FIFA World Cup™ in review: 1974 West Germany

1974 FIFA World Cup West Germany

The ball: Telstar Durlast


The winner: West Germany

The runners-up: Holland

The difference maker: Gerd Muller sure knew how to exit the stage. Playing in his last match in a national shirt, he scored his 68th goal for Germany, a record that stood for almost 40 years until Miroslav Klose equaled in September. Muller’s history-making shot came on his 62nd appearance, which happened to be the World Cup™ final on the soil of his home country.

Known as Der Bomber, Muller set another record with his winning strike, surpassing Just Fontaine’s mark of 13 World Cup™ goals. Muller’s 14, amassed in two tournaments, was bettered only in 2006 by Brazil’s Ronaldo, who needed three tournaments to set the new record.

The lasting memory: This was the 10th FIFA World Cup™ and marked the debut of the current trophy made by Italian sculptor Silvio Gazzaniga. In pursuit of the shiny new award, two now legendary players and figures in the game, Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer and Holland’s Johan Cruyff, led their countries to play in a style befitting of the dazzling new crown.

Though West Germany won on its home soil, becoming the first country to back up a UEFA European Championship with victory at the World Cup™ two years later, the debut of the Cruyff Turn was perhaps even more historic.

Named for the constant innovator and driver of Holland’s Total Football system, the magical maneuver was first employed in a Group Stage match against Sweden. With a defender on his back, Cruyff faked a pass with his right, dragged the ball behind his plant foot, spun around, dribbled away from the off-balance Swede and gave birth to a new era of fanciful, effective, attacking footwork.