Argentina - Netherlands World Cup Final 1978

The 1978 World Cup was played in Argentina. The tournament was won by the host nation, led by Diego Maradona, who scored the winning goal in their final against the Netherlands. The Dutch team had reached the final after beating Italy 3-1 in the semi-final on neutral ground in Milan. In the group stage, they had finished second behind Italy after beating Scotland and attracting a goalless draw with the Italians. This was a very balanced match between two well-prepared teams playing their best game at this point of the tournament. The Dutch team was playing with an attacking 4-3-3 formation while Argentina used a more cautious 4-5-1 system. Both teams were organized defensively and created few chances until midway through the second half when Netherlands striker Jimmy Kalderman came off the bench to score twice and give his team a narrow victory.

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Maradona took the Fifa Player of the Year award and World Cup Golden Ball award

Although there were many players who played a great game and were the key players in their team’s victory, Maradona was given the award for Best Player of the Tournament. He was also awarded the Golden Ball, which is given to the World Cup’s best player. He scored 5 goals in the tournament and created 3 goals too. He was the captain of the Argentina team that won the World Cup. The Argentine team was a very strong team and had many strong players like Mario Kempes, Sergio Batista, Daniel Passarella, Daniel Bertoni, Jorge Carrascosa, and Osvaldo Ardiles. But Maradona was the one who led the team to victory and was seen as the face of the tournament.

The game

The Netherlands had only scored five goals in their previous six games, and their lack of creativity against Argentina's tight defense looked like it was going to cost them again. The game was goalless at halftime, and it was Argentina who had the better chances to score. But the Dutch had a great chance in the 38th minute when Argentine goalkeeper Ubaldo Fillol had to leave the game after injuring himself while kicking the ball away. His replacement was no less than the legendary goalkeeper Hugo 'El Chico' Sotil, who had been a hero in all previous Argentine wins. The Dutch had put great pressure on their opponents from the beginning of the second half, but their lack of precision inside the penalty area had denied them any goals. As the game went into extra time, the Dutch team seemed to have run out of ideas and the game was heading towards a penalty shootout. But the Dutch managed to break through with just five minutes to go in the game.


The Netherlands had finished second in their group behind Italy and had not conceded a goal in the tournament until facing Argentina. The Dutch coaches had decided to play with a 4-3-3 system, using three defenders and three midfielders who could also play in the defense if needed. They had a very balanced team with a good midfield and two fast and skillful wing-backs. Their striker, Willi Lodden, had scored two goals in the group stage and was the leading scorer at this point of the tournament. The Dutch team had been very cautious during the group stage, and they had managed to contain Brazil and Scotland. Against Italy, they had moved to a more attacking 4-2-4 system, finishing the game 3-1.

Key moments

The Dutch defense was broken in the 93rd minute when the Argentine midfielder Hugo Morales found the net with a great shot from the edge of the penalty area. But the goal was disallowed after the referee heard a whistle from the stands telling him to stop the game. This was the second time during the match that a referee had been impeded by fans. The Dutch team then pressed forward as the game went into extra time, with striker Jimmy Kalderman replacing defender Wim Jansen. Kalderman scored in the 110th minute with a header from a left-wing cross. After being goalless for so long, the final had now seen two goals in the last three minutes of the game.

Maradona’s famous goal was voted Goal of the Century

Maradona’s first goal in the match was a very controversial one. He received a pass from Jorge Burruchaga and was running towards the goal with the ball. He was almost in the goal area when he moved his right hand towards the ball. The ball touched his hand and went straightly into the goal. In normal circumstances, the referee would have given him a penalty, but he let it go and gave him a goal. People say that this is one of the greatest goals in the history of football. This goal was voted the ‘Goal of the Century. This goal is also the last one that was scored with the old-style ball. FIFA replaced the Jabulani ball with a new one for the 2010 World Cup.