Certain countries will always be synonymous, not only with success (or failure!), but also a certain playing style. For instance, people still reminisce of the perfect tempo, vision and unity that made the Brazil team of 1970 certifiably invincible. Many would even attribute the post-modern evolution of the entire game to that team!
In more recent years, the Spanish adopted a patient brand of “Tiki-Taka” football. Though an acquired taste, this style yielded three successive trophies for Spain, and proved unbeatable on its day when Barcelona used it frequently in La Liga.
However, there is one brand of football that will never fail to entertain when deployed effectively.
We are, of course, talking about the (apparent) Dutch invention of “Total Football”, in which every player must contribute to phases of play.
Total Football – The Case For
With players spontaneously undertaking the roles of other teammates, the Total Football system offers a dynamic and relentless experience. When used effectively, the opposition are rendered incapable of reading play accurately.
It has been championed by legends of the game, including Pele at Santos, and of course Johan Cruyff at Ajax. The latter transferred this on to the international stage for the Netherlands, to particularly great effect in 1974.
And only last season, Leicester swept aside all comers.
With a flexible revision of a standard 4-4-2, the Foxes showed shades of the Dutch side from 1974. The sight of Fuchs and Simpson dominating once-unchartered territory for fullbacks was hugely impressive. Even more resounding was N’Golo Kante, who emerged as a master of all trades and continues to act as a figure of inspiration for up-and-coming midfielders in academies across the country.
Obviously, that is now meaningless. Leicester are in a real relegation battle, and neutrals are now searching for the next unlikely heroes with a mastery of Total Football.
Are they the best of the worst, or vice-versa? Lodged firmly in seventh place, Everton manager Ronald Koeman has turned his side into something of a curio this term. The club’s recent history is punctuated with unfulfilled promises, but the presence of billionaire Fahrad Moshiri represents a new era of promise.
With Moshiri’s investment has come the inevitable slew of high-profile transfer links. Click on the gallery to see which five players may (or may not!) find their Everton futures under threat, and which five summer signings could complete Koeman’s plans!
SEAMUS COLEMAN (RWB)
The perfect balance between RB and RM, Seamus Coleman fits Koeman’s setup like a glove. No danger of being dropped after a fantastic 2017 to date. But what if he gets injured? Image Source: Alchetron
SANTIAGO ARIAS (RWB)
Coleman deserves the starting berth on merit, but Arias boasts similar attributes and excellent pace. He would at least be a good inclusion for a Europa League rotation squad. Image Source: Alchetron
ASHLEY WILLIAMS (CB)
At 31, Williams is highly experienced and competent. Gone are the days of late capitulations, but he will soon need to pass the torch to a younger defender with the desire to roam forward. Image Source: Twitter
ALFIE MAWSON (CB)
Already with three goals in 2016/17, the Swansea defender has already shown ample desire to play “Total Football”. Even if Swansea survive, causing a higher asking price, Mawson’s worth the investment. Image Source: Twitter
MASON HOLGATE (RCB)
Along with Tom Davies and Ademola Lookman, he is set to be the base of a young and hard-working spine for years to come. Young as he is, there is always the (admittedly slight) risk of cockiness and complacency, so competition is certainly needed. Image Source: Thescore .com
VIRGIL VAN DIJK (RCB)
How he still hasn’t joined Koeman at Goodison is a mystery. While Mori and (hopefully) Mawson roam, van Dijk will be the cleaner of a title-winning Everton! Image Source: This is Anfield
JAMES McCARTHY (CM)
He rarely starts these days in any case, and looks primed for a move elsewhere in the summer. Yet, his replacement will need to dislodge a highly promising trinity of Schneiderlin, Gueye and Davies. Image Source: Wikipedia
NATHAN REDMOND (CM)
Said “trinity” is comprised entirely of defensive-minded midfielders. With Ross Barkley often stuck halfway between central field and wing, Koeman will need a similarly attack-minded midfielder with better consistency through the middle – especially when the chips are down. Credit: Tom Dulat/Getty Images
AARON LENNON (RW)
Though still a valuable addition at times, Lennon is increasingly bound for the exit door. This, combined with Yannick Bolasie’s long-term layoff and Kevin Mirallas’ looming 30th birthday, Everton need to look at strengthening the numbers in that position. Image Source: Squawka
JUNIOR STANISLAS (RW)
Not a marquee signing, but could easily be budgeted for and would probably thrive in the Europa League. He also has an uncanny knack for netting against the Toffees throughout his career. If you can’t beat them, sign them! Image Source: Zimbio