Argentina ’78 | The Tournament That Should Never Have Been Played

(Posted on 18/05/18)

Argentina 1978, a World Cup that should have continued the long legacy of the greatest sport in the world, but for some will forever be remembered as the World Cup that should never have taken place.

 

Perhaps one of football’s darkest secrets and one that shook the game to it’s core both off and on the field, Argentina’s first win should have been celebrated, but instead has been tarnished across the globe.

 

In the 1970’s Argentina was by many a nation in the spotlight for it’s political regime and blatant human rights violations. Following a military coo in the country two years before the tournament, under the dictatorship of General Jorge Rafael Videla, a man who claimed as many lives as possible should be lost for ‘Argentina to be secure’ – he went on to hand the trophy to them at the end of the tournament.

 

Brazil had dominated the World Cup scene for over a decade and for Argentina this was troubling to see, the country breathed football and to win the tournament would have been the pinnacle for any Argentine, sadly it was also seen as a political tool to extend a barbaric regime and spill more blood on South American soil.

 

Far before the time of Maradona, the host nation were destined to win the competition from the start, with evidence suggesting that referee’s and officials were threatened to be favourable to them, whilst Argentine striker Leopoldo Luque was told by political figures that with Italy and France to play that this would become a ‘group of death, as far as you are concerned’.

 

Some have alleged that the squad was loaded with amphetamines before the matches and had to warm down after the game for two hours.

 

Some magic was shown at the World Cup that year, but it’s overshadowed one particular act of treachery. Peru faced La Celeste y blanca with the latter needing to win by four clear goals. It’s alleged that Peruvian officials were abducted and as the story goes the side agreed to throw the match, it ended 6-0.

Year on year these allegations see more information revealed and it was clear from the offset that although 16 teams competed, there was only ever to be one winner, before a ball was kicked.

 

It’s far from the beauty of the game, perhaps one of it’s darkest and most disturbing secrets. The World Cup is a wonderful thing, just look at the moments we’ve seen before whether it’s the German Machine, Pele’s brilliance or the boys of ’66.

 

This tournament was a mark on it’s game, but nothing will stop us from continuing our love or significance of the greatest show on earth, we still escape the real world for four weeks, we sing the anthem loud, wear three lions on our shirt, admire the greatest players for our generation and sift through our sticker albums.

 

Political influence has no part in the game, and 40 years on FIFA has been outed for some of their crimes, the game needs to be cleaned up but all the while every shot, pass and passionate roar overshadows and overcomes those dark corners.

 

This is the first part of a six part series of the good the bad and the ugly of the World Cup as he head to Russia 2018, from Roger Miller’s hips and Ronaldinho's flicks, gear up for it all here.

 

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