second half and lost the World Cup to Germany.

Still a top player 4 years later, Cruyff announced his international retirement shortly before the 1978 World Cup.  Some speculated he was threatened by terrorists from Argentina.

Quarter-final:  1st match v. Argentina (2)
Quarter-final: 3rd match v. Brazil

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