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1978 World Cup, Argentina

A popular slogan in the 1970's was "keep politics out of sport", but this so often fell on deaf ears. Boycotts, embargoes, no sport was safe from political manipulation. This was certainly the case with the 1978 World Cup, with the Argentine ruling junta staking their reputation on the success of the tournament - and in particular the success of the host nation.

Memorable for frenzied crowds and blizzards of ticker-tape confetti, the finals were viewed by many football fans as the chance for Holland to take their rightful place as champions. A large percentage of Dutch hopes were left behind in the Netherlands, however as Johann Cruyff's long-running battles with the Dutch FA led to his not going to Argentina.

Argentina's course to the final was charmed. Creative scheduling of matches meant they knew exactly what was required in their closing group match against Peru - victory by 4 clear goals. They achieved this easily, putting 6 past the Peruvians' Argentina-born keeper. Their final victory against the Dutch was no formality, a late equaliser from Dirk Nanninga sending the match to extra time. The Argentinians eventually prevailed 3-1, to the delight of their fans and relief of the Government.



1978 Index 

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