The 1974 World Cup marked the zenith of Franz Beckenbauer’s illustrious career. It’s no coincidence that today, in every Italian sports newspaper, he’s depicted with the glorious image of lifting the cup as the captain of West Germany. In that tournament, Italy failed to progress past the group stage after three matches.
Despite this, the late renowned journalist Gianni Brera had a different interpretation. According to him, the triumphing team was inspired by our very own Italian conception of the game. In a forum held in 1990, Brera made these remarks in La Repubblica.
He reminisced on criticising, the runner-up team, the Netherlands’ ‘total football’, claiming that he had predicted the German victory. He asserted, “On the eve of the ’74 World Cup, I was the only one who backed the Germans to win,” Beckenbauer admitted with honesty that they played in the Italian style.”
Moreover, Brera questioned the tactics of Dutch players, Suurbier and Krol, who both played on the right wing. This sparked debate and concern amongst fans, raising questions about their approach to the game.
Beckenbauer’s candid admission marks a pivotal chapter in football history, reiterating the influence that Italian football had globally during the 1974 World Cup. This serves as a reminiscence of the impact that various styles of play continue to have on the beautiful game of football.