Wily Germans conquer Total Football

Wily Germans conquer Total Football

Pele had retired aged 31 and Brazil's great team had broken up by the time West Germany hosted the 10th World Cup.

Most of the matches were played in cold, wet conditions. The Jules Rimet trophy was replaced by a new trophy, and there were new teams as well.

Netherlands, having shaken off their amateur game in the early 1960s, were back for the first time since 1938 and had developed a new pattern of tactical play under coach Rinus Michels dubbed Total Football. It was a system that demanded every player, bar the goalkeeper, had the ability to play in any position at any time.

Johan Cruyff was the focal point of the team, one of the greatest players in history, and he led the Dutch to the final.

There they met West Germany, European champions and a side skippered by their own all-time great Franz Beckenbauer.

The Germans also had Gerd Mueller, one of the finest goalscorers of all time, and Sepp Maier, an outstanding goalkeeper. All three were Bayern Munich team-mates, who that year assumed Ajax Amsterdam's mantle as European champions.

They also triumphed over the Dutch in the World Cup final, winning 2-1 at Munich's futuristic Olympic Stadium after falling behind to a first minute penalty, scored by Johan Neeskens, before a German player had touched the ball.

Paul Breitner equalized with a penalty and then Mueller, who had scored 10 goals in 1970, scored his fourth of the tournament to seal victory. It was his 14th goal in the finals, a World Cup scoring record until Brazil's Ronaldo beat it in 2002.