gerd-muller1974

Gerd Muller, left, scores the winning goal for Germany in the 1974 World Cup final. ((STAFF/AFP/Getty Images))

In an ongoing series, CBCSports.ca asked players, managers, broadcasters, journalists and fans to recall their favourite World Cup memories.

Next up: Bob Bradley.

Bradley has served as the coach of the U.S. national team since 2006, guiding the Americans to the final of last year's FIFA Confederations Cup and helping the side qualify for this month's World Cup.

But Bradley, who played the game while attending Princeton University, is also a lifelong soccer fan, and one World Cup memory stands above the rest for the New Jersey native.

"I was in high school when I watched the 1974 final on the big screen at Madison Square Garden. I remember the great Dutch team with Johan Cruyff and Germany's Gerd Muller, who was a player that I idolized," Bradley told CBCSports.ca.

West Germany versus the Netherlands was the match that everybody wanted to see, the two celebrated practitioners of Total Football going head-to-head in the 1974 final in Munich.

The Netherlands had Germany running ragged from the opening kickoff. After an amazing first minute where the Germans didn't even touch the ball, Cruyff began a purposeful and ambitious run deep inside Germany's end.

Cruyff left Berti Vogts for dead and the German defender brought the Dutch stylist down inside the penalty area. Johan Neeskens converted the ensuing penalty kick and the Netherlands were up 1-0 after only two minutes.

For the next 20 minutes, the Dutch toyed with their opponents, mocking the Germans with their slick passes and insolent possession, making them chase the ball in vain. The message was clear from Cruyff and his cohorts: merely beating the Germans wasn't enough, they wanted to humiliate them.

Germany, to its credit, did not lose faith, and marshalled by Franz Beckenbauer, the team fought back and made the Netherlands pay for their indulgence. Bernd Holzenbein breezed down the left wing and glided into the penalty area where he was tripped by Wim Jansen.

English referee Jack Taylor pointed to the penalty spot, but the Dutch accused the German winger of diving. No matter, though, as Paul Breitner drilled the ball past Jan Jongbloed in the 25th minute. The tide had turned.

Two minutes before halftime, Germany's Rainer Bonhof sped down the right side before delivering a cross into the box. Always in the right place at the right time, Muller dragged the ball back into his path and swept it past the Dutch goalkeeper.

It was the 68th and final goal of Muller's international career. As it turned out, it was also the most important, as Germany held on for a 2-1 win to claim its second World Cup title.