1 and fourth respectively. Ninety-eight nations attempted to

1 Introduction – Football World Cup 1974 » Winner – Teams –
Statistics – History

The tenth Fifa World Cup was held in West Germany during
the summer of 1974.  The competition saw
the hosts become champions, while underdogs the Netherlands and Poland, and
defending champions, Brazil, finished second, third and fourth
respectively.  Ninety-eight nations attempted
to qualify, and many of the most thriving football nations in the world,
including England and France, failed to make it to the finals tournament. Under
the dampening atmosphere of heavy rain and political tension, West Germany 1974
was, in many ways, a competition during which the World Cup as we know it today
was born. 

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2 Participating Teams of the 1974 World Cup Finals

Sixteen teams qualified for the finals of the 1974 World
Cup in West Germany.  Having won the 1970
tournament hosted in Mexico by defeating Italy 4-1, Brazil qualified
automatically.  Argentina, Chile, and
Uruguay were the other South American nations that made it to the finals.  Out of the thirty-two teams that comprised
the UEFA zone, nine teams successfully qualified for the final stage.  Scotland was the only home nation to make it
to the finals, joining Bulgaria, East Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland,
Scotland, Sweden, West Germany and Yugoslavia in what would be a challenging
and unpredictable campaign for finalists. 
This tournament was particularly notable for the fact that it was the
first World Cup that witnessed Australia (which would not again qualify for
another final until 2006), Haiti, Zaire – now the Democratic Republic of Congo
– and East Germany reaching the last stage of the competition.  The Netherlands and Poland, who both had
prominent roles in the final matches, had not qualified for a World Cup since
the end of the Second World War.   Moreover,
Scotland achieved their most successful performance at a World Cup to date
during this competition.  The Scots were,
however, sent home after the first group stages despite being the only team
that did not lose a match.

3 Winner of the World Cup 1974

West Germany, the hosts of the competition, won the 1974
World Cup in impressive style. Captained by the legendry Franz Beckenbauer, the
team was on top form throughout the final stages of the tournament, winning six
matches and losing one.  Gerd Müller was among the top goal scorers of the entire
tournament, netting four goals throughout West Germany’s final games.  Müller was
clearly instrumental to the success of
this awe-inspiring West German team, but several of his team mates also appeared prominently on the competition’s
scoresheet.  Midfielders Paul
Breitner and Wolfgang Overath scored
multiple goals, while Bernhard Cullmann, Rainer Bonhof, Jürgen
Grabowski and Ulrich Hoeneß also all scored, bringing their nation a
hard-fought and much deserved victory. 


4 The story of
the 1974 FIFA World Cup

West Germany 1974 was a World Cup during which was a
departure from previous competitions.  In
addition to the fact that a new
format for the competition was implemented during this World Cup, FIFA
inaugurated João Havelange as
president shortly before the commencement of the finals, and he was the first person
from outside Europe to hold the post in the history of the organisation.  Perhaps the change which was
most symbolic of the new face of the FIFA World Cup, however, was the fact that
the iconic FIFA World Cup Trophy was presented to the champion nation.  The Jules Rimet Trophy, which was the trophy
used for previous World Cups, had been eternally bestowed upon the Brazilians,
as they had won the title for the third time in Mexico 1970.  The entire competition brought together a whole
host of unlikely teams against some of the more usual faces, and teams such as the
Netherlands, Poland, Yugoslavia, and Scotland were formidable when playing against
their high-ranking opponents.

The final game
of the 1974 World Cup was held in Munich’s Olympiastadion,
where West Germany defeated the Netherlands 2-1.  The 78,000 spectators in attendance were treated to a furious first-half,
in which the Netherlands’ Johan Neeskens fired in a penalty during the opening
minutes.  The West Germans quickly
equalised with a penalty taken by Breitner, and Müller took the team ahead just
before half-time, in the forty-third minute. 
Much to the former title holder’s disappointment, Poland were the
runners-up of the competition, beating Brazil 1-0 in front of an equally packed
crowd.  In addition to their climatic final match against the Netherlands,
another game of the campaign was particularly significant for the champions:
both West Germany and East Germany were placed in Group one, characterising the
first group stage with an unprecedented sense of political tension,
particularly when the West was narrowly beaten 1-0 by the East.