Where are they now? Johan Neeskens

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The Independent Online
WHEN Johan Neeskens converted a penalty within moments of the start of the 1974 World Cup final in Munich, it seemed that Total Football, the Dutch antidote to negative play, was poised to be crowned with the game's greatest prize. It did not happen; nor did it in Argentina four years later when fate again cast the Netherlands as guests at the host nation's victory party.

Yet the brilliance of the Dutch left indelible memories which Johan Cruyff, the conductor of the orchestra, stands ready to rekindle as manager should they go forward to the United States.

Having followed Cruyff's trail from Ajax to Barcelona and then to the New York Cosmos, Neeskens then took a different path, via indoor football with Kansas City, to Switzerland, where he lives still, amid mountains and lakes outside Lucerne. He coaches a modest Third Division team, FC Stafa.

'I am 42 now but pretty fit,' he says. 'The coaching keeps me involved and I still play for the Club Variete in France, with Platini, Tigana and Giresse, as well as with a team of former Holland players. But the most important thing for me right now is to spend time with my family.' He has children aged six, three and 15 months with his Swiss wife, Marlies.

(Photograph omitted)

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