WC 1978 MENU
Argentina '78 story
Story of Argentina '78
The World Cup came back to South America
for the first time since 1962. FIFA awarded the tournament to Argentina, but
the country had suffered under a brutal military dictatorship headed by General
Videla over the recent couple of years. Thousands of people had been killed and
even Omar Actis, president of the World Cup Organizing Committee, was
assassinated by the guerrillas. Scepticism increased among the qualified
nations and many feared for their safety, but the junta guaranteed there
would be no violence during the tournament. West German captain Berti Vogts
stated after the World Cup he never saw any signs that Argentina was ruled by
dictatorship. The tournament went by without a major incident of violence.
Some of the greatest stars in the game bowed out of various reasons from the
World Cup. Franz Beckenbauer had quit the international game shortly before,
and Johan Cruyff and Paul Breitner refused to go because of the political
situation in Argentina, but there were plenty of other stars ready to fill in
for them. Hans Krankl,Teofilio Cubillas, Paolo Rossi, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge,
Kenny Dalglish and Johan Neeskens made appearances with class that thrilled the
But the most sparkling star of them all was Mario Alberto Kempes - the host
nation's own hero and only foreign based player called up by coach Menotti.
After a slow start Kempes began scoring in the vital matches in the second
phase and scored twice and set up the third goal when Argentina beat the
Netherlands in the final. Also Fillol's great goalkeeping, Passarella's
leadership in defence and Ardiles' tireless running contributed to Argentina's
first World Cup triumph. This was something Argentina had been waiting for ever
since 1930 when they lost to Uruguay in the inaugural World Cup Final across the
Rio de la Plata.
The Netherlands once again ended up losing the final to a host nation. This
time by the smallest of margins. Rob Rensenbrink's long outstretched leg almost
brought Buenos Aires to silence in injury-time when his effort went against the
post at 1-1. It would have been Rensenbrink's sixth goal in the series and
enough to earn him the World Cup trophy and Golden Boot instead of Kempes.
The trophy stayed in Argentina. The Dutch didn't qualify again for a World
Cup until 1990.
Italy appeared with many young emerging stars
who would peak four years later in Spain, but also in Argentina they showed
their capacity by beating the hosts and eventual winners in a first round
match. France too had a young and promising side, but grouped with both Italy and Argentina, advancement
to the next phase looked difficult from the start and became too tough in the end. France
would also come back stronger in 1982.
Brazil went home undefeated although their football wasn't as memorable as
earlier editions. Rivelino had one last outing, but wasn't efficient and Zico
spent much time on the bench, but Nelinho and Dirceu impressed with free-kicks
and long range shooting - a Brazilian speciality over the years. Argentina's
suspicious 6-0 demolition of Peru, meant Brazil missed out on a place in the
final by goaldifference.
Tunisia made history by becoming the first African nation to win a match in the
World Cup finals when they beat Mexico 3-1. It was an important step in the
right direction for African football after Za´re's poor showing four years
earlier. Tunisia later held defending champions West Germany to a goalless
draw, but it wasn't enough for advancement to Phase Two.
Reaching Phase Two had been a nightmare for Scotland as well - once again
Britain's sole representative in the finals. Once again a talented Scottish
side had to go home after three first round matches. Only one point picked
up after the games against Peru and Iran virtually killed Scottish dreams, but
Ally's Army finished on a high note with a 3-2 win over the Netherlands
including Archie Gemmill's fabulous solo-goal, the best of the tournament. The
same match also featured the 1000th goal in World Cup history scored by
Dutchman Rob Rensenbrink on a penalty.
Argentina '78 was staged virtually without hiccups, but the match schedule
needed to be modernized for Spain '82. Too many matches were played
simultaneously in Argentina thus avoiding maximum live TV-audience world-wide.
There was also time to scrap the 16-team format and increase the number of
competing nations to 24. FIFA had plenty of new challenges to deal with over
the next four years. Some were handled well, some were not.
Info on how
the World Cup was founded and about the trophy as well.
on every match in every tournament.
Interesting columns about the past, present and future of the World Cup.
with appearances in the World Cup. Detailed info on every country.
of many of the most influential players in history.
An A-Z collection
of strange and different stories in World Cup history.
A big collection
of various statistics and records.
since it was introduced in 1966.
knowledge about the WC. Three different levels. No prizes, just for fun.
lots of stuff. For instance Best Goals, Best Players and Best Matches.
of links to other soccer sites with World Cup connection.
and buttons for you to link to us if you want.
A little information
on who keeps this site available.