Two mil. watch Oranje honor Cruijff, but France's 14 wins it

Johan Cruijff dies at age 68 (Photo: Cruyff foundation). (Johan Cruijff dies at age 68 (Photo: Cruyff foundation))

Two million households in the Netherlands were tuned in to see the Dutch men’s national football team lose in Amsterdam to France. The international friendly match was halted in the 14th minute for a stirring tribute to Oranje football legend Johan Cruijff, who died of cancer earlier this week at the age of 68.

Through the 1960s and 1970s, Cruijff represented the Netherlands 48 times. He scored 33 times in his international career, wearing number 14 since about 1971. Amsterdam football club Ajax retired the number in his honor in 2007.

The match referee on Friday night whistled the game to a stop when it entered the 14th minute. The crowd rose to a standing ovation, and a massive banner was unfurled featuring Cruijff decked out in the Netherlands orange kit. Before the game restarted from the center circle, Dutch player Wesley Sneijder and Daley Blind looked saddened as they applauded Cruijff.

Ironically, it was Blaise Matuidi, number 14 for France, who put the match out of reach for the Netherlands Friday night.

France jumped to an early lead with a goal off a free kick strike by Antoine Griezmann in the 6th minute straight into the top corner. Just seven minutes later, the Netherlands failed to clear a France corner kick into the area. The ball found its way to Olivier Giroud, who found the back of the net along the ground

A lovely free kick found Luuk de Jong in the area in the 47th minute, and it appeared to knock off his arm past the French keeper, but the goal was allowed making the score 1-2. Netherlands equalized near the end of the match in the 86th minute with a strike from Ibrahim Afellay just on the edge of the area.

But Oranje just could not deliver a win or draw in dedication of Cruijff. A couple of minutes later, France’s own number 14, Blaise Matuidi, tucked the ball just through the legs of Dutch goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen. The match ended 2-3.