1974 World Cup: When the Dutch replaced Brazil to please the public | Soccer News

Tournament hosted by West Germany and under heavy security cover after the 1972 Olympics Munich attack.

Host: West Germany
Teams: 16
Format: Group stage, second round, play-off for third place, final
matches: 38
Goals: 97
Winner: West Germany
Finalists: Netherlands
golden boot: Grzegorz Lato (Poland)


The tournament was hosted by West Germany for the first time and under heavy security cover after the Munich attack of the 1972 Olympics.

The tournament was held in nine cities in West Germany, including West Berlin.

After a long qualifying stage, countries like England, Spain, Mexico and Portugal missed out. East Germany played in their only World Cup, while Australia, Haiti and Zaire (now the DRC) also qualified for the first time.

Brazil’s golden generation had long since left the world stage and taken with them their style of samba football, along with the legend that is Pelé.

The 1974 Brazil team played a different brand of football and was replaced by the Netherlands to please the crowd. Led by Johan Cruyff, the Dutch team used ‘total football’, in which each outfield player could play any role depending on their position. They went unbeaten until the final where they met defending European champions and hosts West Germany.

Cruyff won a penalty within the first minute, before any German player could touch the ball, and put the Netherlands ahead.

Germany equalized with a penalty in the 25th minute. Gerd Muller then scored before half-time and it turned out to be the winning goal.


The Dutch presentation of ‘total football’ mesmerized the crowds.

A new trophy, called the FIFA World Cup Trophy in 18k Gold, has been introduced.

Oceania and Sub-Saharan Africa had their first representation at a World Cup.

East Germany and West Germany played each other in the group stage, resulting in a 1-0 clash for the eastern team.


Last World Cup for Dutch legend Cruyff and German Muller.

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