Holland 1978
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Holland 1974.
Group A, Sunday 18th June 1978 (16.45):
Dutch flag Holland 2 West Germany 2 German flag
Scorers -
Abramczik Haan D. Müller R. Van de Kerkhof
3 mins 27 mins 70 mins 84 mins

Teams -
  1 Schrijvers  
  22 Brandts   5 Krol   2 Poortvliet  
6 Jansen   9 Haan   7 Wildschut   11 W. Van de Kerkhof
  10 R. Van de Kerkhof   16 Rep   12 Rensenbrink  

  14 D. Müller  
11 Rummenigge   15 Beer   17 Hölzenbein   6 Bonhof   7 Abramczik
5 Kaltz   3 Dietz   4 Rüssman   2 Vogts
  1 Maier  

Substitutes -
18 Nanninga for 7 Wildschut 80 mins
Unused Substitutes -
3 Schoenaker 4 Van Kraay 8 Jongbloed 14 Boskamp  
(Source is KNVB site; TV caption lists 21 Lubse, not Boskamp)
12 Schwarzenbeck 16 Cullmann 19 Worn 20 H. Müller 21 Kargus

Cautioned - W. Van de Kerkhof Nanninga
Sent Off - Nanninga

Estadio Cordoba

Referee - Ramon Baretto (Uruguay).
Linesmen - Coelho (Brazil), Comesa (Argentina).
Venue - Estadio Cordoba, Cordoba.
Attendance 46,000.

  The Germans of 1978 were a dour lot, very defensive and cynical in their outlook, a far cry from the 1972 European Championship team, or even the pragmatic but cultured 1974 World Cup winners. They had no Beckenbauer and no Müller (well, not Gerd anyway). In 1978, with veteran coach Helmut Schön about to retire, the team had an aura of negativity to it, playing with five in midfield and essentially only one forward, Dieter Müller, against the Dutch, a formation considered outlandish in 1978. Germany fielded four survivors from that day in 1974 (Sepp Maier, Berti Vogts, Rainer Bonhof and Bernd Hölzenbein), Holland six including René van de Kerkhof who had appeared as sub (not forgetting Schrijvers who had warmed the bench). Even the referee had been a linesman in Munich, so inevitably there was a whiff of nostalgia in the air.

Line-up v Germany

Line-up against West Germany.
Schrijvers, Rensenbrink, Haan, Wildschut, Rep, Willy van de Kerkhof,
René van de Kerkhof, Jansen, Poortvliet, Brandts, Krol.

  And history did repeat itself, with an early goal, but this time for the Germans. Hölzenbein won a free-kick just outside the penalty area, Bonhof blasted it round the wall at Schrijvers, but the goalkeeper could only parry the shot, Rüdi Abramczik following up to head home easily. A couple of minutes later, Willy van de Kerkhof was cautioned for a foul on Abramczik which could hardly be described as coincidental, and the game was well on the way to the usual mixture of brutality and amateur dramatics. The Dutch had started indifferently, but gradually began to assert themselves in the crowded midfield, and equalised in glorious fashion with an unforgettable goal from Arie Haan.

  Sepp Maier in the German goal, unbeaten for a World Cup record span of over seven and a half hours (four games in this tournament plus 88 minutes in the 1974 Final, as he kept reminding everybody), hardly moved as Haan's 35-yard shot screamed past him.

Haan receives the congratulations after that goal

Jansen in action against the Germans
  The second half was, if anything, more spiteful that the Final itself had been in 1974, the territorial supremacy mainly with Holland, but they perhaps realised a draw would suit them more than the Germans, and didn't press home the advantage. They were truly stunned when, with 20 minutes left, Germany took a hugely undeserved lead.

  Again, a free-kick was the source of the problem, awarded for a theatrical crash to earth by Abramczik and taken quickly while the unimpressed Dutch defenders were debating the point with the referee. Erich Beer, free on the left, crossed accurately for the unmarked Dieter Müller to make his only contribution to the game, heading the ball wide of Schrijvers.

Dieter Müller takes on Krol and Brandts (thanks Stefano for the photo)   The game ebbed and flowed, the contest fascinating if not technically brilliant. Rep took on the German defence on his own, and rattled the crossbar, then Schrijvers saved instinctively one-handed from Beer. Holland brought on Dick Nanninga, making four forwards for the last ten minutes, and instantly the German defence began to panic. Although the new threat was meant to be in the air, the equaliser arrived with astute interpassing along the ground. Poortvliet threaded the ball through to René van de Kerkhof, who effortlessly swept past the isolated Bernard Dietz and steered the ball round the bewildered Maier, and the rather more athletic dive of sweeper (and pretend goalkeeper) Rolf Rüssman.

  The game ended in farce and confusion, as Nanninga was dismissed five minutes after coming on as substitute. He and Hölzenbein had crossed paths as the Dutch took a free-kick, the German ending up prostrate on the floor. Slow-motion replays have proved little about the incident, but it would not exactly have been the first time a German had gone down as if his life were threatened when there had been no contact, nor would it have been entirely unprecedented for a Dutch player to take a crafty swipe at one of the opposition when he thought the referee's back was turned. The linesman, however, drew the referee's attention to the matter, and Nanninga was shown the yellow card.

  It then appears one of the Dutch players said something to the Spanish-speaking referee in English, the international language of dissent on the football field. The official identified Nanninga as the culprit (wrongly, it's alleged) and pulled out the red card.

  Confusion now reigned as suddenly, inexplicably, nobody seemed able to understand a word anyone else on the field was saying any more. It took fully five minutes for the incident to be resolved, and the bewildered Nanninga despatched to the touchline. It was a fitting to end an acrimonious and at times anarchic contest.

  Maybe this result was not complete revenge for the travesty of 1974 (we'd have to wait another ten years for that), but there could be no doubt that the draw was far more welcome for Holland than for Germany. With Italy defeating Austria by just the one goal, this result meant Holland only needed to draw with Italy in the last game of the group to ensure reaching the Final, unless the Germans beat Austria by a large score: a win would see Holland through come what may. As it turned, out Germany went down feebly to Austria in their last game anyway, a dismal, anti-climactic end to the career of their ever competitive but never ungentlemanly coach Helmut Schön.

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