On Wednesday night (Thursday morning for me) Argentina will take on to the field at the Arena Corinthians in what could be the most important game in 24 years against the Netherlands. It’s not the first time that we will play a crucial match against the Dutch so here’s a look back on our previous meetings.
Probably the one might least think of is perhaps our first meeting in Gelsenkirchen, Germany 1974. At the time when Total Voetbal was at its peak, Johan CRUYFF and Co, ripped us apart 4-0 with two goals from the Dutch maestro and one each from Ruud KROL and Jonny REP.
Another meeting that we might not want to think about is from France 1998 when both sides met at the quarter final stage in Marseille. Patrick KLUIVERT scored first blood for the Oranje, while Claudio LOPEZ equalized for Argentina.
I’m sure we all can remember Gabriel BATISTUTA hitting the woodwork and as we thought the match as going into extra time; Dennis BERGKAMP broke our heart by scoring the winning goal for the Dutch in the last minute (gotta admit it was a fantastic finishing by any means).
Eight years later, both sides meet again in a meaningless group match; again in Germany but this time in Frankfurt. Only Roberto AYALA and Edwin VAN DER SAAR were in the starting eleven for their respective teams in 1998. The match ended in a goalless draw.
Of course how could I’ve missed out the most important one for sure and our only win against them; which is why I saved the best for last.
The match took place on the 25th of June 1978 at the Estadio Monumental in Buenos Aires, where both teams were playing in their second World Cup Final with a chance of winning it for the first time!
Four years after being hammered by the Dutch, this was the perfect setting for a payback. Only two players were involved in that match for Argentina four years ago. Rene HOUSEMAN was in the starting line-up while Mario KEMPES came out as substitute; in 1978 it was vice versa
While the Dutch side still had the core team from 1974 with the likes of Jan JONGBLOED, Arie HAAN, Wim JANSEN, Ruud KROL, Johan NEESKENS, Rob RENSENBRINK, Johnny REP and also the VEN DE KERKHOF twins; Rene and Willy.
One think I must say in terms of scenery, this final was the most spectacular as you can see from the non-stop of confetti and rolls of receipts being pouring from the terrace. The view was simple majestic.
KEMPES gave Argentina the lead in the 35th minute. However with 5 minutes before the final whistle, substitute Dick NANINGGA equalized for the Dutch to force the game to extra time.
Argentina was back in front again, from who else but KEMPES in the 105th minute. That was his sixth goal which automatically makes the tournament leading scorer. There was no comeback this time from the Dutch as Daniel BERTONI makes 3-1 for Argentina in the 115th minute.
Fans were seen running into the pitch to celebrate with their heroes and one of which was captured in this photo which I became an iconic photograph in World Cup history. It was dubbed as “Soul’s Embrace”. Watch this following video made by Coca Cola which will tell you the story behind that celebration.
With that said, here’s hoping that the Beard will grant us another four days of celebration!