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23 Minutes Determining the 1974 World Cup Final

On July 7, 1974, in the afternoon, the game of the 10th World Cup will be held soon. The Olympia stadium, located in Munich, Germany, hosts more than seventy thousand spectators.

West Germany, the home team, advanced to the top of the group after beating Poland with difficulty, 0-1, four days earlier. The Netherlands, on the other hand, have just defeated the defending champion Brazil 2-0 and are acclaimed by ball enthusiasts thanks to an attractive and revolutionary style of play: total football.

Everyone knows at this point which team is the best between them. As David Winner points out in the book Brilliant Orange; The neurotic genius of Dutch football has been accepted by the West German players themselves.


"They are a better team," said striker Uli Hoeness.


Discover the memories of West German winger Bern Holzenbein, who was also quoted by David Winner. He told me that when both teams were in the room before entering the field, the West German players tried to compete with the confidence that emanated from the Dutch players, "... to show that we were also a great team like them. " "They make us feel small," he added.

Jack Taylor, the English referee, gave the whistle for the start of the match. The Dutch who started the match at kick-off immediately played short passes, on foot. Quiet and very controlled. Soon, the Dutch players increased the tempo of the match. In an acceleration, Johan Cruyf broke through the German defense, forcing Uli Hoeness into a tough tackle on the penalty box. Taylor immediately showed the white spot. None of the German players protested against this decision.

Midfielder Johan Neeskens, as an executioner, did not miss this opportunity. The score changed 1-0 for the Netherlands. New Time signals the second minute and even a West German player fails to touch the ball except when goalkeeper Sepp Maier recovers the ball from his own net.

"We are helpless," said Paul Breitner, a defender at Bayern Munich. "And none of us cried out, 'Come on, get up, get up!' Nobody can say that, "he added.

What the West German players felt in the stadium alley seemed to be a reality on the ground. The victory of De Oranje was only a matter of time.


23 odd minutes

Something unexpected happened. As David Winner wrote, instead of taking advantage of this momentum and locking the match by seeking additional goals, the Dutch players even started playing with their possession and "mocking" West Germany with superiority 23 minutes after the first goal.

"We want to make fun of them, we do not think about it but we do it, we pass the ball aimlessly," said Ajax club striker Johnny Rep, quoted by the official website of FIFA. "We forgot to score the second goal, when you watch the action video, you can see the German players getting angry, it's our fault, it would be much better if the one who scored the first goal was West Germany, "he said. .

The Dutch are disastrous in the 25th minute. Holzenbein made a breakthrough on the right side of the Dutch defense, went into the penalty box, and fell when Wim Jansen tried to stop him. There is no contact there. Holzenbein diveed exactly like the match between the previous West German counter, Poland. But Taylor had another opinion and awarded a penalty to West Germany. Paul Breitner tied for his team.

Taking advantage of the momentum he had won, the West German team did not give Dutch players the chance to wake up from their surprise. Bayern Munich forward striker Gerd Müller, dubbed Der Bomber, continued to launch attacks after the attacks until half-time, but managed to score thanks to the agility of his body. And the goal was to seal the fate of the Dutch team.

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