The story of the 1978 World Cup
Between now and the start of the World Cup, we are looking back at previous tournaments with the help of some of the key characters and the BBC's archive footage. Today, there's Austria's greatest moment and Archie's artistry.
Argentina, June 1978
Set against a backdrop of political uncertainty and shorn of the illuminating genius of the world's finest footballer in Johan Cruyff, the 11th staging of the World Cup was perhaps the most controversial of them all.
That it ended with a fairytale first victory for the hosts Argentina remains the subject of contention to this day, with the suggestion the country's military dictatorship aided the team's triumph continuing to cast a regrettable shadow over their achievement.
As four-goal striker Leopoldo Luque said many years later: "With what I know now, I can't say I'm proud of my victory. But I didn't realise; most of us didn't. We just played football." It is perhaps the only World Cup win that causes unease among the victors. "There is no doubt that we were used politically," added Ricky Villa.
What the players didn't realise was the scale of Argentine president General Jorge Rafael Videla's so-called 'Dirty War'. Allegations of human rights violations and 'forced disappearances' were widespread, and together with protest groups like the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, it engulfed Argentina in a very negative publicity.
Even the football world was not immune, with General Omar Actis, chairman of the World Cup organising committee, assassinated before the competition had begun - allegedly because he was set to speak out about escalating costs of the tournament.
There nearly wasn't a World Cup at all as the Netherlands led calls for a boycott, but Videla avoided the potential embarrassment by guaranteeing there would be no bloodshed during the competition. However, three-time European Footballer of the Year Johan Cruyff and West Germany's Paul Breitner both refused to take part, with Cruyff only revealing his real - non-political - reasons for not travelling 30 years after the event.
But for General Videla and his junta the tournament injected a wave of nationalist pride in a country that was being tormented from within, as the World Cup shifted the focus away from the atrocities.
During the tournament, controversy was everywhere: Welsh referee Clive Thomas blew the final whistle in Brazil's game with Sweden just as Zico was heading in, Scotland's Willie Johnston was sent home for taking a banned stimulant, and, needing to win their final second round game 4-0 against Peru to reach the final, Argentina romped to a 6-0 victory that some still believe was fixed.
The fact that Peru goalkeeper Ramon 'El Loco' Quiroga was born in Argentina did nothing to dispel rumours of a pre-arranged deal, but Luque says it is impossible to tell what really happened. "I don't know, honestly," he said two years ago. "But Videla did many bad things, much worse than bribing, so... But, we did play a tremendous game against Peru."
In amongst all the mayhem, prolific Austrian striker Hans Krankl was busy writing his name into his nation's folklore. Pitched into a group with Spain, Sweden and Brazil, the Austrians amazed even themselves by winning the group thanks to Krankl winners in their first two games.
"I think it was the greatest Austrian team of all time," the 57-year-old told me over a crackling phone line from Italy. "Qualifying after only two games was incredible. Imagine that group, with Austria coming first. Normally it's impossible in football for this to happen, but in 1978 it was true, a dream that came true."
Yet the greatest moment for Austria, Krankl and a new band of admirers that included Barcelona - who he joined after the tournament - was still to come. Defeats against the Netherlands and Italy in the second group stage meant they were already out going into their last game with holders West Germany, but their neighbours and arch-rivals still had a slim chance of getting to the final.
Krankl has fond memories of a match that would become known as the 'Miracle of Cordoba'. "The greatest ambition of all for Austrians was beating West Germany," he said. "In 47 years it had not happened and to be honest we did not think we could beat them, because we are just their little brother. But somehow we made that dream come true too.
"I was lucky enough to score the 88th-minute winner and it was the greatest moment of my life. In Austria, people still speak about this game and will be doing so in 50 years. It's like 1966 for England - it wasn't a game for one lifetime, it was a game for three lifetimes, for 200 years, for eternity.
"In Austria the commentary by Edi Finger is played over and over again. Before Euro 2008 a keyring was made in my country and if you pushed a button you could hear it. But I never get bored of the commentary. It's from the heart, it's full of emotion and it sums up how a nation felt at that moment."
Goals were flying in from everywhere, with many of them spectacular. Archie Gemmill's solo run and finish for Scotland against the Netherlands started the feast, with Arie Haan's 40-yard screamer for the Dutch against Italy and Nelinho's physics-defying curler from the right wing that arched past a disbelieving Dino Zoff similarly worthy of superlatives.
Gemmill's moment of magic - a slaloming run through the Dutch defence that ended with a beautifully composed finish past Jan Jongbloed - is rightly considered one of the finest World Cup goals of all time. It was also the highlight of the tournament for a side that once again flattered to deceive on the biggest stage, failing to qualify from their group despite manager Ally MacLeod predicting the Scots would return from Argentina with "at least a medal".
Haan's wonder strike, meanwhile, was enough to earn the Dutch their second successive World Cup final berth where, despite the conspiracy theorists being out in force after the hosts' demolition of Peru, they were destined to meet Argentina.
As the ticker tape rained down on the Estadio Monumental pitch in Buenos Aires prior to kick-off on 25 June, the drama that had engulfed the tournament took another twist. Argentina's players, desperate for any advantage they could find, objected to a bandage worn by the Dutch winger Rene van de Kerkhof on his right arm and the start was delayed.
Italian referee Sergio Gonella was initially indecisive and the Dutch players, in an atmosphere Johnny Rep later described as "boiling", threatened to walk off. Van de Kerkhof was eventually asked to return to the dressing-room and add another layer of padding, even though he had worn the same plaster in the previous five Dutch games.
The contest itself was brutal. Gonella failed to exercise any control as the tackles went flying in and the 50-50 decisions seemed to mostly fall in favour of Argentina. Just before half-time Mario Kempes fired them ahead, only for Dirk Nanninga to head home a leveller eight minutes from time.
With seconds left the Netherlands' five-goal top scorer Rob Rensenbrink rolled a shot against the post and when the game went into extra-time, Kempes struck his sixth of the competition to pip Rensenbrink to the Golden Boot, before Daniel Bertoni rolled in to wrap it up and send the Monumental into ecstasy.
As Rensenbrink later said: "If the trajectory of my shot had been five centimetres different, we would have been world champions. On top of that, I would have been crowned top scorer and perhaps chosen as the best player of the tournament - all in the same match. That's why I keep things in perspective."
Argentina became the fifth host nation to win the World Cup. But with their campaign clouded in controversy from start until finish, history is unlikely to look upon them with the same fondness as it does so many of the other champions. "In hindsight, we should never have played that World Cup," admitted Luque. "I strongly believe that."
Let me know your recollections from Argentina '78. On Friday, we look back at the iconic moments of Spain '82 with the help of a Scottish legend.