Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer, first captain to lift new FIFA World Cup in 1974 | Sunday Observer

Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer, first captain to lift new FIFA World Cup in 1974

14 May, 2023

Franz Beckenbauer is a former professional footballer who played for Germany from 1965 to 1977. In his playing career he was nicknamed Der Kaiser (“The Emperor”) because of his elegant style, dominance and leadership on the field, and also as his first name “Franz” is reminiscent of the Austrian emperors.

Beckenbauer is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of the sport. He started as a midfielder and later made his name as a central defender. He is one of nine players to have won the FIFA World Cup, the UEFA Champions League and the Ballon d’Or.

Beckenbauer played for West Germany in three FIFA World Cups and two European Championships. He is one of three men, along with Brazil’s Mario Zagallo and France’s Didier Deschamps, to have won the World Cup as a player and as a manager. He lifted the World Cup trophy as captain in 1974, and repeated the feat as a manager in 1990.

He was the first captain to lift the World Cup and European Championship at international level and the European Cup at club level. He was named in the World Team of the 20th Century in 1998, the FIFA World Cup Dream Team in 2002, the Ballon d’Or Dream Team in 2020, and in 2004 was listed in the FIFA 100 of the world’s greatest living players.

At club level with Bayern Munich, Beckenbauer won the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1967 and three consecutive European Cups from 1974 to 1976 and the Inter-continental Cup in 1976.The latter feat made him the first player to win three European Cups as captain of his club.

He became team manager and later president of Bayern Munich. After two spells with the New York Cosmos he was inducted into the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame. Beckenbauer led Germany’s successful bid to host the 2006 FIFA World Cup and chaired the organizing committee. He worked for 34 years as a columnist for the tabloid Bild, until 2016.

Birth and Growth

Franz Anton Beckenbauer was born on September 11, 1945in the post-war ruins of Munich, the second son of postal-worker Franz Beckenbauer, Sr. and his wife Antonie. He grew up in the district of Giesing and, despite his father’s cynicism about the game, started playing football at the age of nine with the youth team of SC Munich ‘06 in 1954.

Originally a centre forward, he idolised 1954 FIFA World Cup winner Fritz Walter and supported local side 1860 Munich, then the pre-eminent team in the city in the 1950s. He joined the Bayern Munich youth team in 1959, rather than that of his favourites 1860 Munich, was the result of a contentious Under-14 youth tournament in nearby Neubiberg.

However, fortune decreed that Bayern Munich and 1860 Munich would meet in the final and a series of niggles during the match eventually resulted in a physical confrontation between Beckenbauer and the opposing centre-half. The ill-feeling this engendered had a strong effect upon Beckenbauer and his teammates and they decided to join Bayern Munich’s youth side. Beckenbauer has been married three times and has five children.

International Career

Beckenbauer won 103 caps and scored 14 goals for West Germany. He was a member of the World Cup squads that finished runners-up in 1966, third place in 1970, and champions in 1974, while also being named to the tournament all-star team in all three editions.

He won the 1972 European Football Championship and finished as runners-up in the 1976 edition. Beckenbauer’s first game for the national team came on September 26, 1965.

1966 World Cup

Beckenbauer appeared in his first World Cup in 1966, playing every match. In his first World Cup match, on July 12, 1966, against Switzerland, he scored twice in a 5–0 win. West Germany then beat Uruguay 4–0 in quarter-finals on July 23, with Beckenbauer scoring the second goal in the 70th minute.

In the semi-finals, on July 25, the Germans faced the USSR. Beckenbauer contributed the second goal of the match, his fourth of the tournament. West Germany advanced to the final against hosts England.

The English won the final and the Jules Rimet Trophy in extra time. The Germans had fallen at the final hurdle, but Beckenbauer had a notable tournament, finishing tied for third on the list of top scorers, from a non-attacking position. The team returned to a heroes’ welcome in their homeland.

1970 World Cup

West Germany won their first three matches before facing England in the second round in a rematch of the 1966 final on June 14, 1970. The English were ahead 2–0 in the second half, but a spectacular goal by Beckenbauer in the 69th minute helped the Germans recover and equalise before the end of normal time and win the match in extra time.

West Germany advanced to the semi-finals to face Italy, in what would be known as the Game of the Century. Beckenbauer dislocated his shoulder after being fouled, but he was not deterred from continuing in the match, as his side had already used their two permitted substitutions. He stayed on the field carrying his dislocated arm in a sling. The result of this match was 4–3 (after extra time) in favour of the Italians. Germany defeated Uruguay 1–0 for third place.

Beckenbauer became captain of the national side in 1971. In 1972, West Germany won the European Championship, beating the Soviet Union 3–0 in the final.

1974 World Cup

The 1974 World Cup was hosted by West Germany and Beckenbauer led his side to victory, including a hard-fought 2–1 win over the hotly favoured Netherlands side featuring Johan Cruyff. Beckenbauer and his fellow defenders marked Cruyff so well that the Dutch were never quite able to put their Total Football into full use.

Beckenbauer became the first captain to lift the new FIFA World Cup Trophy after Brazil had retained the Jules Rimet Trophy in 1970. This also gave West Germany the distinction of being the first European national team to hold both the European Championship and World Cup titles simultaneously (since two other countries have done it: France in 2000, and Spain in 2010).

In the 1976 competition, West Germany again reached the final, where they lost on penalties to Czechoslovakia. Beckenbauer was named in the Team of the Tournament. Beckenbauerat 31, retired from international football in 1977.

Club Career

Beckenbauer made his debut with Bayern in a Bundesliga promotion play-off match on the left wing against FC St. Pauli on June 6, 1964. In his first season of 1964/65in the “Regional League South,” the team won the league and eventually promoted to the Bundesliga.

Bayern soon became a force in the new German league, winning the German Cup in 1966/67 and achieving European success in the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1967. Beckenbauer became team captain for the 1968/69 season and led his club to their first league title.

During Beckenbauer’s tenure at Bayern Munich, the club won three league championships in a row from 1972 to 1974 and also a hat-trick of European Cup wins (1974–76) which earned the club the honour of keeping the trophy permanently.

Since 1968 Beckenbauer, has been called “Der Kaiser” by fans and the media. The following anecdote is told to explain the origin: On the occasion of a friendly game of Bayern Munich in Vienna, Austria, Beckenbauer posed for a photo session right beside a bust of the former Austrian emperor Franz Joseph I.

The media called him “Football-Emperor” afterwards, soon after he was just called “Emperor.” However, according to a report in the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, Beckenbauer fouled his opposite number, Reinhard Libuda from Schalke 04, in the cup final on June 14, 1969. Disregarding the fans’ hooting, Beckenbauer took the ball into the opposite part of the field, where he balanced the ball in front of the upset fans for half a minute. Libuda was commonly called “King of Westphalia,” so the press looked for an even more exalted moniker and invented “Emperor.”

In 1977, Beckenbauer accepted a lucrative contract to play in the North American Soccer League with the New York Cosmos. He played with the Cosmos for four seasons up to 1980, and the team won the Soccer Bowl on three occasions (1977, 1978 and 1980).

Beckenbauer retired after a two-year spell with Hamburger SV in Germany (1980–82) with the win of the Bundesliga title that year and one final season with the New York Cosmos in 1983. In his career, he appeared in 754 competitive club matches.

Managerial Career

On his return to Germany, Beckenbauer was appointed Manager of the West Germany National team on September 12, 1984. He took the team all the way to the final of the 1986 World Cup, where they lost to the Diego Maradona inspired Argentina.

In 1990, before the German reunification, Beckenbauer managed the last Germany team without East German players in a World Cup, winning the final 1–0, against Argentina, in a rematch of the previous World Cup final.

Beckenbauer is one of three men, along with Mario Zagallo, and Didier Deschamps, to have won the Cup as player and as manager, and he is the first man and one of only two (with Didier Deschamps) to have won the title as Team Captain as well as Manager.

Beckenbauer then moved into club management, and accepted a job with Olympique de Marseille in 1990 but left within one year. Marseille eventually won the 1990/91 French championship and ended runner-up of the 1990/91 European Cup.

From December 28, 1993 until June 30, 1994, and then from April 29, 1996 until June 30, 1996, he managed Bayern Munich. His brief spells in charge saw him collect two further honours – the Bundesliga title in 1994 and the UEFA Cup in 1996.

In 1994, he took on the role of Club President at Bayern, and much of the success in the following years has been credited to his astute management. Following the club’s decision to change from an association to a limited company, he has been Chairman of the advisory board since the beginning of 2002. He stepped down as President of Bayern in 2009.

In 1998, he became vice-president of the German Football Association. Beckenbauer headed the successful bid by Germany to organize the 2006 FIFA World Cup and chaired the Organizing Committee.

He was awarded the European Coach of the Year (Sepp Herberger Award) in 1990 and the World Soccer Award “Manager of the Year” in 1990. He was chosen World Soccer 29th Greatest Manager of All Time in 2013.

Individual Honours

As a Player: Ballon d’Or in 1972 and 1976; Ballon d’Orrunner-up in 1974 and 1975; Ballon d’Or third place in 1966; Footballer of the Year in 1966, 1968, 1974 and 1976; kicker Bundesliga Team of the Season in 1965/66, 1966/67, 1967/68, 1969/70, 1970/71, 1971/72, 1972/73, 1973/74, 1974/75, 1975/76 and 1976/77; FIFA World Cup Best Young Player Award in 1966; FIFA World Cup Bronze Boot in 1966; FIFA World Cup All-Star Team in 1966, 1970 and 1974; FIFA XI in 1968; FIFA World Cup Silver Ball in 1974; NASL Most Valuable Player Award in 1977; FIFA Order of Merit in 1984; FIFA World Cup All-Time Team in 1994; UEFA Euro Team of the Tournament in 1972, and 1976; World Team of the 20th Century in 1998; FIFA World Cup Dream Team in 2002; FIFA Centennial Player and Football Personality Award in 2004; FIFA 100 in 2004; Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007; IFFHS Universal Genius of World Football in 2007; Golden Foot as football legend in 2010; Marca Leyenda in 2012; FIFA Presidential Award in 2012; UEFA President’s Award in 2012; World Soccer Greatest XI of all time in 2013; UEFA Euro All-time XI in 2016;