The 1978 World Cup was held in Argentina, with the host nation proudly winning the World Cup on their own soil while wearing their favorite shirt. Interestingly, Luis Menotti didn’t call up then 17-year old Diego Maradona for this competition. The youngster earned the admiration of a wider Argentine audience while playing for Argentinos Juniors, but Menotti stood firm in his decision.
However, he did call-up Mario Kempes, who ended up being the best player and scorer of the tournament. Kempes did it by playing in Maradona’s favorite No. 10 position as a free-roaming playmaker behind the offensive line. What made this World Cup even sweeter for the Argentinians is that Gauchos knocked Brazil out of the competition as they leveraged the first position in the group in the second round, directly qualifying for the final, while Brazil had to settle for third-place playoffs.
A big 6-0 win against Peru saw Argentinians with better goal difference than Brazilians, who “only” scored three past Poland. The final match against a very strong Netherlands team went to extra time, where Kempes and Bertoni scored the winning goals, beating the Netherlands 3-1 thus winning the World Cup in Argentina.
Notable Players: Mario Kempes, Américo Gallego, Norberto Alonso, Luis Galván, Alberto Tarantini
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