Watertight security surrounded the 1974 World Cup in West Germany following the murder of Israeli athletes that shocked the world at the Munich Olympics two years earlier.
The tournament saw a new format -- the quarter- and semi-finals were scrapped in favour of two group phases - and the birth of "total football".
Finalists Holland, led by the outstanding Johan Cruyff, and Franz Beckenbauer's West Germany were the leading exponents of the new art which involved players switching positions at will to open up defences.
The highlight of the first round came when East Germany shocked West Germany 1-0 in Hamburg, Jurgen Sparwasser scoring the goal.
The result meant the hosts avoided Holland and Brazil in the next round.
The Dutch were a delight as they romped into the second stage, and victories over East Germany, Argentina and Brazil secured them a place in the final.
There they faced West Germany, who had seen off an impressive Poland in the other group, and barely a minute from the start the Dutch went ahead when Cruyff won a penalty, scored by Johan Neeskens. Holland toyed with the Germans for a while, then suddenly lost their grip. Paul Breitner equalised after 25 minutes and just before half-time Gerd Muller scored the clincher.
1974 WORLD CUP LEGENDS
Netherlands: b. 1947
Centre-forward who became the inspiration behind the great Ajax and Holland sides of the 1970s.
Name became synonymous with the revolutionary "total football" system employed by Holland as they reached the 1974 World Cup final, though refused to play in Argentina in 1978, when Holland also reached the final and lost.
Tall and slim, he had fantastic dribbling skill, acceleration and imagination.
His ability to twist defenders inside out gave birth to the "Cruyff turn", when he feinted to pass the ball one way before sliding the ball behind his standing foot and setting off in the other direction.
Cruyff was three times voted European Footballer of the Year, helping Ajax to a hat-trick of European Cup triumphs. He scored 33 goals in 48 matches for Holland.
Germany: b. 1945
"Kaiser Franz" is probably the most complete player to have represented Germany.
Starting in midfield, he developed into an elegant attacking sweeper, or libero. His defensive command and ability to spring forward to join attacks were the inspiration behind West Germany's success of the later 1960s and early 1970s.
Beckenbauer exuded a supremely confident, almost arrogant, air on the pitch, coming to world prominence aged 21 when he shackled Bobby Charlton in the 1966 World Cup final.
Four years later he scored as the Germans knocked England out of the quarter-finals and his career peaked in 1974 when he captained the national side to victory in the World Cup final over Johan Cruyff's gifted Holland side.
Beckenbauer won 103 caps as a player, scoring 14 goals. He was five times a German title-winner with Bayern Munich and Hamburg amd twice European Footballer of the Year.
Netherlands: b. 1951
One of the most complete midfielders of all time, formed a lethal alliance with Johan Cruyff in the successful Holland and Ajax sides of the 1970s.
Dashing and dynamic, Neeskens was extremely dangerous going forward but defensively sound too.
Played in both the 1974 and 1978 World Cup finals for Holland, finishing on the losing side both times.
Scored from the penalty spot to give Holland the lead in the opening minutes of the 1974 final against West Germany.
Won three European Cup winners' medals with Ajax.
1974 WORLD CUP TOP SCORERS
Grzegorz Lato (POL) 7
Andrzej Szarmach (POL) 5
Johan Neeskens (NED) 5
Gerd Muller (FRG) 4
Ralf Edstrom (SWE) 4
Johnny Rep (NED) 4
1974 WORLD CUP TRIVIA
- Some 90 countries took part in qualifying, for 14 places. Belgium were unbeaten and didn't concede a goal but lost out to Holland on goal difference.
- The 16 finalists were competing for the new FIFA World Cup trophy. The organising committee had also devised a new format. After the first round games the two countries in each group would then be drawn in two further groups of four. The winners would then contest the final.
- FIFA had also elected a new President, Joao Havelange of Brazil. The first non-European to hold such office, he succeeded Sir Stanley Rous, who was later made an honorary president in recognition of his service to FIFA.
- Scotland were the only British nation to qualify and four countries were making their debuts in the finals: Haiti, Zaire, East Germany and the first representatives from Oceania, Australia.
- For the first time the hosts didn't open the tournament. Holders Brazil had the honour, drawing 0-0 against Yugoslavia in a violent match that featured 46 free-kicks.
- Yugoslavia ran riot against Zaire, winning their Group Two match 9-0. Zaire became the first country to substitute their goalkeeper, replacing Nuamba with Tubilandu. They also had Ndaye sent off.
- Italian goalkeeper Dino Zoff conceded his first goal in 1,143 minutes when Haitian Sanon scored in their 3-1 loss to the Azzurri.
- The historic first meeting between East and West Germany took place in Hamburg before 58,900 fans. East Germany won 1-0 with a goal by Jurgen Sparwasser in the 77th minute.
- Scotland, although failing to make it past the first round, finished the only undefeated side. Two draws and a win saw them bow out early. Winners West Germany lost earlier to East Germany in a group match
- Gerd Muller's four goals brought his personal tally to 14, which established him as the top World Cup scorer ever.
1974 WORLD CUP WINNING SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Wolfgang Kleff, Sepp Maier, Norbert Nigbur
Defenders: Franz Beckenbauer (capt), Paul Breitner, Horst-Dieter Hottges, Georg Schwarzenbeck, Berti Vogts
Midfielders: Dieter Herzog, Rainer Bonhof, Bernhard Cullmann, Jupp Kapellmann, Helmut Kremers, Gunter Netzer, Wolfgang Overath, Herbert Wimmer
Forwards: Heinz Flohe, Jurgen Grabowski, Josef Heynckes, Uli Hoeness, Bernd Holzenbein, Gerd Muller
Coach: Helmut Schoen