Friday, April 20, 2012

Was the 1978 World Cup in Argentina fixed?

Daniel Passarella lifts the cup
On 25 June 1978 Argentines sang their lungs out in celebration of their national team’s victory over the Netherlands at the World Cup final in Buenos Aires. There was a controversial start to the final. The Dutch side was forced to stand around on the pitch waiting for Argentina, who used stalling tactics, to emerge from the dressing room five minutes late. But after the typically unpunctual Argentine arrival, the home side won the match 3-1 after goals from Mario Kempes and Daniel Bertoni took the game away from the Netherlands in extra time.

The tournament, and especially the victory, sparked nationalist pride. The euphoria engulfed Argentina and helped its military dictator, General Jorge Videla, draw attention away from the atrocities which his government was committing at the time of what is known as Argentina’s Dirty War.