In 1978, the two biggest events happened in Argentina. One was the Hockey World Cup in Buenos Aires in March, and another was the Football World Cup Tournament in June.
Origin Of An Attack
During the Hockey World Cup, the Pakistan team led by Islahuddin showed a technically skilled game of attack. The team had grabbed the crowd’s attention. But, it was the magic of Pakistan team manager, Abdul Waheed Khan, who brought this attacking mindset into their game.
On a rest day in between the schedule, Abdul Waheed Khan was informed that the Argentina Football Team Manager arrived on his plane to meet him.
Meeting of Two Tactical Minds
Argentina football team manager Cesar Luis Menotti was closely following the Pakistan Hockey Team’s skillful game. He was intrigued by their tactics during matches. A man always carrying smoke in his hand, was in favor of an attacking mindset based on technique and stylishly skillful games. He wanted to understand the tactics of penetrating a packed opposition defense in detail. Menotti watched one of the training sessions with Abdul Waheed Khan.
The Tactics and The Skills
It was the concept of a Double Attack, and Pakistan was using this strategy in a very effective way. If a move from the left side fails, then make the possible effort to take the attack to the right side. Controlling the defensive wall of the opponent.
The other strategy was the Use of Wingers. If it is getting difficult to pass through the defense from the middle. It is a winger, who will start attacking from the side to cross the ball into the opposition’s danger zone.
The team formation was set in such a way that if one player misses the ball, another player is there to back him. It is essential to make continuous passes from the right wing to the middle to the left wing. To create a gap in the opposition’s defense. Then attack at the right moment, when the striker is free to penetrate inside their half.
Menotti noted every aspect of Pakistan’s team game and applied it to Argentina’s team tactics just before the world cup.
Football World Cup 1978
- Argentina started their campaign with a 2-1 win against Hungary in a group-stage match. After getting 1-0 down in the 9th minute, Left Striker Leopoldo Luque scored the equalizer in the 14th minute.
- Winger Daniel Bertoni scored in the 83rd minute to seal the win.
- The very next match was against France. Argentina won against them in style with a 2-1 score. Argentina Captain Daniel Passarella provided them the lead by scoring a penalty just before the half-time. France equalized in the 61st minute of the 2nd half. But, Left Striker Leopoldo Luque scored the winning goal.
- They lost their last group-stage match against Italy but qualified for the next round.
- Argentina’s team started their next round with a clean sheet win against Poland by 2-0. Right Striker Mario Kempes scored both goals.
- Now they were against Brazil. Brazil was one of the best-attacking teams in the tournament. But, Argentina managed to draw the match without any goal scored.
- The third match was a must-win game for Argentina. They performed like that with a 6-0 win against Peru. Both strikers, Mario Kempes and Leopoldo Luque scored 2-2 goals from those six.
Argentina reached the finals against the Netherlands.
The Netherlands reached the finals without losing a single game in the tournament. Argentina and Netherlands played an intense match. Mario Kempes scored the 1st goal in the 38th minute of the game.
Argentina was so close to their world cup win. Just then, Netherlands Dick Nanninga scored the equalizer in the 82nd minute.
The game went to extra time. It was Mario Kempes, who after trespassing 4 defenders and the goalkeeper scored his and the team’s 2nd goal of the match in the 105th minute.
Winger Daniel Bertoni, who scored the winning goal in their 1st match against Hungary. He scored the last goal of the tournament in the 115th minute to seal the deal.
Argentina won the Football World Cup for the first time in 1978. Captain Danial Passarella lifted the trophy.
After the world cup, Cesar Luis Menotti sent a telegram to Abdul Waheed Khan to acknowledge the Pakistan Hockey team’s tactics and strategy that helped them in winning the football world cup.
Pakistan also won the Hockey World Cup tournament beating Netherlands 3-2 under the manager Abdul Waheed Khan. He also had played hockey for Pakistan from 1960 to 1966. He was part of the Pakistan hockey team that won their first gold medal at the Rome Olympics in 1960. Abdul Waheed Khan was Pakistan’s one great centre-forward, who set the trend of falling back in the need for defence.
Argentina’s player played with the same tactics. Helping each other out in their time of need as a team, and the efforts resulted in winning their first world cup.