Wednesday, June 11, 2014

11 June 1978 - Gemmill's Gem

On 11 June 1978, Scotland midfielder Archie Gemmill scored against the Netherlands in the group stages of the World Cup.

Playing in front of over 35,000 people at the Estadio Ciudad de Mendoza in Argentina, Scotland started the day tied with Iran at the bottom of the group with only one point each, while the Netherlands were tied at the top with Peru on 3 points. At the time, wins earned only two points, so in order to advance, the Scots needed to defeat the Dutch by 3 goals to pass them in the standings on goal differential.

Scotland's chances took a turn for the worse when the Netherlands were awarded a penalty, which forward Rob Rensenbrink converted in the 34th minute. Scotland equalized in the 44th minute, however, with a goal from forward Kenny Dalglish. Gemmill then scored to put them ahead in the 46th minute. He wasn't finished, though. In the 68th minute, Gemmill shot a goal past the Dutch keeper to give the Scots a 3-1 lead. As described by The Scotsman in the paper's match report, "The little midfield player homed in on goal, played a magnificent one-two with Dalglish, then sprinted into the box and thumped a glorious goal past Jongbloed to revive all the hopes which had died the death this past fortnight. It was an extraordinary goal and an extraordinary moment. Suddenly Scotland were dreaming of glory again."

The euphoria was short-lived, as Dutch winger Johnny Rep netted in the 71st minute and the match ended at 3-2, eliminating the Scots.

Despite the result, Gemmill's goal is remembered to this day as one of the greatest goals ever scored in the World Cup.

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