1974 World Cup History
Watertight security surrounded the 1974 World Cup in West Germany following the murder of Israeli athletes that shocked the world at the Munich Olympics two years earlier.
The tournament saw a new format -- the quarter- and semifinals
were scrapped in favour of two group phases - and the birth of
Finalists Holland, led by the outstanding Johan Cruyff, and
Franz Beckenbauer's West Germany were the leading exponents of the
new art which involved players switching positions at will to open
The highlight of the first round came when East Germany shocked
West Germany 1-0 in Hamburg, Jurgen Sparwasser scoring the goal.
The result meant the hosts avoided Holland and Brazil in the
The Dutch were a delight as they romped into the second stage,
and victories over East Germany, Argentina and Brazil secured them
a place in the final.
There they faced West Germany, who had seen off an impressive
Poland in the other group, and barely a minute from the start the
Dutch went ahead when Cruyff won a penalty, scored by Johan
Neeskens. Holland toyed with the Germans for a while, then suddenly
lost their grip. Paul Breitner equalised after 25 minutes and just
before half-time Gerd Muller scored the clincher.
1974 WORLD CUP LEGENDS
Netherlands: b. 1947
Centre-forward who became the inspiration behind the great Ajax
and Holland sides of the 1970s.
Name became synonymous with the revolutionary "total football"
system employed by Holland as they reached the 1974 World Cup
final, though refused to play in Argentina in 1978, when Holland
also reached the final and lost.
Tall and slim, he had fantastic dribbling skill, acceleration
His ability to twist defenders inside out gave birth to the
"Cruyff turn", when he feinted to pass the ball one way before
sliding the ball behind his standing foot and setting off in the
Cruyff was three times voted European Footballer of the Year,
helping Ajax to a hat-trick of European Cup triumphs. He scored 33
goals in 48 matches for Holland.
Germany: b. 1945
"Kaiser Franz" is probably the most complete player to have
Starting in midfield, he developed into an elegant attacking
sweeper, or libero. His defensive command and ability to spring
forward to join attacks were the inspiration behind West Germany's
success of the later 1960s and early 1970s.
Beckenbauer exuded a supremely confident, almost arrogant, air
on the pitch, coming to world prominence aged 21 when he shackled
Bobby Charlton in the 1966 World Cup final.
Four years later he scored as the Germans knocked England out of
the quarterfinals and his career peaked in 1974 when he captained
the national side to victory in the World Cup final over Johan
Cruyff's gifted Holland side.
Beckenbauer won 103 caps as a player, scoring 14 goals. He was
five times a German title-winner with Bayern Munich and Hamburg amd
twice European Footballer of the Year.
Netherlands: b. 1951
One of the most complete midfielders of all time, formed a
lethal alliance with Johan Cruyff in the successful Holland and
Ajax sides of the 1970s.
Dashing and dynamic, Neeskens was extremely dangerous going
forward but defensively sound too.
Played in both the 1974 and 1978 World Cup finals for Holland,
finishing on the losing side both times.
Scored from the penalty spot to give Holland the lead in the
opening minutes of the 1974 final against West Germany.
Won three European Cup winners' medals with Ajax.
1974 WORLD CUP TOP SCORERS
Grzegorz Lato (POL) 7
Andrzej Szarmach (POL) 5
Johan Neeskens (NED) 5
Gerd Muller (FRG) 4
Ralf Edstrom (SWE) 4
Johnny Rep (NED) 4
1974 WORLD CUP TRIVIA
- Some 90 countries took part in qualifying, for 14 places.
Belgium were unbeaten and didn't concede a goal but lost out to
Holland on goal difference.
- The 16 finalists were competing for the new Fifa World Cup
trophy. The organising committee had also devised a new format.
After the first round games the two countries in each group would
then be drawn in two further groups of four. The winners would then
contest the final.
- Fifa had also elected a new President, Joao Havelange of
Brazil. The first non-European to hold such office, he succeeded
Sir Stanley Rous, who was later made an honorary president in
recognition of his service to Fifa.
- Scotland were the only British nation to qualify and four
countries were making their debuts in the finals: Haiti, Zaire,
East Germany and the first representatives from Oceania, Australia.
- For the first time the hosts didn't open the tournament.
Holders Brazil had the honour, drawing 0-0 against Yugoslavia in a
violent match that featured 46 free-kicks.
- Yugoslavia ran riot against Zaire, winning their Group Two
match 9-0. Zaire became the first country to substitute their
goalkeeper, replacing Nuamba with Tubilandu. They also had Ndaye
- Italian goalkeeper Dino Zoff conceded his first goal in 1 143
minutes when Haitian Sanon scored in their 3-1 loss to the Azzurri.
- The historic first meeting between East and West Germany took
place in Hamburg before 58 900 fans. East Germany won 1-0 with a
goal by Jurgen Sparwasser in the 77th minute.
- Scotland, although failing to make it past the first round,
finished the only undefeated side. Two draws and a win saw them bow
out early. Winners West Germany lost earlier to East Germany in a
- Gerd Muller's four goals brought his personal tally to 14,
which established him as the top World Cup scorer ever.
1974 WORLD CUP WINNING SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Wolfgang Kleff, Sepp Maier, Norbert Nigbur
Defenders: Franz Beckenbauer (capt), Paul Breitner, Horst-Dieter
Hottges, Georg Schwarzenbeck, Berti Vogts
Midfielders: Dieter Herzog, Rainer Bonhof, Bernhard Cullmann,
Jupp Kapellmann, Helmut Kremers, Gunter Netzer, Wolfgang Overath,
Forwards: Heinz Flohe, Jurgen Grabowski, Josef Heynckes, Uli
Hoeness, Bernd Holzenbein, Gerd Muller
Coach: Helmut Schoen