Former Netherlands midfielder Wim Jansen dies at 75
Wim Jansen, a former Netherlands midfielder who lost World Cup finals in 1974 and 1978 with the celebrated “Clockwork Orange” teams, died Tuesday. He was 75.
Dutch club Feyenoord announced the death and called Jansen, who suffered from dementia, “one of the greatest to ever play for the club.”
Jansen was a key part of the Feyenoord team that became the first Dutch club to win the European Cup, the forerunner of the Champions League, when it beat Celtic 2-1 to take the title in 1970. Four years later, he captained the club to victory in the UEFA Cup, beating Tottenham 4-2 on aggregate in the two-leg final.
“Feyenoord is my life,” Jansen once said.
Jansen also played briefly for the Washington Diplomats and finished his career at Ajax, Feyenoord's biggest rival. He made his debut for Ajax against Feyenoord and was hit in the eye by a snowball thrown by a fan.
After his retirement from playing, he went on to coach teams including Feyenoord and Celtic.
As a midfielder, Jansen played 476 times for Feyenoord, scoring 39 goals. After making his international debut at the age of 20, he played 65 internationals, including the 2-1 loss to West Germany in the 1974 World Cup final and the 3-1 loss to Argentina in the final four years later.
It was Jansen's foul on Bernd Hoelzenbein that allowed Germany to draw level on Paul Breitner's penalty after Johan Neeskens had given the Netherlands an early lead, also from the penalty spot. Gerd Mueller scored the winner for West Germany shortly before halftime.
Feyenoord credited Jansen with turning the club around as coach in the early 1990s, winning the Dutch Cup in 1991 and the league title in 1993.
Dutch great Johan Cruyff once called Jansen “one of only four men in the world it's worth listening to when they talk about soccer,” Dutch broadcaster NOS reported.
Jansen's funeral is scheduled for Saturday.
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This story originally appeared in San Diego Union-Tribune .