Although the 1978 Dutch team started slowly, their challenge picked up
momentum as the competition went on,
and they ultimately qualified for the Final as memorably, if perhaps not quite as stylishly,
as their 1974 predecessors.
That the manner of their defeat was equally dramatic,
equally tragic and even more controversial
meant that the 1978 team earned its place
alongside the 1974 vintage in football folklore.
For me, there was a curious symmetry about it.
In 1974, I'd been captivated by the World Cup during that strange, disconcerting period
in between leaving school, in the quiet seaside town of Scarborough,
and starting at college, in Leeds.
Now, four years on, I'd just finshed my course at Leeds University,
and was again at something of a crossroads, about to start work
in a large and unknown city far away to the south, called London.
So, having some time on my hands and feeling I'd earned a bit of relaxation,
I sat down and watched the World Cup from start to finish again.
Time well spent.