World Cup Moments: Johan Does the Cruyff Turn in 1974
I’m sure Johan Cruyff (or Cruijjff, if you prefer) had performed his famous Cruyff Turn long before the 1974 World Cup. He was probably Cruyff Turning all over the place while playing football for Ajax in the ’60s and ’70s. But that was long before YouTube, long before footage from any league in the world could be uploaded and shared globally. So the world didn’t see the Cruyff Turn in all it’s glory until the 1974 World Cup.
The images above are of the famous moment when the Netherlands and their Total Football took on Sweden in the second Group 3 game of the 1974 World Cup. The man to feel sorry for is Sweden rightback Jan Olsson. Cruyff plants his left foot and fakes to cross with his right, but instead uses his right to drag the ball behind, turn 180 degrees and accelerate away from poor Jan Olsson, with the poor Swedish defender left resembling a drunk who’s misplaced his housekeys. Here’s video of the famous Cruyff Turn moment:
And one with slo-mo for good measure:
So the famous trick went global after the above moment, and now every kid learning to play gets taught the Cruyff Turn. It even has its own Wikipedia entry.
Interesting side note: The famous Cruyff Turn moment in the above game was not actually the first time Cruyff pulled it out at the 1974 World Cup. As spotted by Guardian sports blog commenter slimjim68, Cruyff actually pulled the move in the opening Group 3 game vs Uruguay, one game before the Sweden match. You can see Cruyff fool Uruguayan fullback Baudilio Jáuregui at 3:06 in this video:
So the facts are the facts and Jáuregui was the first to be fooled on the world stage. Also, Netherlands beat Uruguay 2-0 in that game and actually only drew 0-0 with Sweden in the second game. But the fact remains that the Cruyff Turn vs Jan Olsson is the famous one, most likely due to the fortuitous camera angle and Olsson’s reaction. Which is why it’s one our World Cup Moments.
For more on the Netherlands national team, visit Jan’s ever-excellent Netherlands World Cup Blog.
This post is part of our planned World Cup Moments series, where we profile famous moments in World Cup history. The series will feature goals, near misses, saves, tackles, tricks, controversies, red cards. Pretty much any famous World Cup moment that’s fun to write about and interesting to read. If you have any suggestions for future World Cup Moments posts, please email them to daryl[at]theoffside[dot]com or make a suggestion in the comments.