History of Football: FIFA World Cup - 1974

The tenth FIFA football World Cup tournament took place in West Germany (including West Berlin) from 13th June to 7th July 1974.

This period of football history was largely memorable for a new, free-flowing, interchangeable approach, known widely as the era of “total football.” Ajax and Bayern Munich dominated the European club scene (Ajax won the European Cup in successive years from 1971-73 and Bayern Munich were at the start of their own consecutive hat-trick of titles from 1974 to 1976) as did The Netherlands and West Germany at international level. It was almost inevitable, therefore, with the demise of Brazil as a major force, that these two countries would be overwhelming favourites for the 1974 World Cup championship on European soil.

Gerd Müller scored his 14th goal in World Cup Finals and temporarily became the all-time leading scorer in tournament finals, beating the 13 of Just Fontaine (though the latter scored all of his goals in the one World Cup tournament – 1958 – which is still a record today). With 68 goals in 62 international appearances, he is still Germany’s all-time leading scorer in international competition but it didn’t prevent West Germany losing 1.0 to East Germany in their first ever World Cup meeting here, Jürgen Sparwasser scoring the only goal of the encounter.

England failed to qualify for the 1974 tournament – the first since they had first taken part in 1950. Scotland meanwhile finished as the only undefeated team in the competition – including a 0.0 draw against Brazil – but still did not progress beyond the preliminary stage.

Australia became the first nation from Oceania and Zaire the first from the sub-Sahara region of Africa to qualify for the World Cup finals.

Chile’s Carlos Caszely became the first man in World Cup history to be sent off under the red card system for a foul in a game against West Germany.

The Final – delayed when the referee noticed the corner and centre-line flag-posts were missing as the teams lined up - was held at the Olympiastadion in Munich 7th July 1974 in front of a crowd of 75,200. West Germany beat the Netherlands 2.1. to win their second World Cup trophy after their first success in 1954 and became the first holders of the new FIFA World Cup Trophy (replacing the Jules Rimet Trophy which Brazil had been permanently awarded following their third World Cup win in 1970). West Germany’s scorers were Paul Breitner and Gerd Müller; Johan Neeskens scored for the Netherlands.

The Golden Boot (‘adidas Golden Shoe’ since 1982) award for most goals scored in the tournament was won by Grzegorz Lato of Poland with 7 goals.

Winners: West Germany

Runners-up: The Netherlands

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