Alternate FIFA World Cup - Argentina '78 (24 teams not 16)

President Frondizi ended his Term...and then what?
It’s worker’s day, May 1st, 1970. The constitutional president, Lt General Pedro E. Aramburu, ends his six year term. Three months before had been the first presidential Elections with Peronism allowed competing since 1955, and for the first time since then, a peronist became President. The “moderate” Jorge Daniel Paladino (1) is elected for 1970-1976 period, a six year term establish by the 1853 National Constitution, re-established in 1957.

His partner is a lifetime anti peronist, who became part in the so called (and failed) Revolution of 1951, against Perón, and the reason he spent 4 years in a prison in Ushuaia; is General Alejandro Agustin Lanusse. Since 1966 President Aramburu’s Secretary of Defence and had close ties with him, not only friendship but ideologically from at least November 1955, when Lanusse, chief of Granaderos, supported Aramburu to succeed Lonardi. Lanusse kept the Army under control, neutralizing nationalists and the most hard liners anti-peronist men, during second half of the ‘60s, and supporting the gradualism in Aramburu’s plan to “reintroduce” peronism into political life.

Aramburu prearranged Lanusse as his successor but the needs of a new civil president, an agreement with Perón, and certain political circumstances sideways with the popular mood and social conflicts, along with Peron’s ability at negotiation table, invert the roles and that was the reason why Paladino was appointed as President.

Eventually, Lanusse was chosen as Paladino’s VP candidate, because of his leading conditions into the Army, and his anti peronist past, vital to kept aside any kind of resistance against Aramburu’s apertures to Peron and his acolytes.

Besides, Aramburu’s last year at the Office saw the beginning of isolated terrorists’ actions, as the attack against some guards in Campo de Mayo, and many violent demonstrations in several provinces. May ’68 in France, leftist turn of many members of Catholic Church after Medellin Conference, and Cuba’s support to Latin American guerrillas, as part of Cold War strategy, made noise in Argentina, and that was found of concern for Armed Forces, business men, elements of Catholic Church and even peronist trade unions. All led the way to appoint to General Lanusse as vice-president.

Moslty Taken From "Que hubiera pasado si...." By Rosendo Fraga - Editorial Vergara - 2008.

Back to the past…1962….

Aramburu came to office due his victory at the 1964 presidential elections, succeeding Arturo Frondizi, who never recovered properly of March, 1962 crisis, when hardly survived to be overthrown by a military coup. Aramburu’s role was key to Frondizi’s surviving, as he was appointed as Minister of Interior, creating a “national unity” cabinet to allow Frondizi to end his presidential term, although in a weak position.

Early in 1963, President Frondizi launched to his Minister, General Aramburu, as presidential candidate to neutralize any kind of tensions or coup attempts assuming “peronism is back” to do so, like in March 1962. That was something that Frondizi contemplated from as earlier as 1960 to shield himself. Also he recognized the role Aramburu had in 1958, when he gave power after elections, despite heavy pressure from the Navy, and antiperonists civilian and army sectors.

Amidst the political crisis due Andres Framini’s victory, a peronist and textile trade unionist, in that March 1962, four provinces took by peronist parties were intervened, even Buenos Aires. Representing the Army, the Secretary of War proposed not to make any intervention of two provinces won by “neoperonists”, Salta and Neuquén, and not to close the Congress as the Navy wanted. Aramburu, as appointed Minister on March, 27, executed this political plan.

Aramburu, as presidential candidate, created some resistance to Frondizi inside his party UCRI. But President Frondizi was able to dominate them when the vice-presidency slot could be filled with UCRI candidates, as well as the term for Governor of Buenos Aires. That province, along with the other three intervened provinces, chose their authorities in February 1964. Oscar Alende returned, that way, as Buenos Aires Governor, pushing UCRI towards Aramburu, who had as a VP partner to Afredo Vitolo, former Minister prior March 1962. Conservatives from other provinces, Christian Democracy, and neoperonists parties from Salta and Neuquén backed Aramburu and UCRI. Vicente Solano Lima’s Popular Conservatism obtained vice governor candidacy at Alberto Fonrouge hands, together with Alende. That’s why Perón released some votes in favour to Aramburu- Vitolo, in Buenos Aires, despite, and officially the posture was VOTE IN WHITE. Nevertheless only one of four peronist heard Peron’s instructions, as happened in 1957 and 1958.

Against this winning formula, Ricardo Balbin from UCR had little chances, as six years before.

Argentinian economy had a sustained growing path, especially during second half of the ‘60s; his Economy minister was Adalberto Krieger Vasena, who was a minor part of his team in economic affairs during Aramburu’s defacto government after anti Perón’s coup. Now as his Economy Minister, had a GDP growth of 6% annual from 1966 a 1970, public debt reduced in almost a 40% and international reserves grew U$S 1 billion (or 1000 millions, if you wanted) (in 1969 dollars) (2)

Before 1966 elections, Aramburu established a dialogue channel with Perón through emissaries, and peronism is allowed to compete in wide range under “Unión Popular” banner, for governor in 19 of 22 provinces and for renewing half of the Congress. Because Buenos Aires province is not into the game, peronist triumphs became not so alarmists, and neoperonist parties became blossoming in other provinces as result.

In 1968 elections, Unión Popular presented as candidate to BsAs, to Jorge Daniel Paladino, Peron’s personal emissary for dialoguing with Aramburu, in chats that are of public domain from a little time before that. Paladino’s victory was not that traumatic as Framini’s one during Frondizi’s days. Antiperonism has lost edge, and peronism had moderated itself in great part.

Paladino’s brief administration in Buenos Aires was equilibrated, and had a good economic moment, faced firmly to radicalized sectors of his party. His presidential candidacy, supported as well as for Aramburu and Frondizi, backed for a prestigious general as VP, as Lanusse, it’s a political synthesis of that Argentina: a civil and a military, peronist and anti peronist.

Despite the gamble, Peron’s reason was about too much about fearing CGT secretary Vandor’s growing prestige, eclipsed him for the control of peronism and could be able to took himself negotiation power in front of Aramburu and Lanusse’s eyes. From that time, Peron had almost 15 years in exile. The gamble was aimed to discipline to his trade union allies as well.

President Paladino 1970 - 1976

Paladino’s presidency was not an easy one, the guerrilla which appeared in Aramburu’s last days, became stronger at early ‘70s. The government reacts with the creation of a Special Trial Forums( 3), which among 1971 and 1975, arrested and put into trial to almost a thousand guerrilla men. In 1973, Juan Domingo Perón returned to the country, and Paladino as president and Lanusse as VP, gave him back his military grade as General. Perón condemned guerrilla and to this minuscule leftist sector of his party. He died a year later, receiving a state honour funeral.

In late 1974, when rumours about next president candidates started, guerrilla was reduced and dominated, like in Brazil and in cost of human lives a lot less comparing to Chile.

The year 1975 was highly marked by discussions into the government; Peronists, now in power, wanted more space for themselves, as usual. Actually they wanted it all. But former anti peronists, now “non peronist”, didn’t want to stretch their portion, acting more like a dam. This affected the national economy a little more, still in aching due oil crisis. Trade unionist toughened their demands, but didn’t launch a “national strike” because the president, after all, was peronist. Provincial elections, marked several peronist formulas in triumph, which helped to persuade everyone that next presidential formula must be 100% peronist. But not any peronist.

Negotiations between Army, led by VP Lanusse and new Army Chief, General Leandro Anaya; along with trade union bosses, Lorenzo Miguel, and CGT’s General Secretary, Jose Ignacio Rucci. From that, consensus formula will be Angel Federico Robledo for President – Italo Luder for VP; both have excellent relationship with syndical power and militar power and industrial managers. Although Lorenzo Miguel would rather prefer Luder, eventually Robledo was appointed because he was Defence Minister from 1970 to 1974, and suggested to that charge by Perón himself.

Robledo – Luder defeated UCR formula Balbín - De La Rúa, but in ballotage, because in first round they didn’t reach 45% and difference between them is no more than 10% and the electors cannot conciliate and aren’t enough to proclaim them winners. That way, peronism made their worst election in history, but eventually they won, again. Robledo, as new president, name UCR people in second and third line of the government, and some socialists, in a facto alliance with radicals, a facto alliance that would no longer exist by 1980..

After 1974-75 economic emergencies, due oil crisis, Argentinian economy had good years from 1976 until 1981, a year before of Robledo’s end of term. Inflation rates, which were at 35% annual in 1975, slowed down to 18% annual in 1978.

That was the country at the time FIFA World Cup Argentina ’78 started.

(1)Paladino was a peronist politician, member of the so called “Resistencia peronista” from late ‘50s and early ‘60s. He was Perón personal deputy but he was not an automat, having great personality and deep personal convictions. Paladino had all access to Perón’s circle and Montoneros and JP (Juventud Peronista), peronism leftist wing, hated Paladino and tried to create a false image of his persona, like a “Lanusse double agent” , but he was far from that, as numerous bibliography corroborate. In OTL, Perón changed Paladino for Cámpora in late 1971, in plan to harden his tactics against General Lanusse, in a time where extremism started to flourish and Perón tried to took advantage from that to his plans. That’s why Cámpora, not because of his figure itself but for the leftist wing that surrounded him. Eventually Cámpora will be presidential candidate in 1973, and due his poor control of left wing, now armed left wing, made Peron to come back to Argentina “to put order” . Paladino wrote Perón, telling him that he was not an anti commie, and adverted him about “marxist infiltration” and how dangerous would be to allow that in order to use them as a political instrument, and how leftist wing is trying to re write history with a “Marxist Evita”, in 1969.

(2) Adalberto Krieger Vasena in OTL was actually a minor part of economic team after anti Perón’s coup in 1956. He was Minister of Economy of De Facto President, General Onganía, from 1967 to early 1970, and his fate was tied to his boss’ fate, who had to resign in june 1970. Actual economic issues saw a GDP growth 4,7% in 1968 and 8% in 1969, inflation rates was less than 10% a year, public debt was reduced in a 31% and international reserves grew U$S600 million, more than 1967 IRs. So, it’s evident, that if in an adverse political context, the economy had that performance, in a much stable one, it would have been even better.

( 3)The "special trial forums " existed from 1971 to 1973, and were a "legal" way to fight guerrillas. They were dropped in Cámpora's government and attorneys who were involved, suddenly became helpless to increasing streght of guerrilla power.
Last edited:
FIFA World Cup Argentina 1978
AND NOW...FIFA WORLD CUP (and its circumstances)

In 1974 Argentina pressed for an increase in participating nations for the 1978 finals from 16 to 20, this proposal was initially agreed but FIFA then decided to cut back to 16. Louis Wouters (president of the Belgian FA) said "If raising the entry meant that more teams of the calibre of Haiti, Zaire and Australia would reach the finals, then I would rather be champion of Europe than champion of the world." (1). The thing went on, and it was offered not 20 but 24, with 4 more places to Europe, to make sure UEFA would have 14 places. More places, more TV, more incomes. And FIFA, now with Havelange in power, gave green light, just in time for final qualifying draws to be set in 1975.

So, Argentina, who have selected 7 cities to be host (Buenos Aires, Rosario, Córdoba, Mendoza, Mar del Plata, Tucumán and La Plata) (2), now must extend the stadiums to be offered, at least 2 more. In order to avoid higher costs, it was decided that Buenos Aires and Rosario would have two hosts stadiums each, instead of one each . And not only it was sort out matters as logistics, new roads, new airports, new stadiums but it closed any kind of internal matters and lobbies by internal faccions within peronism, like to choose Newell’s or Rosario…would be the two of them. And La Plata, which was in danger to be outburst, stayed.

The Sun Always Shines on TV

Despite mixed presidential formula, between a Peronist and non Peronist (Paladino and Lanusse), TV owners feared that Peronism in power would be able to expropriate TV Channels because of the end of their licenses to be set in 1973. Because of that, heavy lobbies pressured, and achieved, in January 1970, that President Aramburu sign an extension of all TV airwaves licenses for 20 years. ( 3 ) They were renewed under some conditions, but one was the main visible, like subsidiaries TV stations across the country and Color TV within 3 years deadline. That last point was an offer made by "TV Tzar", Canal 13’s owner, Goar Mestre, despite government banned that channel attempt to start NTSC system broadcast in 1969 before official regulations (4), although intention was to discourage this kind of equipment importation from USA, mainly because of flourish Europe –Argentina relations, and Communications Agency rather prefer that private TV Channels to choose PAL or French SECAM.

The Telecommunications Federal Authority, based in that premise, decided early in the‘70s to choose PAL but a “homemade PAL”, to avoid hard importation of colour receptors and to allow compatibility with monochromatic receptors. And NTSC essays in late 60s were all not satisfying that could have been. So, Argentinian PAL suffered modifications. It employs the 625 line/50 field per second waveform of PAL-B/G, D/K, H, and I, but on a 6 MHz channel with a chrominance subcarrier frequency of 3.582 MHz very similar to NTSC.VHS tapes recorded from a PAL-N or a PAL-B/G, D/K, H, or I broadcast are indistinguishable because the downconverted subcarrier on the tape is the same. A VHS recorded off TV (or released) in Europe will play in colour on any PAL-N VCR and PAL-N TV in Argentina. Likewise, any tape recorded in Argentina, a PAL-N TV broadcast can be sent to anyone in European countries that use PAL (and Australia/New Zealand, etc.) and it will display in colour. That’s how N norms were born by derivation of M

During three years, argentinian technicians worked to adapt PAL system with current equipment made in Argentina, and made in the country for that matter, “national devices”, according with the Peronist times, and once guaranteed new licenses would not be revoked. On that way, PAL-N system was born, the same Channel 13 put on air on June 20, 1973. Then Channel 9, led by another TV Tsar, Alejandro Romay, in December that year, and state TV Canal 7 in June 1974, the same day World Cup West Germany ’74 started as well as Channel 11 in October ’74. Despite, and giving the Event, a new broadcasting Center for WC ‘78 was built and Bosch Fernseh cameras equipment were bought, at a cost of U$S20 millions (5), then renamed Television Nacional Argentina Canal 7, from November 1976 onwards

On July 6, 1966, Argentina was chosen to host 1978 FIFA World Cup. On that day, West Germany was chosen to 1974 and Spain for 1982. Argentina had failed previously on their attempts to host 1962 or 1970 World Cup. But once designation was made, it aquired a status of State Affair for Aramburu’s government and for new president Paladino, when it was ratified by FIFA in october 1970, who in 1972 decreted the creation of a “Comité Organizador Argentina ‘78”

The”Comité Organizador Mundial ’78”, along with the new broadcasting building, kept cooperation with another TV channels, so in practise Canal 7, mainly, but Canal 11 and Canal 13 would carry the bulk of World Cup TV Broadcast.( 6)

Five new stadiums were built, and another 4 were remodelated (River, Velez, Newell’s and Rosario Central) . As note, Provincial Stadium in Tucuman, was inicially planned to be as a “St Louis Busch Memorial soccer clone” (7) , with 77.000 all seats, but this colossal project was slightly hitting with reality. Eventually the “Estadio Provincial de Tucuman” would look like Racing Club Stadium nowadays but with more seats than Racing one, and for 60.000 spectators (and not all seater). The seat zones, painted in light blue and white (as you can see in the picture) were after WC 78 repainted, because in Tucuman those are the same Atletico Tucumán’s colours. Eventually, The host stadiums and cities were these(7a):


- Antonio V. Liberti (River Plate) Stadium, Buenos Aires – Capacity: 80.000 spectators.


- José Amalfitani (Velez Sarsfield) Stadium, Buenos Aires – Capacity: 50.000 spectators.


- Dr. Lisandro de la Torre (Rosario Central) Stadium, Rosario – Capacity: 56.000 spectators.


- Parque Independencia (C.A. Newel’s Old Boys) Stadium, Rosario – Capacity: 49.000 spectators.


- Provincial de Tucumán Stadium – Capacity 60.000.-


- Chateau Carreras (Córdoba) Stadium – Capacity: 54.000 spectators


- General San Martin ( Mar del Plata) Stadium – Capacity: 36.000 spectators


- Ciudad de Mendoza Stadium – Capacity: 44.000 spectators


- Único de la Plata Stadium – Capacity: 53.000 spectators

The Argentina 78 final overall cost was about U$S 325 millions, and will cost some judicial causes to several secretaries and even ministers, due original budget, which was $120millions (8)... but this would happen one Dr. Robledo presidency was over, after 1982.

Between the 24 qualified national teams to Argentina ’78, there were a few surprises: Uruguay did not qualify, because Chile did it as CONMEBOL second best (two groups, one of 5 and other with 4 teams). In Europe there were some comeback, like Portugal after 1966. England qualified, after their disappointment in West Germany ’74, as one of many second best in UEFA (actually tied with Italy who had better goal average) and East Germany revalidated his moment. Both as second best as well. Surprise was Hungary qualification. Soviet Union and european Champions, Czechoslovakia, played for the last slot in November 1977 play-offs. On that way, Soviets eliminate Czechs who were Scotland’s runner up in their group.

1978 FIFA WORLD CUP QUALIFICATION – UEFA (In black, european qualified)

1.- Poland/ Portugal /Denmark/Cyprus

2.- Italy / England/Finland/ Luxembourg

3.-Austria/ East Germany/ Turkey/ Malta

4.- Netherlands/Belgium/ N. Ireland / Iceland

5.-France/ Bulgaria/ Eire/ Albania (draw)

6.- Sweden/ USSR/ Norway/ Switzerland*

7.- Scotland /Czechoslovakia/ Wales/Greece*

8.- Spain/ Hungary/ Romania/ Yugoslavia* (8a)

Play-Off: USSR 2 – Czechoslovakia 0 ( Tibilissi, 29 /10/1977) / Czechoslovakia 2 – USSR 1
(Bratislava, 30/11/1977)

For the first time Haiti, Tunisia, Iran and Kuwait, qualified to a FIFA WORLD CUP. And Egypt returned after their first time in 1934...

Previous to final draw, Italy asked for being headliners in Buenos Aires – La Plata – Mar del Plata, not only for comfort matters but supporting, in that zone there were plenty of Italian inmigrants and sons. FIFA agreed; But FIFA determined that Argentina ‘s zone would share host stadiums with Italy’s zone. During draw, that was the norm form Brazil’s Group sharing host stadiums with Netherlands' group, and West Germany the same with England.

The composition of groups in the second round was predetermined before the start of the tournament. The winners of Groups 1 and 3 were in Group A whilst the runners-up were in Group C. The winners of Groups 2 and 4 were in Group B whilst the runners-up were in Group D. The winner of Group 5 was in Group D whilst the runner-up was in Group B. The winner of Group 6 was in Group C whilst the runner-up was in Group A. Thus, Group A mirrored Group C, and Group B mirrored Group D with the winners and runners-up from the first round being placed into opposite groups in the second round.

The second-round groups that mirrored each other (based on the first-round groupings) faced off against each other in the semifinals. Thus, the Group A winner played the Group C winner, and the Group B winner player the Group D winner. (9)

This configuration wil be abandoned for Spain ’82, returning to direct elimination (round of 16)



(1) It actually happened, it was rejected, and not continued by Argentina due internal affairs

(2) In 1972 They were pre selected those cities.

( 3 ) In OTL, that lobby existed and started in 1969, Dictator Ongania was all ears, but he was ousted in 1970. Levingston didn’t have time, he quit a few months later and General Lanusse kicked the problem for later…later came Peronism and the TV license weren’t renewed, and governmet took control, becoming State TV Channels, until 1984 – Canal 9 – and the rest until 1989…)

(4) It did happen under Onganía’s government. Canal 13 made experimental transmissions in NTSC, but did not receive government approval. Subsequently, the project was cancelled.

(5) The Broadcasting center in Figueroa Alcorta y Tagle, costed U$S 60 millons. According to former minister Juan Alemann, this center (then renamed in 1979 ATC Argentina Televisora Color, but other names though were Television Nacional de Argentina) costed 6 times its real price. And other experts agreed.So, In this ATL, corruption still exists, but at a lower cost.

(6) The Entire Broadcast was made by A78TV then ATC, because it was the only with the equipment to do so.

(7) That’s the real project presented by Tucuman, in 1972, and had “absolute priority”. In 1974 due guerrilla actions, the host city was Freeze. And as guerrilla worsened in 1975 there, the city was shut down from organization.
Newells old Boys, Rosario

(7a) La Plata was appointed as well in 1972, promising the “Estadio Unico” for 50.000 people, but in 1974 was shut down for “internal reasons”. The “Estadio Unico” stadium was inaugurated in 2003…with almost the same architectonic model except the actual roof. The Rosario Central Stadium, in this ATL had more capacity, due the country situation is more stable, and there’s more money or at least better administrated. And that stadium format with three stands instead of two stand, is an old dream by Rosario Central. The Newell’s old boys stadium was not like that, is the project they presented if they were chosen to be host of Argentina 78. Chateau Carreras, had double grades in both sides of seat zones and not in one in this ATL (part of the original project)

(8) In OTL, first budget was about U$S 70 millons, then after general Actis death in 1976, was extended to $120 millions, and eventually WC costed more than U$S 600 millions. Spain ’82 costed $170 millions, put 17 stadiums and were 24 finalists, not 16. So, in this ATL, under a democratic government the cost would be lesser, because of controls, but this is Argentina, and corruption existed always…but due mentioned above, it would be malversation, but less malversation…

(8a) In OTL, in UEFA qualy groups, those who went to WC ’74 were group headliners, except for group 9 who played play-off with a CONMEBOL team (Bolivia). There were 9 groups, but in this case, because more teams would go to Argentina, I reduced groups to 8, but respecting the headliners.

(9) Just like Spain 82 in OTL, when they were 24 finalists for the first time.
Last edited:
On June 2, 1978, after a short, simple but beautiful opening ceremony, President Angel F. Robledo officialy opened FIFA World Cup Argentina ‘78. During his speech, there were some booing from the crowd, that led to Minister Antonio Cafiero to declare “I didn’t know UCR presented a team for the world cup”

The World Cup was very well organised, broadcasting was lavish and everything was put on the table to show the image of a dinamic country. Football as a matter of state.

Inauguration match started that same day, June 2, on the River Plate Stadium in Buenos Aires (it was rumoured that Córdoba will be the match host, but river plate lobbies, linked to power, did it better. West Germany 1 – Hungary 1. First match tensions were well advantaged by hungarians, who teared it up a tie to world champions. That group saw the magiar figures making the day against weaker teams like Kuwait and Egypt. And West Germany ended 1st in that round robin, by goal average.

Local’s group, Argentina, saw the host qualifying to second round without hestiations despite the initial by minutes nervous debut against Sweden to then display good football against a close defense and midfield played by USSR to finally strike hard against to the surprisingly Tunisia, where localy and prestige to show, were too much for northern africans. Young 17 year-old Diego Maradona, came in from the bench on 2° half against Sweden, and 2°half again against Tunisia with very good performances in both games. Mario Kempes, stroke 3 times, and 2 against Tunisia. Second round would be better.

All matches in Argentinian Time (UTC - 3 )



Soviet star, Oleg Blokhin, is struggling against a tunisian midfield during the first surprise of FIFA World Cup Argentina '78, the northern african team achievied a 1-1 against USSR at the Estadio Unico, in La Plata - June 3, 1978


Argentina vs USSR in Mar del Plata, June 1978


Maradona's goal vs Sweden - June, 1978 (note young Maradona had at that time the No.16 T-shirt)

In Holland’s group, the thing was between Netherlands and Peru, and that group saw one of the best WC matches, with a tie, Netherlands 3 – Scotland 3, where Souness and Gemmill were closer to catch a victory, in a hard hit match. Previosly, defeat against Peru, crushed scottish dreams, despite obviuos victory against Haiti. Nevertheless, Quailification for Netherlands was not a closed matter despite Neeskens opening the score at ’22, because Oblitas tied for Peru and Muñante hit the post at 88 minutes.


In Italy’s group, despite chilean desperate efforts, italy and Austria, qualified to 2nd round. The absolute disappointment was Mexico, a promise to be a revelation, at least for their media. Italian stars, Rossi, Causio, Bettega , Cuccuredu, Benetti, Zaccarelli, etc, did it properly as everyone expect as well as Rapid Viena striker, Hans Krankl, and Prohaska.


Despite Chile wasn't able to get through the 2nd round, they did great effort against rivals of better category that beated them just by little difference...and one of main strong point was the support they have due thousands of chileans living in Argentina and many more crossing the Andes


Italy's victory over Austria for 2 goals to 0, in last match of Group C in Buenos Aires, June 1978.

England’s team, group’s head, displayed a physical power and the characterisc football of the isles. Irani team was the first to suffer them, they only stood 20 minutes before succumb to a powerful ball kick by Mariner…and then a hat trick by Keegan. East Germany’s team was a plausible menace to Ron Greenwood guys, and despite little changes in comparison to 1974, they put in trouble to England, who only could tie 2-2 after a header by Ray Wilkins in the last 5 minutes at Rosario Central Stadium. Goal average was favorable to british. During round robin, english team had to stood “booing” to their anthem, screaming from the crowd, like “Animals” (an old resemblance from 1966) or “Pirates” , and during the match against Portugal, a giant flag with “las Malvinas son Argentinas” legend. Although an “isolated” incident, and local televisation showing several times, the flag misteriously disapperand during half time ….Portugal was an absolute flop.



East Germany beating 2-0 in their debut to Portugal, in Córdoba, June 4, 1978. Taken from "La Nación" newspaper.


Last minutes in Rosario, in a failed english attack against an inarticulate portuguese defense (above) - June 7,1978 FIFA World Cup Argentina' 78


Trevor Francis in a defensive position while Portugal seeked a last minute honour goal. Eventually England would win 2-0 at Rosario Central Stadium, June 7, 1978.

Group of Death was Group E, led by Brazil, were 1974’s 3rd place match was reedited (In WC ’74 Brazil, became in 2nd Place in 2nd Round, and played third place match. At that time Brazil qualified due better goal average than Argentina, who lost 1-0 against Netherlands, 1-1 Brazil, and defeated 1-0 to East Germany) (10). Now in 1978, Brazil punched Poland in the face, with a superb Nelinho, Cruzeiro’s star gave little chances to Tomasewski with his “cannon in his feet” shots . France and Spain tied, but both were a mistery. France returned to headlines with a new generation, like Platini, Rocheteaux, Michel, Six, Battiston, etc, that would be a truly sensation the next decade. Spain, had some figures, Quini, Cardeñosa, etc, but in comparison, was more willIng to play than playing well but had tremendous support from a large spanish residents, a very noisy one at Newell’s stadium in Rosario.

But polish experience made the difference in matches to come, and reached second place. Brazil first, but didn’t convince at all except against Poland at the beginning. And in second round must improve because Netherlands and East Germany would be awaiting. Cruyff didn’t have a good performance, neither the dutch, due injuries. And East Germans were unpredictable.


brazil 78.jpg

Brazil line up, prior match vs France, at Newell's Old Boys Stadium in Rosario, June 14, 1978


Platini's futile effort against Brazil, during the last minutes of the match played in Newell's Old Boys stadium in Rosario

michel hidaglo estadio newells.jpg

French manager Michel Hidalgo visiting renotaved (although still in refactions at that time) Newell's Old Boys Stadium in August 1977...



A merciless West Germany vs Kuwait - Argentina '78


Spain vs France - Group E - Last minutes in Newell's Old Boys Stadium in Rosario, June 5, 1978


Four moments in Argentina 78 - Scotland vs Netherlands; USSR vs Sweden; France vs Spain and Brazil vs France

(10) In OTL it was worse in 1974, lost 4-0 against Holland, lost 2-1 against Brazil and 1-1 against DDR, but due Argentina in this ATL was a bit organised, football was reached as well, but not to do miracles…
Last edited:
Second Round


East German No.9 Streich, during late minutes of the match in Tucumán - Image from original broadcasting Argentina '78


Taken from Onze Magazine - June 1978

It opened in Tucuman, at the superb “Estadio Provincial”, with Netherlands vs East Germany. Surprinsingly, East Germans put 2- 0, goals N°6 Schuphase and N°9 Streich… and Tucuman cheering the easterns. Nevertheless, Neeskens, Cruyff and Rensenbrink, scored and Netherlands won 3-2 eventually, showing their better face up to date in 1978.

Netherlands 3 – 2 East Germany
Tucumán, June 18, 1978 -16.45hs

Late in the afternoon, as usual, played the host team, Argentina, for Group 1 against Hungary who now would felt the difference between a real team and those who not. The match started a few minutes later due to a strange “inaugural” ceremony of second round, and news were Diego Maradona in the line up, who started a little bit dubious to eventually have a dreaming night: 2 goals, and two passes to goal…4-0 only to the hungarian’s consolation goal over the end. The crowd, more than 77.000 people, cheered him, chanting “MARADOOOO…MARADOOOOO” and he, with his 17 years old, cried in the end of the match. Despite that tour de force, or maybe because of tears, Menotti never put him again into Line-up during 1978 WC. Years later he explained why he did that, and it was in orden to preserve him psychologically due his youth.


The "strange ceremony" before the match, and young Maradona as part of line-up team

Argentina 4 – 1 Hungary
Buenos Aires (River Plate Stadium) June 18, 1978 - 19.15hs


Image taken from original broadcasting made by Televisión Nacional Argentina for WC 78

Italy, days later, in the same group 1, didn’t have problems to defeat 3-1 to hungarians in Rosario Central Stadium. A truly anticipated final was awaiting for that group on june, 24.

Italy 3 – 1 Hungary
Rosario (Central) June 21, 1978 – 13.45hs

On June 19, opened a new group in Velez Sarsfield stadium. England was merciless with Peru, due physical, monetaries and internal conflicts, became a shadow of the team it used to be (11). Trevor Brooking, and Kevin Keegan (who was on fire in this World Cup) score twice both, leting the brits in virtual semifinal, because a tie with Poland would let them in there.

England 4 – 0 Peru (13.45hs)
Buenos Aires (Velez Sarsfield Stadium) June 19, 1978

In the less atractive group, as one newspaper called it, Oleg Blokhin opened the gates to a sure soviet victory, but the soviets became self confidente in extreme, and Austria was awarded with a dubious penalty, which they scored. 1 – 1

Soviet Union 1 - 1 Austria
Rosario (Newell’s) June 19, 1978 – 16.45hs

On june 22, Szamarch strike against Peru. Poland 1 – Peru 0 final result. Roberto Dinamite stroke twice against East Germans in Tucuman, putting Brazil 2 - DDR 0. His western counterparts had a better day, with Rummenigge scoring twice against soviet goal. The day Oleg Blokhin lost the captain tie due a “high rank” soviet decision.

Poland 1 – 0 Peru
Buenos Aires (Velez Sarsfield) June 22, 1978 – 13.45hs

East Germany 0 – 2 Brazil
Tucumán - June 21, 1978 - 16.45hs

West Germany 2 – 0 Soviet Union
Cordoba - June 22, 1978 – 16.45hs

In the last match of the group, the obvious West Germany’s ticket to semifinal was put in some danger by Austria, who was two times in advantage, to eventually score 2-2, and now had to face Argentina-Italy winner, who played the day before, in one, if not the best match of the tournament.

Late in the afternoon, on june 24, Roberto Bettega stroke for Italy, actually an own goal by Tarantini who went to the floor attempting to avoid Bettega to kick, but touching accidentaly the ball. Passarella tied with a header over a corner. The match was hardened, passionate, bad played for moments, really well played for several moments, untill 22 minutes 2° half, when Spurs’ future man, Osvaldo Ardiles linked with Matador, Mario Kempes, leting him alone with Dino Zoff, who wasn’t able to do nothing effective against Matador furious ball. In Rosario, Menotti’s city and in Rosario Central Staduim, were Kempes became Argentinian top scorer in mid ‘70s, Argentina gave its most importante step in 48 years, and the crowd went mad, went bananas.

Argentina 2 - 1 Italy
Rosario (Central) June 24, 1978 – 19.15hs

West Germany 2 - 2 Austria
Cordoba - June 25, 1978 – 16.45hs


German kicker Magazine with Rummenigge's second goal against soviets

Argentina vs West Germany will be one of SEMIFINALS

The other key saw a battle hardened match between Poland and England, looking for semifinal. Poles dominated most of the game, with most clearer goal situations but no luck, hitting over and over again with Peter Shilton. Finally, a Boniek shoot hit in the post and a ball head by Lato, by milimiters, put an end to polish effort, and had put England into a semi final for the first time since 1966.

England 0 – 0 Poland
La Plata - June 25, 1978 - 13.45hs

The beautiful city of Mendoza, famous for its wines and its wonderful afternoons, saw how Ari Haan made a hole in Leao’s guard to put 1-0, only to be answered by Dirceu with a shot outside the area, to tie 1-1, and so 1st time ended. Eventually, Neeskens with a head ball impact, thanks to a Cruyff centre from the extreme left, put definitive score of 2-1. The futbolistic rivality made the locals cheer for Netherlands and the same thing would happen in Rosario Central Stadium next Wednesday on semifinals

Netherlands 2 - 1 Brazil
Mendoza - June 24, 1978 -13.45hs




Cruyff and Jongbloed in ectasy after the triump against Brazil, who wore blue kit jersey at this match, played in Mendoza




Young Diego Maradona and Paolo Rossi minutes before the start of 2nd half in Rosario Central stadium - June 24, 1978


Time out for polish efforts and English players are celebrating their ticket to get into the best 4, for the first time since 1966, in a cloudy wet afternoon in the Estadio Único de La Plata, June 25, 1978. Image taken from ESPN Classic World Cup matches re-broadcast in 2014.


The same picture, taken from the original broadcasting (as you can se, there must have been some few technical problems because of the quality of the image), but some seconds later. Taken from England (red kit) 0 - Poland (white kit) 0 - Estadio Único de La Plata, June 25, 1978




Vibrant semifinal between England and Netherlands in Rosario - June 28,1978

(11) Like OTL, despited 6-0 against Argentina, see 3-0 against Brazil and how Brazil didn’t make 8 goals just for miracle. The same with 1-0 Poland, despite short score
Last edited:
Ok, I'm not sure if you want to focus on the political side or just in an alt-world cup. If it's the second, I'm not sure why the political prelude is needed.
But I'm having a bit of a hard time following the political timeline. If I get this right:

1962- Provinces get intervened
1964-1970 Aramburu's democratic tenure
1966 Midterms, including provincial gobernors? - Provincial gobernors are usually elected along the presidential elections, but honestly don't recall if that was the case back then
1970-1976 Paladino/Lanusse - Why? That might make sense in a parliamentary democracy, in which the largest minorities coalesce to form government. But the 1853 constitution sets a presidential democracy. The winner forms goverment and doesn't have to give anything to the second candidate. Also, a ballot with both a peronist and an antiperonist candidate isn't a "national unity" government. It's a hijacking of democracy. It's as if Tories and Labor shared a ballot in the UK, or Republicans and Democrats in the USA did. It's saying "Hey, you thought you had elections coming. We were kidding!" Sure, there are minor parties, but it's still insulting to the electorate. Also, Aramburu doesn't get to "choose" his successor. He gets to nominate a candidate, that's it. Other parties will do as they wish, specially if this ATL tenure is an elected one instead of a dictatorship (and it's not much of a return to democracy if the salient dictator handpicks the next president anyway). Why would peronists agree to put Lanusse in the ballot? Their first option should be to let him run as president for his own party and defeat Paladino, if he can. Also, in Argentina (and in presidential systems in general) the VP doesn't co-govern. He's not part of the cabinet. He opens the sessions at the Senate and manages administrative affairs there. At best, he breaks ties.
1976 Ballotage The 1853 constitution doesn't include ballotages, that was added OTL in 1994, so you need a Constitutional Convention (2/3 of each chamber of the Congress must approve the call for it and then it's elections to select the "constitutional conventionals" who will amend the Constitution). Also, and again, there is no "forming government" with the second and third minorities. The winner picks his cabinet at will. The Congress doesn't even get involved with the appointment of cabinet members. If the winning ballot is an alliance of parties, there will be intra-alliance negotiations for positions in the cabinet, but that doesn't include the parties who lost the election.
Hola JuanML82, yes, I’m not so interested in the first part…I used because I need it as a background for a more stable, or less unstable country, in order to organize a 24 team WC and not a 16 team WC as it actually happened. Capricho se le podría decir.
About your points, I agree in parts but I disagree in that point: in the late 50s and 60s, real power was Peronist (although proscripted) and Military (the ones who decides how long a democratic govnmet would last), so in this situation, a democracy at its full was not possible but in order to reach some stability,the only way was to achieve a “tie” between both powers, which happened here. Frondizi in OTL had in mind to offer Aramburu the candidate for presidency in 1960 to “shield” his administration, and Mariano Grondona told several times, how Lanusse told him they (Lanusse, Aramburu….the band) wanted to achieve an arrangement with Perón, but those who came later (1960 onwards) were the real golirists that didn’t want.

So, Paladino/Lanusse was more a “transitional formula”, a way to control Peronism in his irresistible re rising to power, and without the extremism of both sides as in OTL, and knowing Aramburu’s intention of negociate with Perón as happened in late 60s. Peron would actually agree, fearing independent syndicalism, and having in mind that acnecdotic thing about joint sovereign in Falklands non official offer in 1974 ("once we have one feet inside, no one will take us away"), accepting this entry or limited return into power I see plausible.

About ballotage, remember electoral amendment made by Lanusse in 1972 (four year term, etc, and yes, ballotage, remember Cámpora /Solano Lima didn’t reach mayority, so they had to go to a second round, but UCR didn’t want to carry on, so the formula was proclaimed victorious).

And like Peronism, who didn’t have internal elections, the political parties derivate from military power, are more likely to didn’t have one as well…and manage the same less democratic way in their affairs.

And yes, it was a hijacking of democracy made by both powers, the lesser evilness plausible at that time I think.

Provintial elections, due interventions, was out of case

My aim is WC cup actually as I quoted above. And some butterflies like yes to Maradona, Cruyff, Ron Greenwood, etc.
Last edited:


Cruyff at semifinals in Rosario Central stadium, June 1978. His performance overall World Cup was not as spectacular as in 1974 due injuries previous to the tournament. But he was Cruyff, always...

At 16.45hs, on Wednesday 28, close to Rio Parana’s shore, in Rosario, in front of 54.000 spectators, the Stadium, also known as “El gigante de Arroyito” (The giant of Arroyito), was host of the first semi final: England vs Holland. The dutch, orange T-shirt, Adidas. England, white t-shirt, Admiral. The english team, again, had an uncomfortable moment, when the crowd booed while “God Save the Queen” was played by a military band. Despite official local campaign to treat “turists and delegations as a pal”, to feel like at home, this couldn’t be aviod. So A.F.A. did their apologies to F.A, which accepted.

But it didn’t scare off britsh team, who was more treatful in the first half with its tradicional english vision of football, and Cruyff was hardly a menace because of personal mark against him. But this personal pressure became useless when, a misundertood between Hughes and Watson provoked a penalty, shot to goal by Cruyff himself. England reacted and charged, goalkeeper Jonglbloed stopped a shot by Mariner, and the ball passed out almost kissing the right post. There in an english attack, came a dutch counter attack, when Ruud Krol recovered a ball, finding the brits inarticualed and finally solved by Van der Kerkhof brothers. Holland 2 – England 0. In highly contrast with booing, when the match ended, aplauses and cheering came from all sides of stadium, for such display of football.

At the same day, but 19.15hs, the other semifinal, in River Plate, and then the unthinkable….first Kempes scored, after catch a ball in the area due a corner kick, then Luque with a hot shot outside the area, and then again Kempes, from outside the area…when first half ended, it was Argentina 3- West Germany 0…The 2°half saw Maradona coming in from the bench, but Argentina filled itself with doubts and insecurity, and the match became a virtual german monologue, despite Bertoni shook german goalkeeper’s left post at the beginning of 2°half. It would have been 4-0, but no. From then onwards, was all west german. Flohe and Bonhoff scored, and the match put 3-2, and 80.000 people, along with 25 millones at home, ended with cardiac crisis…but the match ended, and ended well. Argentina 3 – West Germany 2, and the ticket to the final...



West german attacking in a picture taken from the 3rd place match in Córdoba, in Argentina '78 - taken from "El Gráfico" magazine, July 1978

Old rivality replicated in Center Argentina, at Chateau Carreras, Córdoba. It was far from the relaxed game it usually is for third place. Keegan opened, after Maier let a rebound, in an area full of white and red t-shirts. Bonhoff tied, in similar conditions 2 minutes later, and one of main WC strikers, Karl Heinz Rummenigge put 2-1 with his head, in a tipically english play, more than a german one.

An unfair result, but football is like this, 22 players and the germans win. After the match, and after medals, all german and english went around the olympic track, saluting the Cordoba crowd. West Germany ended third and England’s Keevin Keegan ended Argentina ’78 top scorer with 8 goals.


Chateau Carreras stadium in Cordoba, during previous moments before the match - taken from original broadcasting.


River Plate Stadium, in Buenos Aires, hosted the Final, which broke TV viewers previously records for a FIFA World Cup Final. The Match started minutes later of 15.00hs, and although started with vertigo and dynamic football, like Rep doing the things difficult to Fillol, or Passarella hitting with his head for the ball passing by centimeters, and so on. Combination between Luque, Ardiles, Kempes, paid off, at 37minutes when el Matador scored despite Jongbloed efforts. 1-0. After that, match became harsh, with isolated goal situations, and Passarella crushing, sometimes with violence, any Cruyff attemp to create football. Despite he was not his personal stopper, the referee was not enough hard to put him yellow card, at least. Maradona came in second half, in substitution of Ardiles, but was not determinant although was useful to divert some dutch men to avoid his threatfull manners, generating spaces for argentinian attacks.

Over minute 81, a Holland attack was cut out because an allegedly offside, and many dutch men complained, specially Dick Nanninga, who complained more than he should, and received yellow card. After that, final became a nill matter, Holland trying but not clearly, Argentina defending but no attacking, when at minute 92, referee ended the match. Argentina was the new World Champions, and crowds in ectasy, invaded the field despite the fences. Argentina’s President, along with members of cabinet and members of dutch cabinet (12), delivered the Cup to Argentina’s captain Daniel Passarella.


On that way, Argentina, maybe a little bit later, but better later than never, put its name into the Biggest names of Football. Young Maradona, with this first experience in world cup, would be fundamental for Argentina national team in years to come, capitalise it for the next in Spain 1982 (13) but more 1986, and beyond, playing 2 more World Cup after that in 1990 and 1994. He still remain as the player with more caps in WC, with 34 matches, counting line-up (all from 1982 onwads in WC) and those when came in from the bench in 1978.


Poster available with "El Gráfico" Magazine, the largest argentinian sport magazine - July 1978





------------- ----------------

(12) Due his bad reputation onf military junta, in OTL, no representative was sent by Amsterdam government and the dutch team refused to come to receive the silver medal.

(13) In OTL, with a lot of pressure on his back, and shadow by Falklands war, Maradona’s performance in 82 was not so good, and he saw red card in the last match against Brazil
Last edited:
Question on PODs:

Cruyff - loads of different stories about his refusal to travel to the WC. Probably the most obvious - that he simply didn't want to leave his family - is also the most plausible. With Cruyff on board the Netherlands may also have taken van Hanagen, who in IOTL left the squad shortly before departure because of the refusal of some players (particularly Krol and Haan) to join in the collective commercial earnings pot that was shared between all playing and non-playing staff. A Cruyff prescence in the squad (presumably as captain) may have been a decisive influence against such self-centred behaviour.

When did Greenwood take over from Revie? IOTL it was before the game with Italy at Wembley, a good but meaningless 2-0 to the hosts. Still don't think they were terribly capable, though.
Yes, in this POD l thought about Cruyff bringing his family to Argentina, and due in this ATL there ain't a dictatorship, I guess it could be a possibility. With Van Hanegem , i think he would not probably played the 78WC due his age although Jongbloed had 37 at that time.

With Greenwood in and Revie out, I guess the situation would be the same in ATL, despite qualy is not in risk, bad results in Euro 76, home championship, argentina 78 uefa qualy and his infamous move to be manager in Dubai were enough to take Revie away and go on with Greenwood. My first option was Bobby Robson, which in OTL the FA contacted in 1977, but despite this is fictional, I didnt want to go deep into that issue.
Last edited:
FIFA World Cup Spain 1982
World Cup 1982

The perspectives for 1982 were spreading for new actors in football...England became West Germany runner up in Euro '80, after being defeated 2 -1 again by the germans in the Final disputed in Rome. Meanwhile, Argentina became champions again, after defeating 4-2 to Uruguay, in the final disputed in Montevideo, for the "World Champions' Gold Cup" in january 1981...a result that had a little of irony because of the final result of 1930 WC in the same place, but for uruguay at that time in the '30s....(1)




Maradona is raising the trophy in Montevideo, and crowned a new title of Argentina, el "mundialito" or Little World Cup in january 1981...something that argentinian media considered as a new world title as all previous world cup winners played the tournament backed by FIFA.

marad y rdiaz.jpg

Maradona and Ramón Díaz, after the victory in Montevideo, in january 1981

----- --------- -------- ----------

Netherlands did not qualify, and France emerged stronger than ever, and Brazil had a lot to say at that time...

Meanwhile Spain 1982 draw took place....and the inaugural match was Argentina vs Scotland...


Taken from original broadcasting (2)

Therefore,here in Spain, the "second round" system used in Argentina previosly was abandoned for the direct elimination in round of 16.. (3)So, group's round robin were those...


Image taken from ITV

---------- -----------------
(1)English experience in WC 1978 would be useful, in this ATL, to capitalise for a very top form in Euro 1980, contrary to what happened in OTL, where FA didn’t give priority to national team to face it. Meanwhile, in Argentinian case will be almost the same, with a mature Maradona after being in a WC, a ticket to final (lost by goal average at Brazil hands) I see it plausible, and then to defeat Uruguay was a one, because during 70s and early 80s, Argentinian team was far superior to the charrúa team...

(2) The image is real. Scotland was drawn out to go into the same group as Argentina. But with few people able to understand the babble which was going on at the top table, eventually another little Spanish boy took the ball back to the cage and appeared to put it back in. Then Blatter, in his best Basil Fawlty, tried to explain they had already made a mistake when drawing Belgium into Italy’s group and that Scotland had merely compounded the error. Eventually, they moved Belgium, who ironically had complained about England’s seeding, back to Argentina’s group and poor old Scotland now had to go into Brazil’s group.
More farcical behaviour was to follow as FIFA had tried to arrange that neither Peru or Chile would appear in the same group as either Brazil or Argentina and they decided to concentrate on the groups containing those two to begin with.Therefore the miniature footballs containing those countries were supposed to be left out of the initial draw.Unfortunately, nobody had informed the guy whose job it was to fill the cages with footballs.Further embarrassment was to befall the suits of FIFA when it emerged the little Spanish boys were actually from a Madrid orphanage but they endeared themselves to the worldwide audience when one of the FIFA members shouted “get it sorted, boy!”, a rebuke clearly picked up by the microphones.

(3) As explained in 24 teams - Argentina '78, in this ATL Spain '82, round of 16 would appear sooner...when in OTL appeared in Mexico '86, not before..What I did here, was inspiring in Mexico 86s’ round of 16 configuration. But in this case, in 1982, because of Group C was to last champ (Argentina) and E (Spain, host), I made a parallel scenario. In 1986, Group A was for last champion (Italy) and B for local (Mexico), for an exchange of groups, so in ’86 , 1° of A Group, has in 1982, an equivalent in 1° of group C for Round of 16…group D and F would still be slots for D or F
Last edited:




Maradona' s goal against Austria during round robin, FIFA World Cup Span ' 4 secuences.

Argentina's captain, df Daniel Passarella, imposed his authority against Austria during all the last match of Group 3 - FIFA World Cup Spain '82


Scotland team, using their alternative jersey against El Salvador - Group 3 FIFA World Cup Spain '82
Last edited:
Yes Ramones but it costed 3 times lesser than OTL and its called Televisión Nacional Argentina,...i did some description above at the beggining. This name was first suggested by Carlos Montero, one of main managers in charge of broadcasting
Good job, would you do some wikiboxes for the previous tournament as well?
Thank you Matthew, yes , it is my intention....but with two little daughters it took myself a lot of time to do so, because they (the kids) demand a lot of time. But, yes, i'm interested in do many more of previous competitions