The 1978 World Cup, hosted and won by Argentina, has always had that shroud of injustice, and worst, around it. The military Junta that took over the country two years earlier probably threw its weight in favor of Mario Kempes’ trophy winning side, but the testimony of a Peruvian Senator may shed some new light and even give the trophy to the Netherlands.
There’s more than just one thing in question about the ’78 World Cup. All of Argentina’s group matches were played at night, so they would know what their rivals did previously. But there’s one match that over the years, and even back then, drew more suspicion than all the others, the 6-0 win over Peru.
The former Senator, Genaro Ledesma, said that a deal was struck between Peru’s president Francisco Bermudez and Argentina’s dictator Jorge Videla. The Junta would release 13 Peruvian citizens under arrest and over benefits. A large grain shipment delivered by Argentina to Peru, allegedly in exchange for the victory. Peru’s Argentinian born goalkeeper was another reason for the allegations to spread.
Although many voices in Argentina still claim there were no wrong doings during that 1978 summer, at least one of the members of that winning team has had his doubts about the righteousness of their victory. Leopoldo Luque said that none of them can be proud about how Argentina won that trophy.
Some people in the Netherlands, like Ruud Krol, are already waiting for FIFA, who have begun an investigation regarding the alleged events in the 1978 World Cup, more than 30 years too late, are waiting for justice to be done and get the trophy, a bit late, delivered to Europe. The Netherlands lost 3-1 in the Final.
In my opinion, there shouldn’t be awards for teams that didn’t win it on the pitch. Argentina, according to all accounts, did cheat their way to the first world cup trophy they won. Nothing like Maradona’s handball, which is cheating as well, but not in the same magnitude of buying a game. He just did something many players try, and didn’t get caught. Allegations from the 1990 world cup, of putting a drug in water bottles of the Brazilian players, eventually don’t matter because Argentina didn’t win the trophy.
The Netherlands don’t deserve to get a trophy. They didn’t win it on the pitch, just like Inter shouldn’t have gotten one of the titles removed from Juventus’ records. Having an empty name next to champions is a better solution, to a World Cup that shouldn’t have gotten to Argentina in the first place.