Peruvian collapse and Austria farce blemish World Cup's clean record
PARIS, April 28 (AFP)
Fair play might be the slogan of football's world governing body FIFA - but the World Cup has not entirely escaped the stench of corruption during its 72-year history. :lala:
While there are few question marks over the integrity of results in the majority of matches played since the World Cup began in 1930, at least two games have tarnished the tournament's otherwise spotless record.
Argentina's crushing victory over Peru in 1978 and West Germany's 1-0 win over Austria four years later have both provoked intense debate ever since, with dark mutterings surrounding each result.
Fraud or freak? The precise truth of Argentina's trouncing of Peru will probably never be known. What is certain is that needing to win by a margin of four goals to pip Brazil for a place in the final, Argentina won 6-0.
The role of Peru's Argentine-born goalkeeper, who had a poor game, came under scrutiny. Others wondered why Peru fielded a new-look line-up for the match, dropping some players and fielding others out of position.
A more widespread theory pointed the finger at the door of Argentina's military dictatorship, who had spent an estimated 700 million dollars on the tournament. Money well spent, as long the hosts won.
In 1986, the London Sunday Times published an investigation into the Peru match, alleging that a dual bribe of millions of dollars and food aid had been paid by Argentina's junta in order to secure the right result.
According to the paper, Argentina's central bank released 50 million dollars in credits to Peru and shipped 35,000 tonnes of grain to the country.
Peru's players have always denied any suggestion of skullduggery but suspicion has remained.
Four years later in Spain the World Cup became embroiled in a fresh controversy, this time concerning the first round match between Austria and West Germany in Gijon.
Austria were already assured of a place in the second round after wins over Chile and Algeria in their opening two matches.
West Germany were in need of a win after suffering a shock defeat by Algeria in their first match before recovering to down Chile in the second.
A 1-0 result in the Germans' favour would take both sides through at the expense of Algeria. When Horst Hrusbesch headed West Germany into the lead early on, both sides then retreated leaving the game to meander shamefully.
French coach Michel Hidalgo, who had come to take notes on the Austrians, later suggested both sides should be given the Nobel Peace Prize.
Algeria, understandably aggrieved by the result, lodged a protest but it was to no avail. FIFA waved away their complaints and the result was allowed to stand.
The lessons were learned by FIFA however. After the 1982 World Cup, the final round of first phase group matches have been scheduled to kick-off simultaneously.
I feel bad for the old man who rode to mexico just to watch argentina play. However, I can understand why he did that.... coz the 86 Argentine team was probably one of the best ever teams that participated in a WC