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Franz Beckenbauer

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Franz Beckenbauer

Germany | Midfield

Achievements: World Cup winner 1974; runner up 1966; 4th 1970

Beckenbauer made his name as a 21-year-old midfielder in 1966, scoring four goals as West Germany progressed to the final, only to lose 4-2 after extra time to host England.

German coach Helmut Schoen's decision to deploy Beckenbauer in a man-to-man marking role against Bobby Charlton, rather than in the free role in which he had operated with such success, is generally accepted to have contributed to West Germany's defeat.

West Germany enjoyed their revenge against England four years later, with Beckenbauer scoring the opening goal as the Germans fought back from 2-0 down to win 3-2.

But in the semifinal against Italy, Beckenbauer was forced to play on with his arm in a sling after dislocating his shoulder. His heroic efforts failed to prevent a 4-3 defeat.

In 1974 Beckenbauer lifted the World Cup at last, not only at home in Germany but on home turf in Bayern Munich's Olympic Stadium.

In the final Beckenbauer was a magnificent presence, inspiring his teammates to a come-from-behind 2-1 victory against the seemingly unbeatable brilliance of Dutch "total football."

Having won as a player, he then coached his country to the 1986 final before becoming the only man to win the World Cup as captain and coach in 1990.

He headed the organizing committee for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

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