After the break, the tough-tackling, dependable Feyenoord defender Rinus Israël
replaced Van Hanegem,
with Rijsbergen moving forward to give the Dutch midfield a more prickly look.
Holland were now rampant, and could have had many more goals in this period.
Suurbier's chipped cross from the right was met by Jansen, but the header went wide,
then Cruyff's floated cross from the left was met right-footed but off-balance by Rep,
and again the chance went begging.
Another Cruyff-Rep combination led to Rep firing a powerful volley, with Staikov
actually diving the wrong way, but the shot missed the target.
Even Suurbier had a shot saved.
The busy Bulgarian goalkeeper was (very harshly) penalised for taking more than four steps
when catching a Jansen cross, Krol's drive from the free-kick being deflected to safety.
Bulgaria were getting a bit desperate now,
and substitute Atanas Mikhailov took a whack at Jongbloed
when the referee had already blown for offside,
just as the loudspeaker was announcing his name to the crowd,
although he'd actually come on about 10 minutes before:
they also brought on Krassimir Borisov, but neither sub made much impact on the game.
Jansen, released somewhat from his defensive duties since the advent of Rijsbergen in midfield,
played an inspired pass to Rensenbrink, who rounded the goalkeeper
but couldn't keep control of the ball, and ended up hitting the post,
a truly astonishing miss.
Undeterred, Rensenbrink, his movement baffling the defence,
hit another shot across the goal from some distance,
then was taken out shamelessly by Vassilev, as Bulgarian frustration began to surface.
Rijsbergen, a very decent midfield player on this showing, combined with Jansen down the left,
and the excellent cross found Rensenbrink again unmarked, but his header was wide.
By way of a reminder that there were two sides in the game,
Voin Voinov broke the Dutch offside trap, only to be thwarted by a superb one-handed
save by the grounded Jongbloed:
maybe the Dutch would yet have cause to regret their profligacy in front of goals?
A darting run from his own half by Cruyff brought another fine save out of Staikov.
When Mikhailov was tackled by the sturdy Israël in the penalty area,
the Bulgarians demanded a penalty, but the well-placed referee turned them down,
and cautioned Denev for his voluble dissent.
A brilliant dribble by Neeskens culminated in a cross to Rensenbrink,
which the defence cleared with some difficulty.
Cruyff and Vassilev, at loggerheads for much of the game,
were involved in a rather unseemly flare-up,
both players going down as if kicked by the other,
but the referee,
who would have needed the wisdom of Solomon to sort out
who'd done what to whom and in what order,
chose to take no action: Cruyff, already cautioned, might have considered himself a bit lucky.
Bulgaria were finally undone when the third goal arrived.
Rep scored with a fierce, instinctive volley after Cruyff's spinning free-kick
from the right had been tamely headed in his direction by Vassilev,
who had been unable to read the flight of the ball.
Soon after, Rensenbrink worked the ball from the left to Cruyff,
who swung his foot almost casually, but Staikov was at full stretch to save it under the bar.
A break from Rep appeared to have ended when he was crowded out by the defence,
but Suurbier followed up to good effect, and had another strong shot blocked
by a goalkeeper who now stood between his team and a rout.
But just as Holland's manifest superiority looked as if it was at last beginning to tell
on weary opponents, the Bulgarians were thrown a lifeline.
Krol conceded an own-goal as Denev attacked down the left,
winning the race to the ball against forwards Voinov and Bonev,
but only managing to place the ball past the stranded Jongbloed.
We could all have done without the sarcastic pat on the back from Voinov,
a player hardly qualified to be on the same pitch as Krol.
This was of course the first goal Holland had conceded in the 1974 World Cup.
At this point, the Dutch replaced Neeskens with Theo de Jong,
the powerfully-built Feyenoord midfield player,
but their superiority was still considerable.
A long, looping cross from Cruyff on the left was met by a Rep header, and saved by Staikov,
while at the other end Jongbloed made a fine double save from first Denev then Mikhailov.
Cruyff set up a shot from Rijsbergen, the new playmaker, which Staikov, yet again, parried,
but the alert Rensenbrink pulled the ball back for De Jong,
who, incredibly, missed what was virtually an open goal.
Rensenbrink then set about taking on the entire Bulgarian defence, and it took a last-ditch
tackle to stop him.
The best goal was the last,
when Krol found Cruyff almost loitering out on the left wing.
The Dutch skipper held the play up with an assuredness that,
it might have seemed, bordered on laziness,
but we all knew he was only waiting for the right moment to unleash the cross.
Finally, it was De Jong who caught on to what was required,
and darted stealthily behind the static defence.
The ball was delivered, inch-perfect of course, before a Bulgarian could move,
for the Dutch substitute to head home unopposed a truly classic goal
and claim his own place in World Cup history.
Rep had one more chance to stretch the winning margin, bursting through on his own,
but the left-footed shot hit the side netting, as the referee blew for full-time.
With a few alarms along the way, Holland had achieved a splendid result,
and ended their first phase campaign in some style,
even if the margin of victory did scant justice to the extent of their supremacy.
They qualified as Group winners ahead of Sweden,
who clinched a spot in the last eight by beating Uruguay.