Here are some key details and highlights of the 1978 Argentina World Cup:
Host Country: Argentina was chosen as the host nation, and the tournament took place in various cities across the country, including Buenos Aires, Rosario, Cordoba, and Mar del Plata.
Participating Teams: A total of 16 teams qualified for the tournament, including defending champions West Germany, the Netherlands, Brazil, Italy, and Argentina as the host nation.
Format: The teams were divided into four groups of four teams each. The top two teams from each group advanced to the second group stage, where they were divided into two groups of four. The winners of each second group stage group would then proceed to the final.
Argentina's Triumph: Argentina emerged as the champions of the 1978 World Cup, winning their first title. Led by their captain Daniel Passarella and coached by Cesar Luis Menotti, Argentina showcased their attacking prowess and entertaining style of play. They defeated the Netherlands 3-1 in the final, with Mario Kempes scoring twice and Daniel Bertoni adding another goal.
Mario Kempes' Heroics: Mario Kempes was the star of the tournament and played a crucial role in Argentina's success. He finished as the top scorer of the tournament, scoring two goals in the final and a total of six goals overall. Kempes' performances earned him the Golden Boot as the tournament's top scorer and the Golden Ball as the best player.
Controversial Group Stage Matches: The group stage had its share of controversy. In the second group stage, Argentina faced Brazil in a highly anticipated match that ended in a 0-0 draw. The match was marred by physicality and aggressive play, with Brazil's Nelinho being controversially sent off. Argentina's victory over Peru in the same group stage, with a score of 6-0, raised suspicions of foul play, but no conclusive evidence was found to support such claims.
Emergence of New Stars: The tournament witnessed the emergence of talented players who went on to have successful careers. Apart from Mario Kempes, other notable players included Rob Rensenbrink and Johan Neeskens from the Netherlands, Paolo Rossi from Italy, and Dirceu and Zico from Brazil.
The 1978 Argentina World Cup was an eventful tournament that showcased the passion of the Argentinean fans and provided memorable moments on the field. It marked a significant milestone for Argentinean football, as they lifted the World Cup trophy for the first time in their history.