Get the Sport24 daily newsletter delivered to your Inbox!

West Germany 1974

2010-05-05 08:37
Host Country: West Germany
Champions: West Germany
Runners Up: The Netherlands

The 1974 FIFA World Cup, the tenth staging of the World Cup, was held in West Germany from 13 June to 7 July. West Germany had been chosen in July 1966 as hosts by FIFA. The tournament marked the first time that the current trophy, the FIFA World Cup Trophy, created by the Italian sculptor Silvio Gazzaniga, was awarded. The previous trophy, the Jules Rimet Trophy, was won for the third time by Brazil in 1970 and awarded permanently to the Brazilians. The host nation won the title beating the Netherlands in the final, 2–1. The victory was the second for West Germany, who had won in 1954.

The Group Stages saw the first example of the Total Football concept, pioneered by Dutch Club Ajax Amsterdam, and copied by their national side to great effect. The most interesting matches took place in Group 2, which was a particularly close group. The group was decided by how many goals could Brazil, Yugoslavia and Scotland score to defeat Zaire. Every other game played in the group was drawn so the three top teams finished with four points each. Yugoslavia hammered Zaire 9–0. Brazil beat them 3–0. Scotland could only manage a 2–0 margin, and so were edged out of the tournament on goal difference. After holding the mighty Brazil to a goalless draw, and going through the group unbeaten, the Scots were entitled to feel very unlucky to be eliminated.

Group 1 contained both East Germany and the host West Germany, and they both progressed at the expense of Chile and Australia. But the big clash was between the two German teams. In one of the most politically charged matches of all time, it was the East that won, thanks to a late Jürgen Sparwasser goal. Despite the fact that they were safely through to the second group round, the embarrassing result caused a realignment of the West German team that helped them win the Cup.

The final was an all-star affair: West Germany was led by Franz Beckenbauer, while the Dutch had their star Johan Cruijff, and their Total Football system which had dazzled the competition. With just a minute gone on the clock, following a solo run, Cruijff was brought down by Uli Hoeneß close to the German penalty area, and the Dutch took the lead from the ensuing penalty by Johan Neeskens before any German player had even touched the ball. West Germany struggled to recover, and the 26th minute was soon awarded a penalty after Bernd Hölzenbein fell within the Dutch area, causing British referee to award another controversial penalty. Paul Breitner spontaneously decided to kick, and scored. These two penalties were the first in a World Cup final.

West Germany now pushed, but could not score, until when in the 43rd, in his typical style, Gerd Müller scored what turned out to be the winning goal, and the last of his career as he retired from the national team. The second half saw chances for both sides, with Müller putting the ball in the net for a goal that was disallowed as offside. In the 85th, Hölzenbein was fouled again, but no penalty this time. Eventually, West Germany, European Champions of 1972, also won the 1974 World Cup. This is the only case of the reigning European champions winning the World Cup, although France have also held both trophies at the same time by winning the 1998 World Cup followed by Euro 2000.

Notable Facts
Carlos Caszely of Chile became the first player to be sent off with a red card in a World Cup match, during their match against West Germany. Red cards were formally introduced in World Cup play in 1970, but no players were sent off in that tournament.

Golden Boot
Poland’s Grzegorz Lato with 7 goals

Johan Neeskens scores the opening goal in the 1974 World Cup final against West Germany. (AFP)
Read more on: germany

More In This Category

The 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany featured teams from all six continents, and will be remembered for a headbutt in the Final.
The 2002 FIFA World Cup, held in the Republic of Korea and Japan is most notable for the early exit of defending champions France.
The 1998 FIFA World Cup, held in France, included red cards, head-butting, stunning goals and a crushing defeat against the run of play.
The 1994 FIFA World Cup, held in the United States to encourage growth of the game there, saw the first occurrence of a Final decided by penalty shoot-out.
Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk