After decades of careful refinement, precision training and deep aesthetic study – then canning all that nonsense – Sunday’s World Cup was the scene for the unveiling of Dutch football’s latest revolution, the new style of ‘Total Bastard Football’.
The totaalbastaardvoetbal tactical theory relies on a perpetual and fluid interchange of positions, demanding that all outfield players, be they a tightly-permed midfielder or even a bald midfielder, are able to boot any team who dares to play football against them firmly into touch. The system places great physical demands on players like Mark van Bommel and Nigel de Jong, as they must boot them up and down the entirety of the pitch, covering every blade of (thankfully absorbent) grass on the pitch.
Though presented here for the first time on Sunday, the style has its origins in 1970s lower-league Dutch football. The chief architect was Dutch legend Johan Knuyff, the inventor of the famed ‘Knuyff Turn’, which involved ‘knuyffing’ down anyone who turned you.
Though they may have lost the final 1-0 to Spain, the birth of Total Bastard Football has presented the Holland team with previously unimagined possibilities. “Before I was simply viewed as a biscuit-kneed aesthete”, mused striker Robin van Persie, “but now I’m moving into acting, with auditions lined up for a series of interchangeable 80s high-school jock bullies. Take a hike, dicksplash! Actually, I used to know a Dick Splasch”.
Asked for a comment on this new Dutch style, Johan Cruyff replied : “Que?“