Behind the World Cup record: Helmut Schon

  • Helmut Schon holds record for most World Cup matches as coach (25)
  • He took part in four World Cups with Germany
  • In 1974, Schon became a world champion with Germany on home soil

Helmut Schon is the most successful national coach in German football history, and one of the most successful ever to grace the beautiful game. He won both the FIFA World Cup™ and European Championships and still holds a World Cup record to this day.

He was recognised for his achievements in 1974 with the Silver Laurel Leaf, presented by the German president, and the Federal Cross of Merit. Schon was subsequently named an honorary member of the German Football Association (DFB) in 1980 and received the FIFA Order of Merit in 1984, while Deutsche Post marked what would have been his 100th birthday with a commemorative stamp on 1 September 2015.

The coach

“I’m certain that there is one thing the overwhelming majority of loyal fans would like to see more than anything else: good, authentic, exciting and athletic football – with no frills.”

This was Schon’s motto – and one that brought the former Germany coach a great deal of success. The late Austrian vocalist Udo Jurgens described him as the “general with a heart”, while for Franz Beckenbauer, the man around whom the playing style of Schon’s teams was based and his on-pitch representative, he was “a coach of great stature and humanity”.

Born in Dresden, Schon made as great an impact on German football as fellow world champions Sepp Herberger (1954), Franz Beckenbauer (1990) and Joachim Low (2014). The man whose 1.90m stature led his players to affectionately refer to him as Der Lange or ‘The Lanky One’, whilst always respectfully addressing him as ‘Mr Schon’, was considered to be a blessing to German football. Between 1964 and 1978, the national side played a successful yet highly attractive game, prompting one reporter for Milan’s Corriere della Sera to declare that “Helmut Schon’s team…

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