Saturday, July 5, 2014

1978 - Brutal dictator steals the world cup.

In 1978 I saw my very first football match on television. I cannot remember whether it was in black and white or in colour, but it was a memorable experience for me as a little kid. Not in the least because my parents, always strict with bed-time, let me stay up way past my bed time. I understood that somehow, this football match was so important, my parents wanted me to see it.

It was the 1978 World Cup Final between Argentina (hosts) and the Netherlands. In the very last minute of the game, the Netherlands were oh so close to being crowned world champion. But the goal post was unforgiving. The conditions under the junta regime were atrocious. This also resonated on the field. From wikipedia: "During the game, the referees repeatedly ignored Argentine players running off side for up to 10 meters and catching the ball with their hands." The Dutch players feared for their lives, because of the hostile atmosphere in the stadium, and a military junta that demanded a win.

It will not bring back the victims from the regime, but: This Wednesday, the Netherlands can have their sporting revanche. It will be 36 years late, but it will taste so sweet. This time, General Videla will not be here to rig the results, Argentina. Hup! Holland, Hup!