Friday, June 25, 2010

25 June 1978 - Argentina Treats The Dutch To A Loss

On 25 June 1978, hosts Argentina won their first World Cup, defeating the Netherlands 1-3 (aet), making them the fifth country to win the Cup as hosts.

The tournament took place during the reign of dictator Jorge Rafael Videla, who had taken control of the nation through a military coup two years earlier. After the coup, several countries, including the Netherlands, publicly debated whether to withdraw from the tournament. But all of the qualified teams eventually chose to participate.

Both Argentina and the Netherlands finished second in their respective first-round groups, but advanced to the Final by finishing at the top of their second-round groups. Argentina did so controversially, as they entered their last second-round match against Peru needing to win by more than four goals in order to pass group leaders Brazil. They won 6-0.

Playing the Final before a crowd of 71,483 at Buenos Aires' Estadio Monumental, Argentina took a 37th-minute lead with a goal from Valencia striker Mario Kempes (pictured). The goal tied Kempes with Holland's Rob Rensenbrink as the tournament's top scorer. The Dutch, playing in their second consecutive Final, equalized with a header from midfielder Dick Nanninga in the 82nd minute. Rensenbrink came close to winning the match in stoppage time, but his shot hit the post.

In extra time, Kempes struck again in the 104th minute. It was his sixth goal of the tournament and earned him the golden boot. Winger Daniel Bertoni added an insurance goal in the 115th minute to complete the day's scoring.

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