Dates: June 13 – July 7
The hosts achieved the world title, defeating the Netherlands two goals to one in the final. A lot of world class players participated in the match: Sepp Maier, Franz Beckenbauer (captain) and Gerd Müller for West Germany; Johan Cruyff (captain), Johan Neeskens and Wim Van Hanegem for the Netherlands.
Neeskens opened the score two minutes into the game from the penalty spot. West Germany tied it twenty-three minutes after, Paul Breitner also from a penalty kick. Before the end of the first half, Gerd Müller gave his country the definitive lead. West Germany finished on the podium in the previous two World Cups, 2nd in England 66 and 3rd in Mexico 70, finally attaining their second World Cup. Legend Franz Beckenbauer lifted the newly designed trophy at home soil.
Poland finished third, beating the powerful Brasil one nil with a goal from their superstar Grzegorz Lato. The South American team could not repeat as champions without Pele nor Carlos Alberto on the squad. Poland had an outstanding tournament, deserving their place on the podium.
Spain, France and England did not participate in the World Cup, losing in the European Qualifiers.
FIFA decided to make some changes to the tournament. There were no Round of 16, Quarterfinals, and Semifinals. The two best teams of each group formed another group stage (A and B). The leaders of their respective group played against each other in the final, while the runner-up in the third place match.
Brazil vs. Poland: 0 – 1
Goal: Grzegorz Lato 76′
Netherlands vs. Federal Republic of Germany: 1 – 2
Goals: Johan Neeskens 2′ (penalty), Paul Breitner 25′ (penalty), Gerd Müller 43′
|1. Grzegorz Lato||Poland||7||7|
|2. Andrzej Szarmach||Poland||5||6|
|3. Johan Neeskens||Netherlands||5||7|
[Images property of Ficha Deportiva: Panini S.p.A. – Modena Album]