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1974 World Cup, West Germany

After the heat of Mexico '70, the 1974 World Cup was held in the more temperate - and wetter - climate of West Germany. As well as the hosts, and the reigning Champions Brazil, there was a new power in World football - Holland.

Ajax of Amsterdam had emerged as the dominant force in European football, with a playing style built around a philosophy of "total" football, and more importantly built around the most skilled player of his generation - Johann Cruyff.

Ranged against Cruyff and the "Clockwork Orange" were a West German team led by Franz Beckenbauer. An unlucky loser in 1966, "Der Kaiser" led the host nation comfortably to the final, the only hiccup being an opening round 1-0 loss to neighbours East Germany.

The Germans suffered a shocking start to the final, the first touch that keeper Sepp Maier had was picking the ball out of his net after the Dutch scored a penalty in the first minute. Steely German reolution won out over the shadowplay of the Dutch, and after Paul Breitner equalised (also from the spot), ace striker Gerd Muller sealed the victory, to the delight of the Munich crowd.



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