World Cup 1978: Army interference, violent clashes and a boycott | Football News

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After years of being denied hosting rights and subsequent boycotts of the tournament, Argentina was finally chosen to host a World Cup.

Host: Argentina
Teams: 16
Format: Group stage, second round, third-place playoff, final
Matches: 38
Goals: 102
Winner: Argentina
Runners-up: Netherlands
Golden boot: Mario Kempes (Argentina)

Background

After years of being denied hosting rights and subsequent boycotts of the tournament, Argentina was finally chosen to host a World Cup.

The tournament logo was based on former President Juan Peron’s famous hand gesture, which the military leadership sought to change but decided against that when faced with repercussions of criticism and lawsuits.

It would not be the only criticism linked to the host nation’s leadership, as they were accused of interfering in the matches and ensuring favourable outcomes and conditions for the home team.

Some of the biggest teams, including Belgium, England and Uruguay, failed to qualify for the main round. Iran and Tunisia qualified for the first time.

Netherlands legend Johan Cruyff was part of his team’s qualification process but refused to take part in the tournament after a kidnapping attempt on his family in Barcelona.

West Germany played without the star of the 1974 win, Gerd Muller.

The Netherlands made their second consecutive World Cup final, only to lose to the hosts again.

Argentina star Mario Kempes’s first-half goal seemed enough for the hosts until the 82nd minute when Dick Nanninga equalised and sent the final into extra time.

Kempes scored again in extra time, and Daniel Beroni’s strike five minutes from time sealed Argentina’s first World Cup crown and set off wild celebrations in the crowd and on the pitch.

A distraught Dutch team refused to take part in the post-match ceremony.

Highs

Argentina put on a display of attacking football, instilled by their coach Cesar Luis Menotti.

Iran and Tunisia played in their first World Cup.

Lows

The tournament was marred by controversy surrounding Argentina’s military leadership and their alleged involvement in determining the outcome of the matches.

Violent clashes in the game between Argentina and Brazil.

Losing finalists the Netherlands boycotted the post-match ceremony citing unfair play.

Sumber: www.aljazeera.com

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