Monday, December 21, 2009

World Cups - Argentina 1978

Extra time in the 1978 World Cup Final. Amidst a series of Argentine attacks that had begun to resemble cavalry charges, Mario Kempes slalomed through the Netherlands defence for 2-1. But the goalkeeper Jan Jongbloed blocked the shot. The ball ricocheted off Kempes, arced into the air and for a moment the watching world held its breath...

Argentina were awarded the tournament in 1964 but by the time 1978 came round the country was ruled by a ferocious military junta that had disappeared 30,000 of its own citizens and were desperate for the World Cup victory that would lend a legitimacy to their regime. As such, the 1978 World Cup became the most politicised sporting event since the Berlin Olympics of 1936.

The on-field architecture designed for the tournament were goalnets supported by fancy L's and posts with distinctive black bands round the base. For the second successive tournament they were newly installed and uniform across all 6 stadia .

On a carpet of bogroll and shredded newspaper the generals got their victory but at what price to the game? The new world champions stood accused of gamesmanship, intimidation and bribery. For the future of football the world held its breath.

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