Sunday 12 July 2020, 20:19

Pioneering Dutch ace Suurbier mourned 

  • Former Dutch international Wim Suurbier has died at the age of 75

  • Achieved the rare feat of playing in consecutive FIFA World Cup Finals

  • After a long career with Ajax, Suurbier also played in Germany and USA

Two-time FIFA World Cup™ finalist Wim Suurbier passed away on Sunday at the age of 75.

Suurbier was a key figure in the Netherlands’ storied 1970s side which reached consecutive World Cup Finals and brought the phrase ‘Total Football’ into the sporting lexicon.

Suurbier was an attacking full-back, who was described by former club Ajax Amsterdam as “the first modern back of the Netherlands”.

Suurbier started in the Netherlands’ 2-1 defeat against West Germany in the 1974 Final, and came on as a second-half substitute as the Dutch succumbed to a 3-1 extra-time defeat against Argentina four years later. His 12-year 60-cap national team career concluded that same year.

A long-time mainstay in the all conquering Ajax team during that era, Suurbier had a season at Schalke before stints at several clubs in USA’s former North American Soccer League (NASL). His trophy haul at Ajax included seven national titles and three consecutive European Cup wins.

Ajax paid tribute to Suurbier: "As a right-back, he became an important pillar of Ajax's Total Football and the Dutch national team in the golden 1970s.” The club also lovingly described him as the "king of Dutch football humour".

Suurbier suffered a stroke in June and had been in intensive care in an Amsterdam hospital.