In midfield, Michels had two trios of international class to blend together:
from Ajax, Neeskens, Arie Haan and Gerry Mühren;
and from Feyenoord, Theo de Jong, Wim Jansen and Wim van Hanegem.
Mühren, however, was absent due to his young son being taken ill,
and Haan was required in the defence,
so Jansen, Neeskens and Van Hanegem were the chosen three,
with De Jong making a few crucial appearances as substitute.
You could say Jansen played on the right, Neeskens up the middle and Van Hanegem on the left,
or, in another language,
Jansen was the "holding" midfielder, Van Hanegem the "passer"
and Neeskens the "box to box" player who reinforced the attack.
In practice, of course, it was much more variable than that.
The central defence was always going to be makeshift
due the loss through injury of Ajax stopper Barry Hulshoff
and Den Haag's Aad Mansfeld,
and the initial absence of Feyenoord's Rinus Israël,
who was ruled out for the opening game due to bereavement.
Michels pulled something of a masterstroke
by taking the tough-tackling Haan out of the midfield
and playing him alongside Feyenoord right-back Wim Rijsbergen at centre-back.
Even when Israël was available again, the form of this experimental duo
(Rijsbergen had only one international cap to his name)
meant he would only appear as substitute.
The Ajax pairing of Wim Suurbier and Ruud Krol was always likely to get the nod at full-backs.
Suurbier, tall, strong, and a good passer and crosser of the ball with either foot,
was equally at home on either side of the defence,
while Krol combined the physical presence of a centre-back with
the speed and athleticism of a left-back or left-winger:
a modern-day reference point might be Paolo Maldini.
In general, Suurbier played on the right, Krol on the left, Rijsbergen in the centre
and Haan as a sort of mobile sweeper
(albeit often in front of the defence rather than behind it)
but the roles were very often swapped,
Jansen often dropping deep to cover for an absent full-back.