”Where the hell did the ball go?”


The Swedish defender who was fooled by Cruyff: ”Where the hell did the ball go?”

1 av 3 | Foto: Jan Olsson.

ANTALYA. The world of football will remember Johan Cruyff for ever.

A Swedish defender will for always be remembered for being humiliated by him.

”It makes me proud, having met a player like that” Jan Olsson tells Sportbladet.

Sometimes two seconds it all it takes to create an everlasting relationship.

As Sweden met Holland in the 1974 World Cup, right fullback Jan Olsson suddenly found himself facing Johan Cruyff, deep in his own half.

The rest is a piece of football history.

”I will never forget it” Olsson tells Sportbladet. ”He took a run towards the corner flag, I was quite fiery as a player and was breathing down his neck. He takes aim to hit a cross and I try to block it. All of a sudden I find myself thinking: ’where the hell did the ball go?’. I met quite a few great players over the years, but that confusion…”.

”I was the first to fall for it”

Cruyff faked the cross with his left foot, only to turn and hit it with his right. The Cruyff-turn was invented.

 ”It’s common these days, bu the was probably the first to do it. And I was the first to fall for it”.

”That section was packed with Dutch fans, maybe twenty thousand of them. They just yelled at the top of their lungs. I probably would have done the same if I were them” Olsson says.

He played against the great maestro three more times, once with the national team, twice against Barcelona in the quarterfinals of the European Cup.

”Bu the never tried it again. He never used to dribble too much, and to me, greatness isn’t about dribbling. He always used to pass the ball, moving around, you never got close to him”.

Most young people don’t know to much about Jan Olssons place in footballing history, but his name will remain attahced to Cruyff’s. As he got word of Cruyff’s death, the memories all came back to him.

”I had only heard that he was sick, it came as a big surprise. It’s tragic, such a great player and manager. He had that ability, you could tell by playing against him. That special vision”.

”It makes me very proud”

Many would say that he is the greatest ever?

”I agree. Not too many great players go on to become great coaches. He had the ability to teach the things he could do himself. I could tell that he was a great player. He conducted the game, was always fair and honest, never played ugly. To me, he is a big idol”.

Does it feel a bit special to hold a place in history based on having been tricked?

”It does, you know. It makes me very proud. As I talk to younger players I always tell them about it, about how I stood up again, that I just kept working”.