1978 FIFA World Cup

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1978 FIFA World Cup
Copa Mundial de Fútbol Argentina '78
1978 FIFA World Cup.svg
1978 FIFA World Cup official logo
Tournament details
Host countryArgentina
Dates1–25 June (25 days)
Teams16 (from 5 confederations)
Venue(s)6 (in 5 host cities)
Final positions
ChampionsFlag of Argentina.svg  Argentina (1st title)
Runners-upFlag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands
Third placeFlag of Brazil (1968-1992).svg  Brazil
Fourth placeFlag of Italy.svg  Italy
Tournament statistics
Matches played38
Goals scored102 (2.68 per match)
Attendance1,545,791 (40,679 per match)
Top scorer(s) Flag of Argentina.svg Mario Kempes (6 goals)
Best young player Flag of Italy.svg Antonio Cabrini [1]
Fair play awardFlag of Argentina.svg  Argentina [1]

The 1978 FIFA World Cup, the 11th staging of the FIFA World Cup, quadrennial international football world championship tournament, was held in Argentina between 1 and 25 June.

FIFA World Cup association football competition for mens national teams

The FIFA World Cup, often simply called the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport's global governing body. The championship has been awarded every four years since the inaugural tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 when it was not held because of the Second World War. The current champion is France, which won its second title at the 2018 tournament in Russia.

Association football Team field sport

Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.


The Cup was won by the Argentine hosts, who defeated the Netherlands 3–1 in the final, after extra time. The final was held at River Plate's home stadium, Estadio Monumental, in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires. This win was the first World Cup title for Argentina, who became the fifth team (after Uruguay, Italy, England and West Germany) to be both hosts and world champions. Argentina, the Netherlands and Brazil were the gold, silver and bronze medalists, respectively. Iran and Tunisia made their first appearances in the tournament. This was also the last World Cup tournament to use the original inclusion of 16 teams. Since the first World Cup in 1930, only 15 teams (plus the host, who automatically qualified) had been allowed to qualify (the reigning title holders also received automatic qualification from 1934 through 2002); but for the next World Cup, in Spain, FIFA expanded that tournament to 24 teams.

Argentina national football team Mens national association football team representing Argentina

The Argentina national football team represents Argentina in football and is controlled by the Argentine Football Association (AFA), the governing body for football in Argentina. Argentina's home stadium is Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti in Buenos Aires.

Netherlands national football team Mens national association football team representing the Netherlands

The Netherlands national football team represents the Netherlands in international football. It is controlled by the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB), the governing body for football in the Netherlands. The team is colloquially referred to as Het Nederlands Elftal and Oranje, after the House of Orange-Nassau. Like the country itself, the team is sometimes (also colloquially) referred to as Holland.

Club Atlético River Plate Argentine association football club

Club Atlético River Plate is an Argentine professional sports club based in the Núñez neighborhood of Buenos Aires, and named after the British English name for the city's estuary, Río de la Plata. Although many sports are practiced at the club, River is best known for its professional football team, which has won Argentina's Primera División championship a record of 36 times, being its latest title the 2014 Final. Domestic achievements also include 11 National cups, with the 2017 Supercopa Argentina as the most recent. Those achievements place River Plate as the most winning team of domestic competitions with 47 titles won in the top division. In Second Division, the club has won two titles, in 1908 and 2011-12.

The official match ball was the Adidas Tango.

Host selection

Argentina was chosen as the host nation by FIFA on 6 July 1966 in London, England. Mexico withdrew from the bidding process after having been awarded the 1970 competition two years earlier.

Juan Peron saluting the crowd, the inspiration of the Argentina 78 logo Palco de Peron (a color!).jpg
Juan Perón saluting the crowd, the inspiration of the Argentina 78 logo

The logo is based on President Juan Perón's signature gesture: a salute to the crowd with both arms extended above his head. This was one of the most famous, populist images of Perón. The design was created in 1974, two years prior to the military coup in 1976. The military leadership were aware that the World Cup's logo symbolized Perón's gesture, and they tried to change the competition's logo. At this point, the design was already broadly commercialized and the merchandise had already been made: a forced modification "would trigger a sea of lawsuits against the country", so the military "munched the defeat". [2]

President of Argentina Head of State of Argentina

The President of Argentina, officially known as the President of the Argentine Republic, is both head of state and head of government of Argentina. Under the national Constitution, the President is also the chief executive of the federal government and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.

Juan Perón President of Argentina

Juan Domingo Perón was an Argentine Army general and politician. After serving in several government positions, including Minister of Labor and Vice President, he was elected President of Argentina three times, serving from June 1946 to September 1955, when he was overthrown in a coup d'état, and then from October 1973 until his death in July 1974.

1976 Argentine coup détat March 1976 military coup détat in Argentina

The 1976 Argentine coup d'état was a right-wing coup that overthrew Isabel Perón as President of Argentina on 24 March 1976. A military junta was installed to replace her; this was headed by Lieutenant General Jorge Rafael Videla, Admiral Emilio Eduardo Massera and Brigadier-General Orlando Ramón Agosti. The political process initiated on 24 March 1976, took the official name of "National Reorganization Process", and the junta, although not with its original members, remained in power until the return to the democratic process on December 10, 1983.


Countries that qualified for World Cup
Countries that failed to qualify
Countries that did not enter
Non-FIFA members 1978 world cup qualification.png
  Countries that qualified for World Cup
  Countries that failed to qualify
  Countries that did not enter
  Non-FIFA members

England, Belgium, Czechoslovakia (the European champions) and the Soviet Union failed to qualify for the second World Cup in succession, losing out to Italy, the Netherlands, Scotland and Hungary respectively. 1974 Quarter-finalists East Germany and Yugoslavia were eliminated by Austria and Spain and thus also failed to qualify for the finals, along with Bulgaria which failed to qualify for the first time since 1958 after losing to France. Bolivia's win meant Uruguay failed to qualify for the first time since 1958. Newcomers to the finals were Iran and Tunisia; Austria qualified for the first time since 1958, while France, Spain and Hungary were back for the first time since 1966. Peru and Mexico returned after missing the previous tournament. For the first time, more than 100 nations entered the competition. [3]

List of teams qualifying

The following 16 teams qualified for the final tournament:


A controversial fact surrounding the 1978 World Cup was that Argentina had suffered a military coup only two years before the cup, a coup known as the National Reorganization Process. Less than a year before the World Cup, in September 1977, Interior Minister General Albano Harguindeguy, stated that 5,618 people had recently disappeared. The infamous Higher School of Mechanics of the Navy (known by its acronym ESMA) held concentration camp prisoners of the Dirty War and those held captive reportedly could hear the roars of the crowd during matches held at River Plate's Monumental Stadium, located only a mile away; [4] prompting echoes of Hitler's and Mussolini's political manipulation of sports during the 1936 Berlin Olympics and 1934 FIFA World Cup. [5] Because of the political turmoil, some countries, most notably the Netherlands, considered publicly whether they should participate in the event. Despite this, all teams eventually took part without restrictions. Allegations that Dutch star Johan Cruyff refused to participate because of political convictions were denied by him 30 years later. [6] More controversy surrounded the host, Argentina, as all of their games in the first round kicked off at night, giving the Argentines the advantage of knowing where they stood in the group. This issue would arise again in Spain 1982, which prompted FIFA to change the rules so that the final two group games in subsequent World Cups would be played simultaneously.

National Reorganization Process Argentinas last military dictatorship

The National Reorganization Process was the name used by its leaders for the military dictatorship that ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1983. In Argentina it is often known simply as la última junta militar or la última dictadura militar or la última dictadura cívico-militar, because there have been several in the country's history.

The Dirty War is the name used by the military junta or civic-military dictatorship of Argentina for the period of United States-backed state terrorism in Argentina from 1974 to 1983 as a part of Operation Condor, during which military and security forces and right-wing death squads in the form of the Argentine Anticommunist Alliance hunted down any political dissidents and anyone believed to be associated with socialism, left-wing Peronism or the Montoneros movement.

1934 FIFA World Cup fue una porqueria porque ni lo trasmitieron por tv

The 1934 FIFA World Cup was the second FIFA World Cup, the world championship for men's national association football teams. It took place in Italy from 27 May to 10 June 1934.

Argentina's controversial and favorable decisions in their matches has caused many to view their eventual win as illegitimate; many cite the political climate and worldwide pressure on the Argentine government as the reason for these decisions. Desperate to prove their stability and prominence to the world after their coup two years earlier, the government used whatever means necessary to ensure that the team would progress far in the tournament.

Suspicions of match fixing arose even before the tournament began; Lajos Baróti, the head coach of Argentina’s first opponents, Hungary, said that “everything, even the air, is in favor of Argentina.” [7] He also talked about the financial imperative to have Argentina win the World Cup: “The success of Argentina is financially so important to the tournament.” [7]

From Will Hersey’s article “Remembering Argentina 1978: The Dirtiest World Cup of All Time”:

"The other teams in Argentina and Hungary’s group were the much-fancied France and Italy, establishing the tournament’s toughest qualifying section. After the victory against Hungary, one junta official remarked to Luque, that “this could turn out to be the group of death as far as you are concerned”. It was delivered with a smile.

“Uppermost in my mind was that earlier that day, the brother of a close friend of mine had disappeared,” recalled Luque. “His body was later found by villagers on the banks of the River Plate with concrete attached to his legs. At that time, opponents of the regime were sometimes thrown out of aeroplanes into the sea.”" [7]

In their second group stage game against France, Argentina were the beneficiaries of multiple favorable calls. After France was denied what looked to be a clear penalty in the first half, an anonymous French player claimed to have heard the referee tell Daniel Passarella (The player who committed the foul), "Don't do that again please, or I might have to actually give it next time." [8]

Further accusations have surrounded the game Argentina and Peru played in the second round of the tournament. Argentina needed to win by a margin of four goals to proceed to the final and did so by defeating Peru by 6–0. There were claims that the Argentine military dictatorship interfered to ensure Argentina would defeat Peru, though these were denied by the Peruvian captain and several Peruvian players. [9] Some accusations originated in the Brazilian media and pointed to the fact that the Peruvian goalkeeper had been born in Argentina. [10] [11] There was also an alleged deal, reported by the British media as an anonymous rumour, that involved the delivery of a large grain shipment to Peru by Argentina and the unfreezing of a Peruvian bank account that was held by the Argentine Central Bank. [12] Another alleged deal, published by a Colombian drug lord in a controversial book, involved the Peruvian team being bribed without any political implications. [9] A third alleged deal, claimed by a Peruvian leftist politician, encompassed sending 13 Peruvian dissidents exiled in Argentina back to Peru. [13] On top of the contradictions between stories, no evidence is shown in any case.

Three months before the World Cup, Argentina had beaten Peru 3–1 in Lima, head to head record was 15–3 in favour of the hosting nation and Peru had never beaten Argentina away from home. However, Peru had conceded only 6 goals in their previous 5 games in the World Cup. During the first half, Peru hit the post twice after two counters when the game was 0–0. Argentina managed to get ahead 2–0 before the end of the first 45 minutes. During the second half, Argentina was ahead 4–0 when Peru had another clear chance. Argentina kept attacking and scored twice more, making it 6–0 and surpassing the needed margin.

There was also some domestic controversy as well, as Argentine manager César Luis Menotti did not call up the then-17-year-old Argentinos Juniors local star Diego Maradona, as Menotti felt the exceptionally talented Maradona was too young to handle the pressures of such an important tournament on home soil and that the expectations of the team's performance would probably revolve around the Buenos Aires-born youngster. [14] In addition, Maradona's traditional position of number 10 (play-making attacking mid-fielder) was taken by Mario Kempes, who ended up as the Best Player and Top Goal Scorer.


The format of the competition stayed the same as in 1974: 16 teams qualified, divided into four groups of four. Each group played a round-robin with two points for a win and one for a draw, and goal difference used to separate teams level on points. The top two teams in each group would advance to the second round, where they would be split into two groups of four. The winners of each group would play each other in the final, and the second-place finishers in the third place match. For the 1978 World Cup, FIFA introduced the penalty shoot-out as a means of determining the winner in knockout stages should the match end on a draw after 120 minutes. The method, however, was not put in practice as both the third-place match and the final were decided before 120 minutes. The first World Cup to feature a penalty shoot-out was the 1982 World Cup, in the semifinal match between France and West Germany.


Third place
Fourth place
Second round
First round 1978 world cup.png
  Third place
  Fourth place
  Second round
  First round

First round

The first round produced several surprises. Poland won Group 2 ahead of world champions West Germany, after holding the Germans to a goalless draw and then beating Tunisia and Mexico. The Germans then thrashed Mexico 6–0, and finally played out a second goalless draw against Tunisia. Although they failed to qualify for the second round, Tunisia made history by beating Mexico 3–1 while trailing 0–1 at half time. It was the first time that any African team had won a match at the World Cup finals.

Peru pushed the Netherlands into second place in Group 4, where Scotland missed out on goal difference for the second successive tournament. Teófilo Cubillas was outstanding for Peru, scoring twice against Scotland in Peru's 3–1 win and hitting a hat-trick in their 4–1 victory over newcomers Iran. Rob Rensenbrink of the Netherlands also scored three times against Iran, scoring all the goals as the Dutch won 3–0. Scotland drew with Iran 1–1 and the only highlight of their campaign was a 3–2 victory over the Netherlands in their final group game which was not enough to prevent elimination. Iran, the reigning Asian champions, went out of the tournament winless. Rensenbrink's goal against Scotland was the 1000th goal of World Cup history. Scotland's Willie Johnston was expelled from the World Cup after he was found to have taken a banned stimulant during the opening game against Peru.

The biggest surprise of all came in Group 3, where Austria finished ahead of Brazil. The Austrians beat Spain and Sweden, while Brazil were held to draws by the same two teams. The draw between Brazil and Sweden was especially controversial; Welsh referee Clive Thomas awarded Brazil a very late corner kick, and Zico directly headed the kick into the net; but Thomas blew for time before Zico made contact with the ball, and the goal was disallowed. The Brazilian players were not happy with the decision, but the final result remained a 1–1 draw. Heading into their final group game, Brazil needed to beat Austria to be certain of advancing to the second round and managed a 1–0 win thanks to a goal from Roberto Dinamite. Brazil and Austria thus finished with the same number of points and the same goal difference, but Austria won the group by virtue of having scored more goals.

Group 1 had the strongest line-up of teams in the first round, featuring Italy, the host Argentina, France and Hungary. The two places in the second round were claimed before the final round of games, with Italy and Argentina both beating France and Hungary. The match between Italy and Argentina decided who topped the group, and a goal from Roberto Bettega midway through the second half was enough to give that honour to Italy. It also forced Argentina to move out of Buenos Aires and play in Rosario.

The 1978 World Cup marked the fourth and last occasion during which a national team did not wear its own kit to play a match (the first being in the 1934 World Cup third place match between Germany and Austria; the second in the 1950 World Cup first round match between Switzerland and Mexico and the third in the 1958 World Cup first round match between West Germany and Argentina). The incident happened during the game between France and Hungary. Both teams arrived at the venue with only their white change kits, resulting in a delayed kickoff while officials went in search of the jerseys of a local team from Mar del Plata, Club Atlético Kimberley; the jerseys had vertical green and white stripes and were worn by France.

Second round

In the all-European Group A, the Netherlands got off to a flying start by thrashing Austria 5–1, Johnny Rep scoring two of their goals. In a rematch of the 1974 final, the Dutch then drew 2–2 with West Germany, who had previously shared a goalless game with Italy. The Italians beat Austria 1–0, and so the Netherlands faced Italy in their last group game knowing that the winners would reach the final. Ernie Brandts scored an 18th-minute own goal to put Italy ahead at half-time, but he made up for his mistake by scoring at the right end in the fifth minute of the second half. Arie Haan got the winner for the Dutch with 15 minutes remaining, and the Netherlands had reached their second successive World Cup Final. In the game known as the miracle of Cordoba, West Germany were surprisingly beaten by Austria 2–3 which marked their end as World Champions.

Group B was essentially a battle between Argentina and Brazil, and it was resolved in controversial circumstances. In the first round of group games, Brazil beat Peru 3–0 while Argentina saw Poland off by a score of 2–0. Brazil and Argentina then played out a tense and violent goalless draw, so both teams went into the last round of matches with three points. Argentina delayed the kick-off of its last match to await the result of the Brazil-Poland encounter. Brazil won by a 3–1 score, meaning Argentina had to beat Peru by four clear goals to reach the final but they managed to do it. Trailing 2–0 at half-time, Peru simply collapsed in the second half, and Argentina eventually won 6–0. As previously noted, rumors suggested that Peru might have been bribed or threatened into allowing Argentina to win the match by such a large margin. However, nothing could be proved, and Argentina met the Netherlands in the final. Brazil took third place from an enterprising Italian side with Nelinho scoring a memorable goal, and were dubbed "moral champions" by coach Cláudio Coutinho, because they did not win the tournament, but did not lose a single match.


The final, Argentina vs Netherlands, was also controversial, as the Dutch accused the Argentines of using stalling tactics to delay the match. The host team came out late and questioned the legality of a plaster cast on René van de Kerkhof's wrist, which the Dutch claimed allowed tension to build in front of a hostile Buenos Aires crowd.

Mario Kempes opened the scoring for the hosts before Dick Nanninga equalized a few minutes from the end. Rob Rensenbrink had a glorious stoppage-time opportunity to win it for the Netherlands but his effort came back off the goal post. Argentina won the final 3–1 after extra time, after Daniel Bertoni scored and Kempes, who finished as the tournament's top scorer with six goals, added his second of the day. The Netherlands, because of the controversial game events, refused to attend the post-match ceremonies after the match ended. [15] They had lost their second consecutive World Cup final, both times to the host nation, after losing to West Germany in 1974. Argentina won 5 games but became the first team to win the World Cup after failing to win two matches, where they had lost to Italy in the first round and drawn with Brazil in the second round. Four years later, Italy would win the next World Cup despite failing to win three games.


The official mascot of this World Cup was Gauchito, a boy wearing an Argentina kit. His hat (with the words ARGENTINA '78), neckerchief, and whip are typical of gauchos.


Of the six venues used, the Estadio Monumental in Buenos Aires was the largest and most used venue, hosting nine total matches, including the final match. The Carreras Stadium in Cordoba hosted eight matches, the stadiums in Mendoza, Rosario and Mar del Plata each hosted six matches and the Jose Amalfitani stadium in Buenos Aires hosted three matches. The Minella stadium in Mar del Plata was heavily criticized due to its terrible pitch, which was deemed "nearly unplayable"; whereas the Amalfitani stadium in Buenos Aires, the least used stadium for this tournament, was praised for its very good pitch. [16] Brazil was forced by tournament organizers to play all three of its first group matches in Mar del Plata; there had been rumors and allegations of the organizers deliberately sabotaging the Minella stadium's pitch to weaken Brazil's chances of success.

Buenos Aires Córdoba
Estadio Monumental Estadio José Amalfitani Estadio Chateau Carreras
Capacity: 74,624Capacity: 49,318Capacity: 46,986
Estadio Monumental Mundial 78.jpg Estadio Jose Amalfitani.JPG Estadio Cordoba (Arg vs Ghana) 1.jpg
Mar del Plata Rosario Mendoza
Estadio José María Minella Estadio Gigante de Arroyito Estadio Ciudad de Mendoza
Capacity: 43,542Capacity: 41,654Capacity: 34,954
PT ESTADIO2.jpg Postal 1978-2.JPG Estadio Malvinas Argentinas en 1978.jpg

Match officials


For a list of all squads that appeared in the final tournament, see 1978 FIFA World Cup squads .


Pot 1Pot 2Pot 3Pot 4

Group stage

Group 1

1Flag of Italy.svg  Italy 330062+46Advance to second round
2Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina 320143+14
3Flag of France.svg  France 31025502
4Flag of Hungary.svg  Hungary 30033850
Source: FIFA
2 June 1978
Italy  Flag of Italy.svg 2–1 Flag of France.svg  France Estadio José María Minella, Mar del Plata
Argentina  Flag of Argentina.svg 2–1 Flag of Hungary.svg  Hungary Estadio Monumental, Buenos Aires
6 June 1978
Italy  Flag of Italy.svg 3–1 Flag of Hungary.svg  Hungary Estadio José María Minella, Mar del Plata
Argentina  Flag of Argentina.svg 2–1 Flag of France.svg  France Estadio Monumental, Buenos Aires
10 June 1978
France  Flag of France.svg 3–1 Flag of Hungary.svg  Hungary Estadio José María Minella, Mar del Plata
Argentina  Flag of Argentina.svg 0–1 Flag of Italy.svg  Italy Estadio Monumental, Buenos Aires

Group 2

1Flag of Poland (1928-1980).svg  Poland 321041+35Advance to second round
2Flag of Germany.svg  West Germany 312060+64
3Flag of Tunisia.svg  Tunisia 311132+13
4Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico 3003212100
Source: FIFA
1 June 1978
West Germany  Flag of Germany.svg 0–0 Flag of Poland (1928-1980).svg  Poland Estadio Monumental, Buenos Aires
2 June 1978
Tunisia  Flag of Tunisia (1959-1999).svg 3–1 Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico Estadio Gigante de Arroyito, Rosario
6 June 1978
West Germany  Flag of Germany.svg 6–0 Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico Estadio Chateau Carreras, Córdoba
Poland  Flag of Poland (1928-1980).svg 1–0 Flag of Tunisia (1959-1999).svg  Tunisia Estadio Gigante de Arroyito, Rosario
10 June 1978
West Germany  Flag of Germany.svg 0–0 Flag of Tunisia (1959-1999).svg  Tunisia Estadio Olímpico Chateau Carreras, Córdoba
Poland  Flag of Poland (1928-1980).svg 3–1 Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico Estadio Gigante de Arroyito, Rosario

Group 3

1Flag of Austria.svg  Austria 320132+14Advance to second round
2Flag of Brazil (1968-1992).svg  Brazil 312021+14
3Flag of Spain (1977-1981).svg  Spain 31112203
4Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 30121321
Source: FIFA
3 June 1978
Austria  Flag of Austria.svg 2–1 Flag of Spain (1977-1981).svg  Spain Estadio José Amalfitani, Buenos Aires
Brazil  Flag of Brazil (1968-1992).svg 1–1 Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden Estadio José Maria Minella, Mar del Plata
7 June 1978
Austria  Flag of Austria.svg 1–0 Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden Estadio José Amalfitani, Buenos Aires
Brazil  Flag of Brazil (1968-1992).svg 0–0 Flag of Spain (1977-1981).svg  Spain Estadio José Maria Minella, Mar del Plata
11 June 1978
Spain  Flag of Spain (1977-1981).svg 1–0 Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden Estadio José Amalfitani, Buenos Aires
Brazil  Flag of Brazil (1968-1992).svg 1–0 Flag of Austria.svg  Austria Estadio José Maria Minella, Mar del Plata

Group 4

1Flag of Peru (state).svg  Peru 321072+55Advance to second round
2Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands 311153+23
3Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland 31115613
4State Flag of Iran (1964).svg  Iran 30122861
Source: FIFA
3 June 1978
Peru  Flag of Peru (state).svg 3–1 Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Estadio Chateau Carreras, Córdoba
Netherlands  Flag of the Netherlands.svg 3–0 State Flag of Iran (1964).svg  Iran Estadio Ciudad de Mendoza, Mendoza
7 June 1978
Scotland  Flag of Scotland.svg 1–1 State Flag of Iran (1964).svg  Iran Estadio Chateau Carreras, Córdoba
Netherlands  Flag of the Netherlands.svg 0–0 Flag of Peru (state).svg  Peru Estadio Ciudad de Mendoza, Mendoza
11 June 1978
Peru  Flag of Peru (state).svg 4–1 State Flag of Iran (1964).svg  Iran Estadio Chateau Carreras, Córdoba
Scotland  Flag of Scotland.svg 3–2 Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands Estadio Ciudad de Mendoza, Mendoza

Second round

Group A

1Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands 321094+55Advance to final
2Flag of Italy.svg  Italy 31112203Advance to third place play-off
3Flag of Germany.svg  West Germany 30214512
4Flag of Austria.svg  Austria 31024842
Source: FIFA
14 June 1978
Austria  Flag of Austria.svg 1–5 Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands Estadio Chateau Carreras, Córdoba
Italy  Flag of Italy.svg 0–0 Flag of Germany.svg  West Germany Estadio Monumental, Buenos Aires
18 June 1978
Netherlands  Flag of the Netherlands.svg 2–2 Flag of Germany.svg  West Germany Estadio Chateau Carreras, Córdoba
Italy  Flag of Italy.svg 1–0 Flag of Austria.svg  Austria Estadio Monumental, Buenos Aires
21 June 1978
Austria  Flag of Austria.svg 3–2 Flag of Germany.svg  West Germany Estadio Chateau Carreras, Córdoba
Italy  Flag of Italy.svg 1–2 Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands Estadio Monumental, Buenos Aires

Group B

1Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina 321080+85Advance to final
2Flag of Brazil.svg  Brazil 321061+55Advance to third place play-off
3Flag of Poland (1928-1980).svg  Poland 31022532
4Flag of Peru (state).svg  Peru 3003010100
Source: FIFA
14 June 1978
Peru  Flag of Peru (state).svg 0–3 Flag of Brazil (1968-1992).svg  Brazil Estadio Ciudad de Mendoza, Mendoza
Argentina  Flag of Argentina.svg 2–0 Flag of Poland (1928-1980).svg  Poland Estadio Gigante de Arroyito, Rosario
18 June 1978
Peru  Flag of Peru (state).svg 0–1 Flag of Poland (1928-1980).svg  Poland Estadio Ciudad de Mendoza, Mendoza
Argentina  Flag of Argentina.svg 0–0 Flag of Brazil (1968-1992).svg  Brazil Estadio Gigante de Arroyito, Rosario
21 June 1978
Poland  Flag of Poland (1928-1980).svg 1–3 Flag of Brazil (1968-1992).svg  Brazil Estadio Ciudad de Mendoza, Mendoza
Argentina  Flag of Argentina.svg 6–0 Flag of Peru (state).svg  Peru Estadio Gigante de Arroyito, Rosario

Knockout stage

Third place play-off

Brazil  Flag of Brazil (1968-1992).svg2–1Flag of Italy.svg  Italy
Nelinho Soccerball shade.svg 64'
Dirceu Soccerball shade.svg 71'
Report Causio Soccerball shade.svg 38'
Estadio Monumental, Buenos Aires
Attendance: 69,659
Referee: Abraham Klein (Israel)


Argentina  Flag of Argentina.svg3–1 (a.e.t.)Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands
Kempes Soccerball shade.svg 38', 105'
Bertoni Soccerball shade.svg 115'
Report Nanninga Soccerball shade.svg 82'
Estadio Monumental, Buenos Aires
Attendance: 71,483
Referee: Sergio Gonella (Italy)


With six goals, Mario Kempes is the top scorer in the tournament. In total, 102 goals were scored by 62 players, with three of them credited as own goals.

3 goals
2 goals
1 goal
Own goals

Players who were sent off during the tournament

FIFA retrospective ranking

In 1986, FIFA published a report that ranked all teams in each World Cup up to and including 1986, based on progress in the competition, overall results and quality of the opposition. [17] [18] The rankings for the 1978 tournament were as follows:

1Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina 1/B 7511154+1111
2Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands 4/A 73221510+58
3Flag of Brazil (1968-1992).svg  Brazil 3/B 7430103+711
4Flag of Italy.svg  Italy 1/A 741296+39
Eliminated in the second group stage
5Flag of Poland (1928-1980).svg  Poland 2/B 63126607
6Flag of Germany.svg  West Germany 2/A 6141105+56
7Flag of Austria.svg  Austria 3/A 6303710−36
8Flag of Peru (state).svg  Peru 4/B 6213712−55
Eliminated in the first group stage
9Flag of Tunisia (1959-1999).svg  Tunisia 2 311132+13
10Flag of Spain (1977-1981).svg  Spain 3 31112203
11Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland 4 311156−13
12Flag of France.svg  France 1 31025502
13Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 3 301213−21
14State Flag of Iran (1964).svg  Iran 4 301228−61
15Flag of Hungary.svg  Hungary 1 300338−50
16Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico 2 3003212−100


  1. 1 2 "1978 FIFA World Cup Argentina - Awards". FIFA.com. Fédération Internationale de Football Association. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  2. Pablo Llonto, "I Mondiali della vergogna. I campionati di Argentina '78 e la dittatura"("The World Cup of the Shame. Argentina '78 and the dictatorship"), Edizioni Alegre, Rome 2010, p. 38.
  3. "1978 FIFA World Cup Argentina™ Preliminaries". FIFA.
  4. Winner, David (21 June 2008). "But Was This The Beautiful Game's Ugliest Moment?". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 11 June 2010. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
  5. McDonnell, Patrick J. (28 June 2008). "Argentina's bittersweet win". LA Times. Retrieved 7 April 2010.
  6. Doyle, Paul (16 April 2008). "Kidnappers made Cruyff miss World Cup". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 20 June 2008.
  7. 1 2 3 Hersey, Will (16 June 2018). "Remembering Argentina 1978: The Dirtiest WOrld Cup of All Time". Esquire.
  8. Spurling, Jon (March 11, 2016). "Argentina's 1978 World Cup Run: The Ugly Truth".
  9. 1 2 "El capitán de Perú en el 78: 'Pongo la mano en el fuego por mis compañeros'" (in Spanish). El Mundo.
  10. "Keeping the Dark Side of Soccer Away From the City of Light". New York Times.
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  12. The Independent (15 March 1995). "Bungs and bribes football can't kick this habit". London.
  13. Roper, Matt (9 February 2012). "Peru senator claims 1978 World Cup game against Argentina was rigged". London: Daily Mail.
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