Brussels, July 13
Wim Suurbier, a defender who helped set up the free-flowing “Total Football” on the good Ajax and Dutch nationwide groups of the 1970s, has died, his former membership stated on Monday. He was 75.
Suurbier, who died over the weekend, gained three European Cups with Ajax and performed in two World Cup finals with the Netherlands — shedding each.
In a narrative about Suurbier’s loss of life on the Ajax web site, the Dutch membership known as him “the first modern back of the Netherlands.” No explanation for loss of life was given.
For all of the creativity of gamers like Johan Cruyff, the tactical system that earned Ajax its three European Cups additionally wanted its sensible, quick and reliable defenders. And though Suurbier by no means got here near having the expertise of Cryuff, he grew to become an early template of the current-day proper again together with his unlikely velocity roaming the total size of the sphere.
“He was as fast with his legs as with his mouth, but he had a heart of gold,” stated Ruud Krol, his defensive teammate.
Born on the finish of World War II, Suurbier’s timing as an expert completely crossed the paths of Cruyff and coach Rinus Michels.
The mixture of the best Dutch participant and the best Dutch coach produced the freedom-loving “Total Football,” a revolutionary change in techniques with gamers interchanging roles, pressuring the opposition everywhere in the area and continually shifting with mesmerizing fluidity.
Suurbier felt proper at dwelling within the white-and-red strip of Ajax and the orange shirt of the nationwide group, closing down opposing forwards earlier than driving ahead alongside the sideline with velocity few may match.
For just a few years, no group or coach had a clue how one can counter “Total Football,” permitting Ajax to win three straight European Cups from 1971-73. Suurbier was there all alongside.
Then got here 1974, Dutch soccer’s most exhilarating and traumatic yr. With lengthy hair and untucked shirts, they cruised by the early phases of the World Cup in West Germany, entertaining the world with dazzling performances.
Moments forward of the ultimate, Suurbier and his teammates had been nonetheless joking and making gentle of the momentous event. They led West Germany 1-Zero after a minute, however then all of it fell aside because the methodological Germans got here again to win 2-1.
Suurbier caught with the nationwide group for 4 extra years, and he got here even nearer to successful the World Cup in 1978. The Dutch hit the publish within the closing minutes of regulation time, when a purpose would have given them the title. In the tip, they misplaced to host Argentina 3-1, and Suurbier’s worldwide profession was over.
He later joined Cruyff on the Los Angeles Aztecs in 1979, however his profession was sliding. He stayed within the United States for greater than three many years, working numerous teaching jobs and whilst a bartender.
As dependable as he was on the sphere, Suurbier was recognized for being a happy-go-lucky character off it. He is remembered as a lot for his pranks about disappearing socks, and worse, as concerning the trophies he gained. AP