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Sunday, May 3, 1998 Published at 17:26 GMT 18:26 UK

Meet the BBC Team
Argentina 1978
image: [ World Cup winners 1978, Argentina ]
World Cup winners 1978, Argentina

The Argentina World Cup was shrouded in controversy on and off the pitch. The country was ruled by a military dictatorship, a leading tournament official was assassinated en route to his first press conference and there were allegations of match rigging. But in spite of everything, the hosts finally won their first World Cup.

Who played?

Scotland booked their ticket but England failed to qualify for the second time in a row. There were threats of a major boycott but many of the top footballing nations - and debutantes like Iran and Tunisia - ended up going.

What happened?


[ image: Scottish manager Ally MacLeod]
Scottish manager Ally MacLeod
Scotland were humiliated. After grandiose claims of title glory, Ally's Army went out of the tournament after the first round having lost to Peru and drawn against Iran.

France, who had not qualified since 1966, also fell at the first hurdle.

The Netherlands - without the great Johann Cruyff who had decided to stay away - waited until the second phase to show what they could do, and made it to their second successive final by defeating Austria (5-1) and Italy (2-1) and drawing with champions West Germany (2-2).

Argentina and Brazil battled it out in the other second round group. The hosts had to win their last group game against Peru by four clear goals to pip Brazil on goal difference and go through to the final. No problem. They put six past Peru with Mario Kempes scoring twice.

Kempes went on to score two more in the final as Argentina as the Netherlands were beaten 3-1 after extra-time.

The odds had been stacked against the Dutch, made to wait by their hosts before the game, then on the wrong end of some bad refereeing decisions.

Any lasting memories?

This tournament will be remembered both for the political troubles and dubious displays by the men in black. Peru's goalkeeper also made his mark, especially in the 6-0 defeat to Argentina when he was conspicuous by his absence.





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Uruguay 1930

USA 1994

Italy 1990

Mexico 1986

Sweden 1958

World Cup History

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Spain 1982

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Argentina 1978

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