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.
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 the 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.
Winner of the World Cup 1974
West Germany, the hosts of the competition, won the 1974 World Cup in impressive style. Captained by the legendary 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.
The Story of 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 in the history of the organisation from outside Europe to hold the post.
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 climactic 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.
Although the West German team remained in good form throughout the following years, the nation did not win another World Cup until 1990 – just before the reunification of the country.