The 1974 World Cup saw the Dutch national team capture the imagination of the footballing public with their brand of “total football”, invented by their coach, the legendary Rinus Michels.
The Dutch were impressive in the tournament and powered their way to the finals, where they lost 2-1 to hosts West Germany. They thrashed Argentina 4-0 and made light work of defending champions Brazil.
In 1974, a new trophy was created for the winner of the World Cup,
and the competition was held in West Germany. The tournament also saw a new format, where the two top teams from each of the earlier four groups were divided into two groups of four each again, the winner of either group playing each other in the final. After a draw against Chile in the qualifying round, the Soviet Union refused to travel to the Chilean capital for the return fixture, and Chile were therefore awarded a victory. East Germany, Haiti, Australia and Zaire all made their first appearances at the World Cup.
The Socceroos however failed to make it out of a group that also consisted of East Germany, Chile and hosts West Germany.
Many people into World Cup betting thought the Dutch to have been unlucky at the 1974 event. Holland also reached the 1978 final, but luck was not with them as Argentina won the tournament on home soil.
See the odds for the Netherlands winning the 2010 tournament at Betfair.com. The Dutch are one of the favourites for this year’s World Cup, along with England, Brazil, Spain and Argentina.