Top 100 World Cup Moments (From the Aussie P.O.V.): 45-Peru Lay Down for Argentina (1978)


Now Argentina in 1978 wasn’t a fun place to be if you were a bit of a lefty and in to free speech. The military junta in place was happily tying people up with piano wire and making young up starts go missing when the World Cup arrived in the middle of that year.

In the first round the hosts had taken all before them and were through to the second round to face Peru, Brazil and the Poles. A 2-0 win over Poland and a tense 0-0 draw with Brazil meant it all came down to the final match between Peru and Argentina to see who would face the Dutch who were in to their second final in a row.

Peru were no easy beats in this cup as they had topped the group that had Holland in it and featured some of their greatest players of all time like Cubillas and Obilitas. With the matches not at the same time Brazil (of course) played first in the final round of games against Poland and won 3-1 to a double by Roberto Dinamite (what a name!) and Nelinho. This meant that Argentina were up next and knew they had to get a win by more than six goals to get through.

Now this is where the story gets a little dodgy.

There was the fact that Argentina were the hosts and Ramón Quiroga, Peru’s keeper at the 1978 World Cup, was born in Argentina. We can discuss at length whether he was bribed to concede a great many goals in this crucial match or whether it was in fact his back line who were offered a large sum of money to run around like headless chickens, but instead of discussing these issues let’s just agree they were all very soft goals conceded by Peru and Brazil’s dream of reaching the World Cup Final in the backyard of their arch rivals was over.

Dodgy? No! Of Course not! Argentina went on to win the World Cup against Holland after sending a very bitter and sulking Brazil home but then again they had every reason to be. The loss had the fingerprints of the regime all over it but nothing was ever proven, how can it? This alleged injustice was only second to the 1982 furor that involved West Germany and Austria fixing a game. One of the more dodgy memories of the tournament but a memorable one none the less that perhaps coloured Argentina’s first ever triumph.

About Dennis Gedling

RTR FM Presenter. Glory Guerrillas Producer and Co-Host. Contributer to Football Nation Radio and Football West. Worships at the feet of the mighty Cats, Socceroos, Matildas, West Perth, Glory and Glasgow's Green and White most of the time.

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