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In Daniel Passarella, Osvaldo Ardiles and Mario Kempes, top scorer with six goals, they had outstanding players. They beat the Dutch 3-1 after extra time in the final.
A long-awaited success
Rarely has the run-up to a World Cup been so filled
with controversy as the 11th tournament, held in Argentina. Football, in
fact, took a back seat as the powers that be debated whether or not to
boycott the tournament in protest against General Videla's totalitarian
regime and its violation of human rights. Finally, however, despite a widespread
call to stay away, the world's footballing nations all made the trip to
Argentina. All, that is, except those that had failed to qualify, such
as England (for the second time running), Yugoslavia and the USSR. Other
"minor" footballing nations such as Iran and Tunisia had their first outings
and France was back in the world's top football competition after twelve
years in the wilderness.
In the other second round group, meanwhile, there was a much tougher struggle between Argentina and Brazil. With the host nation needing to beat Peru in its last game by at least four clear goals, the Brazilians, for a time at least, seemed to have booked their berth in the final. But contrary to all expectations, Passarella and his team-mates put no less than six goals past the Peruvians, including two by Mario Kempes.
This goal avalanche raised eyebrows among even the most casual of observers. In the final, however, Cesar Luis Menotti's men were worthy winners (3-1 after extra-time) over a Dutch side out of sorts again at the final hurdle. Argentina had attained its goal, and in the streets the celebrations could begin?nbsp;
Mario Kempes "A great team effort"
Although Argentina's victory can be put down to the solid team feeling that existed between the players, the talent of one man, Mario Kempes, was also a deciding factor. Like his team-mates, Kempes, no. 10 for the sky blue and whites, began the tournament in low-key fashion, and only found his best form at the very end. But that was when it really counted. On top of a World Cup winners' medal, Kempes also came away from the tournament with the coveted title of top goalscorer, hitting the net six times.
Sources: FIFA Archives; CFO France 98; Ian Morrison: The World Cup - A Complete Record 1930-1990. Breedon Books, Derby (UK) 1990.; John Robinson: Soccer - The World Cup 1930-1998. Soccer Books Limited, Lincolnshire (UK) 1998