Saturday, June 29, 2013


1974 World Cup emblem

The world cup 1974 will be remembered because of the two European giants who fought to play in the final. The tournament took place in West Germany. The 1974 tournament was played from 13th June till 7th July.

It was Holland and West Germany who played in the final. To reach the final West Germany had to play hard in its group to qualify for the 2nd round.

In group 1 there were West Germany, East Germany, Chile and Australia. West Germany beat Chile by 1-0. It then played Australia and won by 3-0. It then played with their big political rivals East Germany and it went down by 1-0. That made East Germany top leaders of group 1. West Germany was the second with only 4 points. Chile was the 3rd with 2 points while Australia secured only 1 point which they got on their match against Chile. The result of Australia versus Chile was a 0-0 draw. The 2 winners of the group would advance to the 2nd round and that is what happened.

Holland Squad. Photo by:

West Germany Squad. Photo by:
Holland was in group 3 with Sweden, Bulgaria and Uruguay. Uruguay was not an easy team to play with and I think was the most feared team in the group because of their history of winning the world cup twice in history. Holland played Uruguay and won by 2-0. The other match was against Sweden where it ended on a goalless draw. Holland then played Bulgaria and they won by 4-1. Holland qualified as the group winners followed by Sweden. Holland collected a total of 5 points in three matches they played, and with 6 goals.

       In the second round West Germany was placed in group B with Poland, Sweden and Yugoslavia. West Germany won their games in a spectacular fashion. It actually won all three matches in group B and collected all 6 points to top the group. Muller scored the only goal against Poland to give the Germans a victory of 1-0. This match was observed by 59,000 spectators in the Waldstadion, in Frankfurt.

       West Germany played another match against Yugoslavia, and they won it by 2-0. Breitner scored the opener in the 39th minute, and then Muller finished with the second goal in 8 minutes before the end of the match. The victory of 2-0 against Yugoslavia gave the Germans a lot of courage and zeal to win the remaining group matches.

West Germany vs Holland 1974 FIFA World Cup Final

      When they played with Sweden, there was a festival of goals. This big victory was not an easy thing for the Germans. In that tie Sweden started to score the opener in the 24th minute. Normally when your opponent goes one step ahead of you especially in football, it somehow brings a shock on the other side. The only wise thing to do before anything is to return the scored goal. Ralf Edstrom, the Swedish striker created some pressure to the Germans after scoring the opener.

     After playing so hard the Germans, being supported by a lot of home fans in Rheinstadion in Dusseldorf city, they equalized in the 51st minute. Wolfgang Overath lifted up the hopes of the Germans and they were back in business again.  
The match between West Germany and Sweden was so fascinating. This is because in 3 minutes, three goals were obtained. In the 52nd minute the Germans went ahead when Rainer Bonhof scored the second goal for his side. Not so long after the Germans have scored their goal, in the 53rd minute, the Swedish players responded with an equalizer. This time it was Roland Sandberg who revived the Swedish team with the second goal. The match went on and it seemed that the result could be 2-2.

The Germans continued to build their attacks and in the 76th minute they scored the 3rd goal. Just one minute before the end of the game the Germans got a penalty. Uli Hoeneb finished the score board by winning a penalty and making the score board read 4-2 in favour of the Germans. In that way, West Germany qualified to the next stage after winning all three games thus collecting 6 points and a total of 7 goals.

In group A there were Holland, Argentina, East Germany and Brazil. Holland’s 1st match was against Argentina. Holland played very well being backed up by the famous total football and they defeated Argentina by 4-0. The 1st goal was netted by Johhan Cruyiff in the 11th minute and the last goal was scored by Cruyiff again in the 90th minute.  After playing well and winning their 1st match they encountered East Germany.
     Holland punished the East Germans by 2-0. The first goal was scored by Johan Neeskens in the 7th minute and the second goal was netted in by Rob Rensenbrink in 14 minutes after the second half. Holland had to play with Brazil and they won their match with Brazil by 2-0. Holland goals were all obtained in the 2nd half. Neeskens scored the opener in the 50th minute and Cruyff finished the chapter by scoring the second goal in the 65th minute.

Holland was predicted to win the world cup in 1974 because their total football style was so hard to be deciphered by their opponents. Try to imagine that Holland won all their matches and secured all 6 points. They scored a total of 8 goals and this made them stay at the top in group A. This style of total football has been shown by FC Barcelona recently from the times of Luis Van Gaal to Frank Rijkaard to Pep Guardiola and recently Tito Vilanova. This style made Barcelona win everything in 2009 under Pep Guardiola.

The final match brought together the winners of group A and B. It was a very tough match on my opinion because Netherlands was playing with the hosts. On the other hand West Germany was playing against a Team which won all the matches in group A without conceding any single goal. Their goal keeper went on holiday. The other fact comes from the reality that Holland had their style of total football which was not easy to dismantle it and many teams faced a very hard time to win against Holland.

 As soon as the match started Holland got a penalty. This was only 2 minutes after the game has started. Cruyiff was dropped down by Uli Hoeneb. Neeskens scored a penalty and put Holland ahead. In the 25th minute the Germans got a penalty and Breitner scored it to equalize. The score board was now 1-1. In the 43rd minute Muller scored a second goal for West Germany. The match went on half time with a score of 2-1 on favour of West Germany.
    This final match had something interesting in that all the goals were obtained in the 1st half. The second half was played but no team allowed another goal from the opponent. The total football did not win. The Holland fans and players will remember this match. It seems the same scenario came again in the 2010 world cup in South Africa where the Netherlands lost to Spain by 1-0. What should be done by the Netherlands to win the world cup? Can they make it in the next year in Brazil?