Gary Lineker famously said,
“Football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and in the end, the Germans always win.”
Everyone dreams of winning the FIFA World Cup but most of the time, their dreams are shattered by the Germans.
Das Wunder von Bern:
4th July 1954,
It was a rainy day in the Swiss capital of Bern. The Wankdorf stadium would witness one of the greatest upsets in footballing history.
One of the greatest national teams of all time, the Hungarian team consisting of the likes or FerencPuskas, NandorHidegkuti, GyulaGrosics, JozsefBozsik, Sandor Kocsis and Zoltan Czibor hadn’t lost a game since 14th May 1950.
They were dubbed as the Magical Magyars for their expansive football, which later became known as Total Football. They were one win away from making history. Between them and glory were the West Germans.
This was the West Germans’ first world cup after World War 2. Both teams had already faced in the group stage before where the Hungarian beat the Germans 8-3.
Everyone were certain that “the Aranycsapat” would win and they started well as well. Taking an early lead through their captain Puskas, they doubled their advantage soon after with a Czibor goal. Inside 8 minutes, it was 2-0 to the Hungarians. But the Germans fought back scoring 2 goals in quick succession, the Germans pulled it back to 2-2. The scorers, Max Morlock and Helmut Rahn.
Helmut Rahn etched his name into history by scoring his second and the game’s last goal in the 84th minute. Fritz Walter became the first German captain to win the World Cup. Later reports indicate that the Germans might’ve used performance-enhancing drugs but there was nothing the Hungarians could’ve done. The result would be immortalised into history as “Das Wunder von Bern” or “The Miracle of Bern”
*The death of Total Football
In the 1970s, The Netherlands dominated world football. Dutch club Ajax dominated European football and their national team were a force to be reckoned with. With the likes of Johan Cruyff, Johan Neeskens and managed by the great RinusMichels.
The dutch, they played fluid attacking football. Their philosophy known as Total Football looked invincible.
In the 1974 world cup, they would face the hosts West Germany in the final. West Germany were a magnificent side as well but they were the clear underdogs. Franz Beckenbaur, one of the greatest innovaters and sweepers of the game, was the West German captain.
The Dutch took the lead in the 2nd minute. Johan Cruyff was fouled inside the German penalty box and Johan Neeskens scored the subsequent penalty.
The Dutch were 1-0 up before any German touched the ball.
The Dutch were confident that they would win the final, afterall. They were the better team. Total football had lost to the Germans back in 1954, surely history wouldn’t repeat itself. But the Germans, they fought back.
In the 25th minute, Bernd Holzenbein was fouled in the penalty area. The Germans were awarded a penalty. Paul Breitner took responsibility for the kick and leveled the score. The Germans would take the lead in the 43rd minute through Gerd Müller. The Dutch wouldn’t be able to turn it around. The Germans would cause another upset.
The Netherlands team which lost the 1974 world cup final to the West Germans are considered as one of the greatest teams to never win the world cup.