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The Summer of Total Football : The 1974 World Cup

The Summer of Total Football : The 1974 World Cup

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The Summer of Total Football: The 1974 World Cup captures the mood of a memorable 24 days in the early 1970s as the balance of footballing power shifted. Throughout history, the World Cup has often discovered ‘people’s champions’ that do not become tournament winners, such as the Netherlands in 1974. Beaten by the host nation, West Germany, the Dutch captivated the crowds at WM74, spearheaded by their captain, Johan Cruyff.

This was supposed to be Cruyff’s World Cup and right up until the final, he demonstrated why. But West Germany, who were galvanised by their own talisman, Franz Beckenbauer, had other ideas. Initially burdened by being the home team, they improved as the tournament progressed and refused to be overawed by the Dutch.

The indomitable spirit of West Germany, which characterised their style in the decades after 1974, came to the fore as they won their second World Cup. This was the World Cup of ‘Total Football’, a style of play that was progressive and versatile, and is revered to this day.

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