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The 1974 FIFA World Cup, the tenth staging of the World Cup, was held in West Germanymarker from 13 June to 7 July. West Germany had been chosen in July 1966 as hosts by FIFAmarker. 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.


Qualifying countries

Ninety-eight countries took part in the qualifying tournament, and as usual there were some high-profile failures on the road to the finals. France was among them, having lost out to USSR in their qualifying group. Spain, England and Hungary also failed to reach the finals. First-time qualifiers included East Germany, Haiti, Australia and Zaire, the first team from sub-Saharan Africa to reach the World Cup finals.


First Round

The tournament was held mostly in bad weather, and the stadia had few protected places. Few western European nations had qualified, of which most were eliminated early. Fans from the Eastern neighbor states were hindered by political circumstances.

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.

The format of the competition changed from 1970: 16 teams qualified, divided into four groups of four. The top two teams in each group advanced to the second round, where they split into two groups of four. The winners of each group played each other in the final, and the second place finishers in the third place match.

Two teams made a particularly powerful impact on the first round. The Netherlands demonstrated the Total football techniques pioneered by the top Dutch club Ajax, in which specialised positions were virtually abolished for the outfield players, and individual players became defenders, midfielders or strikers as the situation required. The Dutch marked their first World Cup finals since 1938 by topping their first-round group, with wins over Uruguay and Bulgaria and a draw with Sweden. Sweden joined the Dutch in the second group round after beating Uruguay 3-0.

Poland, meanwhile, took maximum points from a group containing two of the favourites for the tournament. They beat Argentina 3-2, trounced Haiti 7-0, then beat Italy 2-1 - a result that knocked the Italians out of the Cup and resulted in Argentina sneaking to the second group round on goal average. While Haiti didn't do particularly well in their first World Cup finals (losing all three of their games) they did have one moment of glory. In their opening game against Italy, they managed to take the lead with a goal from Emmanuel Sanon, before eventually losing 3-1 (Italy had not conceded a goal in 12 international matches). That goal proved to be a significant goal as it ended Dino Zoff's run of 1142 minutes without conceding a goal.

Group 2 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.

Second Group Round

Ironically, the two second-round groups both produced matches that were, in effect, semi-finals. In Group A, the Netherlands and Brazil met after each had taken maximum points from their previous two matches. In Group B, the same was true of West Germany and Poland - so the winners of these two games would contest the final.

In Group A, two goals from the inspirational Johan Cruyff helped the Dutch side thrash Argentina 4-0. At the same time, Brazil defeated East Germany 1-0. The Dutch triumphed over East Germany 2-0 while in the "Battle of the South Americans", Brazil managed to defeat Argentina 2-1 in a scrappy match. Argentina and East Germany tied 1-1 and were on their way home while the crucial match between the Netherlands and Brazil turned into another triumph for 'total football', as second-half goals from Johan Neeskens and Cruyff put the Netherlands in the final. However the match would also be remembered for harsh defending on both sides.

Meanwhile, in Group B, West Germany and Poland both managed to beat Yugoslavia and Sweden. The crucial game between the Germans and the Poles was goalless until the 76th minute, when Gerd Muller scored to send the hosts through 1-0. The Poles took third place after defeating Brazil 1-0.

The Final

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.

Joao Havelange (former FIFA President from 1974 to 1998) claimed that the 1966 and 1974 World Cups were fixed so that England and Germany would win respectively, however this would be strange considering Germany had a penalty awarded against them so early in the final and Havelange's comments were littered with references to how his home nation of Brazil should have won, hinting that the comments are biased.

Poland's Grzegorz Lato led the tournament in scoring seven goals. Gerd Müller's goal in the final was the 14th in his career of two World Cups, beating Just Fontaine's record of 13, in his single World Cup. Müller's record was only surpassed in 2006 by Ronaldo's 15 goals from three World Cups.


The official mascots of this World Cup were Tip and Tap, two boys wearing outfit similar to West Germany's, with the letters WM (Weltmeisterschaft, World Cup) and number 74.


FIFA World Cup venues in 1974

Munichmarker West Berlin Hamburgmarker
Olympiastadionmarker Olympiastadionmarker Volksparkstadionmarker
Capacity: 76,000 Capacity: 85,000 Capacity: 65,000
Dortmundmarker Düsseldorfmarker Gelsenkirchenmarker
Westfalenstadionmarker Rheinstadionmarker Parkstadionmarker
Capacity: 53,600 Capacity: 70,100 Capacity: 70,000
Frankfurtmarker Hanovermarker Stuttgartmarker
Waldstadionmarker Niedersachsenstadionmarker Neckarstadionmarker
Capacity: 62,200 Capacity: 60,400 Capacity: 72,200

Match officials

Africa (CAF)

Asia (AFC)

Europe (UEFA)

North and Central America (CONCACAF)

Oceania (OFC)

South America (CSF)


For a list of all squads that appeared in the final tournament, see 1974 FIFA World Cup squads.


First round

Group 1

East German lineout v.

Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
3 2 1 0 4 1 +3 5
3 2 0 1 4 1 +3 4
3 0 2 1 1 2 –1 2
3 0 1 2 0 5 –5 1

Group 2

Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
3 1 2 0 10 1 +9 4
3 1 2 0 3 0 +3 4
3 1 2 0 3 1 +2 4
3 0 0 3 0 14 –14 0

  • beat , who in turn beat , by better goal difference

Group 3

Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
3 2 1 0 6 1 +5 5
3 1 2 0 3 0 +3 4
3 0 2 1 2 5 –3 2
3 0 1 2 1 6 –5 1

Group 4

Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
3 3 0 0 12 3 +9 6
3 1 1 1 7 5 +2 3
3 1 1 1 5 4 +1 3
3 0 0 3 2 14 –12 0

  • beats by better goal difference

Second round

Group A

Streich heads East Germany into the lead v.

Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
3 3 0 0 8 0 +8 6
3 2 0 1 3 3 0 4
3 0 1 2 1 4 –3 1
3 0 1 2 2 7 –5 1

Group B

Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
3 3 0 0 7 2 +5 6
3 2 0 1 3 2 +1 4
3 1 0 2 4 6 –2 2
3 0 0 3 2 6 –4 0

Third place match




7 goals

5 goals

4 goals

3 goals

2 goals

1 goal

Own goals


External links

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