The 1974 and 2006 World Cups in Germany: Commonalities, Continuities and Changes

Udo Merkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This essay intends to provide a comparative analysis of key social, political and cultural issues on the German agenda in the build-up to the two World Cups in 1974 and 2006 and to identify commonalities, continuities and differences between them. In order to fully understand the social, political and cultural significance of these two World Cups, four crucial issues need to be addressed: first, the relatively late commercialization and professionalization of German football from mid-1960s onwards; second, a major corruption scandal at the beginning of the 1970s and, again, in 2005; third, the parallel existence of two German states between 1949 and 1990 against the background of Cold War politics; and finally, the tragic legacy of hosting major sport events, such as the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin and 1972 Games in Munich. Despite the three decades between these two World Cups, the essay argues, there are a number of surprising commonalities and continuities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-28
Number of pages15
JournalSoccer and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2006


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