Why wasn't Frantisek Fadrhonc the coach of Netherlands during 1974 FIFA World Cup?


Very few players have earned the right to be mentioned in the same breath as Pele, Franz Beckenbauer and Diego Maradona. Although he never won an international title with his country and played in only one FIFA World Cup™, Johan Cruyff is one of them. Such was his natural talent, the Dutch master enjoys an undisputed reputation as one of the game's all-time greats.

Cruyff was brought up in the shadow of Ajax Amsterdam's stadium and training ground, where his mother worked. His father died from a heart attack when he was 12. From a very early age, the young Cruyff set his sights on one thing alone: becoming a professional footballer. He began formal training when he was seven years old and, to his mother's horror, left school at 13 to concentrate exclusively on sport.

Coaching legend Rinus Michels spotted the slightly-built youth's talent, and designed an exercise programme aimed at developing his frail physique to withstand the rigours of a professional career....

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The epitome of total football
For one of the sport's greatest names, Cruyff's international career was relatively short. He made his debut for the Dutch national side against Hungary in September 1966 and went on to make 48 appearances for the Oranje before quitting in October 1977 aged 30. His last act on the international stage was to help the Netherlands qualify for the 1978 FIFA World Cup™ in Argentina, though by that stage he was only called up for the key fixtures.

Cruyff's finest hour with the Netherlands came at the 1974 FIFA World Cup finals in Germany. The Dutch went into the tournament with few expectations; they had only just qualified and the players had given little indication that they were comfortable with the tactics of coach Rinus Michels, brought in late in the day to replace Frantisek Fadrhonc. The pieces of the puzzle fell into place just in time, however, and by the end of the first round, the Oranje were considered the tournament...

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