Origins of the Infamous 1982 Cruyff Penalty

By: Daryl | November 17th, 2007

Remember this famous Johan Cruyff penalty for Ajax in 1982? Instead of shooting at goal like mere mortals, Cruyff passed the ball to teammate Jesper Olsen, who then drew the keeper before returning the ball to Cruyff, who passed the ball into an empty net. Brilliant stuff, which Robert Pires failed to emulate in 2005.

I’d always thought that the ever-innovative Cruyff had invented the two man penalty, but seems he borrowed it from a Belgian named Rik Coppens. Video evidence below.

Go to 2:35 (or -1:50) to see Coppens and teammate AndrĂ© Piters pull off the first known instance of the two man penalty, scoring for Belgium in a 1957 World Cup qualifying win over Iceland. Cruyff’s legacy as an innovator is safe though, as he always has the magnificent Cruyff turn to fall back on.

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  • AT
    When you are past the second to last defender, the ball becomes the offside line.
  • Sheps
    Yep no one can ever be offside (even this blog ;) ) if they're behind the player who makes the pass, when he makes the pass.

    Also, there's no evidence here that Cruyff borrowed the tactic from this game. He may have invented it himself without knowledge of this goal.
  • Apologies all round. Should be fixed now Drabik.
  • Drabik
    Anyone else not being able to see the Coppens and Piters' version?
  • peter
    As long as the player receiving the pass is behind the ball, there is no offside.
  • As I understand it, it's not offside because the play already begins behind the opposition defence so there's no defensive line to catch anyone offside. That's just an assumption though. If anyone knows for sure then please share.
  • wsc
    not being too knowledgeable of the rules of the beautiful game, i've never really understood why that's not considered offside. any help?
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