On this day, 7 July 1974 (Exactly 45 years ago), Striker Gerd Müller scored 43rd minute winner as West Germany beat the Netherlands 2-1 to win their second FIFA World Cup title.
This was the tournament of Total Football, a showcase for the majestic talents of Johan Cruyff and Franz Beckenbauer, who shone in the spotlight vacated by Pele, leading their respective Dutch and West German sides through to a Final showdown in Munich on 7 July 1974.
As against Ferenc Puskas’s Magnificent Magyars 20 years earlier, it was West Germany who emerged triumphant, coming from behind to claim their second world crown at the expense of the favourites.
It was a Final that began in sensational fashion. The Netherlands, who had scored 14 goals and conceded just one in six games previously, went in front before the Germans had even touched the ball. Cruyff, the waif-like wizard in the No14 shirt, set off on a dribble from the centre circle, stopped only by a foul from Uli Hoeness in the penalty box. The first spot-kick in a FIFA World Cup tournament final. With little over a minute on the clock, Johan Neeskens made it 1-0.
The Dutch were toying with their rivals like a cat with a mouse but on 25 minutes the Germans, their pride piqued, regained parity as Paul Breitner converted another penalty after Bernd Hoelzenbein had gone down under Wim Jansen’s challenge.
With Berti Vogts managing to contain Cruyff, Gerd Muller, Golden Shoe winner four years earlier, then ensured West Germany’s name would be the first etched on to the new FIFA World Cup Trophy when, two minutes before the break, he turned on a Rainer Bonhof cross and shot low past Jan Jongbloed.
The solid-gold statuette that West Germany captain Beckenbauer held aloft, a replacement for the Jules Rimet Cup that Brazil had retained after 1970, was not the only novelty of Germany 1974.
There was a change of format, a second stage comprising two groups of four replacing the traditional knockout route of quarter-finals and semi-finals.
NB: The tournament marked the first time that the current trophy, the FIFA World Cup Trophy, created by the Italian sculptor Silvio Gazzaniga, was awarded.
The previous trophy, the Jules Rimet Trophy, had been won for the third time by Brazil in 1970 and awarded permanently to the Brazilians. This was the first out of three World Cups to feature two rounds of group stages.
On this day 7 July 1992 (Exactly 27 years ago) In South Africa’s first ever FIFA sanctioned match, Bafana Bafana, South Africa’s national soccer team, beat Cameroon 1-0 in an international friendly game at King’s Park Stadium in Durban.
Although it was friendly match, it marked the return and integration of South Africa into the sport of soccer after decades of isolation due to Apartheid.
Theophilus Doctorson Khumalo, popularly known as Doctor Khumalo scored a penalty on the 82nd producing the only winning goal of the match. Amongst other players were Steve Khomphela, Lucas Radebe, David Nyathi and Mark Anderson
The match was made possible through logistical arrangements with other African countries. South African airways did not have landing rights in West Africa, nor could any airline from West Africa land in South Africa due soured relations between African government and the Apartheid regime. Thus, a plane was chartered from Botswana to fetch the players from Cameroon.
On this day 7 July 1980 (Exactly 39 years ago) American boxer Larry Holmes scored a 7th round TKO of Scott LeDoux in Bloomington, Minnesota in defence of his WBC heavyweight title
On this day 7 July 1982 (Exactly 37 years ago) English athlete David Moorcroft beat Kenyan Henry Rono’s then 5000m world record by nearly 5 seconds, 13:00.41 in Oslo, Norway
On this day 7 July 2013 (Exactly 6 years ago) Andy Murray won his first Wimbledon title and ended Britain’s 77-year wait for a men’s champion with a straight-sets victory over world number one Novak Djokovic to become the first British man to win a Wimbledon singles title since 1936
The Scot,then 26, converted his fourth championship point in a dramatic final game to win 6-4 7-5 6-4 and claim his second major title.
On this day 7July 1978 (Exactly 41 years ago) Martina Navratilova won her first Grand Slam singles title beating Chris Evert 2-6, 6-4, 7-5 in Wimbledon.
On this day 7 July 1979 (Exactly 40 years ago) Björn Borg beat American Roscoe Tanner 6-7, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 for his 4th consecutive Wimbledon title
On this day 7 July 1985 (Exactly 34 years ago) Boris Becker defeated Kevin Curren of South Africa in the final, 6–3, 6–7, 7–6, 6–4 to win the Gentlemen’s Singles tennis title at the Wimbledon Championships.
Becker became the first unseeded player and the first German to win the Wimbledon singles title, as well as the youngest ever male Grand Slam singles champion at 17 years, 7 months and 15 days.
This latter record would eventually be broken by Michael Chang at the 1989 French Open.
On this day 7 July 1990 (Exactly 29 years ago) Martina Navratilova won her record 9th Wimbledon singles title beating American Zina Garrison 6-4, 6 -1
On this day 7 July 1996 (Exactly 23 years ago) Richard Krajicek became first Dutchman to win a Grand Slam singles title beating American MaliVai Washington 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 at Wimbledon
On this day 7 July 2007 (Exactly 12 years ago) Venus Williams defeated Marion Bartoli in the final, 6–4, 6–1 to win the Ladies’ Singles tennis title at the 2007 Wimbledon Championships.
Williams, ranked 31st at the time and seeded 23rd, remains the lowest ranked and lowest seeded woman ever to win Wimbledon. This was Williams’ fourth Wimbledon singles title and she also became the first female champion to earn the same prize money as the male champion, following the tournament’s decision to award equal pay for the first time that year.
STORIES: GEORGE MAHAMAH