The first half ended 1-0. In the second half Holland put pressure, although there was never clearly dominant team driving the other to desperate defense. Both teams were eager to attack.
But Holland slowly became the more dangerous team and eventually equalized.
ARG - HOL 3:1 (1:0, 1:1, 2:1)
(~70000) Gonella ITA, Barreto URU, Lienmayr AUT
ARG: Fillol - Olguin, Galvan, Passarella (c), Tarantini - Ardiles (66 Larossa),
Gallego, Kempes, Bertoni - Luqué, Ortiz (75 Houseman)
HOL: Jongbloed - Poortvliet, Krol (c), Brandts, Jansen (73 Suurbier) -
Neeskens, Haan, W. van de Kerkhof, R. van de Kerkhof - Rep (59 Nanninga),
1:0 Kempes 38, 1:1 Nanninga 82, 2:1 Kempes 105, 3:1 Bertoni 115
booked: Ardilles, Larossa / Krol, Poortvliet
Dutch opinion aside, Holland simply had too many problems. Happel desperately tinkered with the squad, trying to find some working solution. Even tactics were not consistent – he tried 3-4-3, went back to 4-3-3, changed again to 3-4-3. Some of the stars underperformed and had to benched or substituted frequently. The goalkeeping problem was unsolvable – Schrijvers played 3 matches and Jongbloed – 4, including the final. Only 5 footballers played every game. Neeskens came to life only at the final. Rensenbrink was not the leader and not even distant approximation of Cruyff. 19 out of 21 players were used during the championship – winning teams hardly use more than 15 players. But Holland played well at the final. Lady Luck played a joke on the Dutch just before the end of the regular time – they would have been worthy champions. Not the better team, though. But it was said to see all these great players failing to won the world championship for a second time. They were not going to have a third chance for sure.
Crouching: Galvan, Ortiz, Luque, Ardiles, Gallego.
Many – and not just Dutch fans – were unhappy with Argentina. The team was 'gently' pushed ahead by organizers, FIFA, the referees. Too many suspect moments from start to end, including the biggest crime – the match with Peru. A very suspect and clearly tainted champions. All true... but purely on sporting terms, Argentina was perhaps the team most deserving the World Cup. At least, it was entertaining team from beginning to end. With problems... scoring, the most obvious. The team struggled, but Menotti took different route than most coaches – instead of trying to change the squad until finding workable solution, he stuck to his original players. Stubbornly, to some, but the strategy worked at the end – eventually, the team improved and was fine at the final. Yet, may be only Passarella and Fillol had even tournament from start to finish. The rest were inconsistent - up one match, down the next, but few key players gradually improved: Tarantini, Ardiles, and most importantly – Kempes. Menotti took a risk, but was right at the end. Apart from form and chemistry, Argentina played interesting football – a blend of toughness and artistry. The squad was in excellent physical condition. Later Kempes said that it was good Argentina lost from Italy – the team became closer, more serious, more determined. The second important moment to him was Luque's injury against Poland: Menotti made internal change, placing Kempes as central striker, operating from back and on whole width of the field. At this position Kempes excelled and became leader and scorer. May be a third moment – not mentioned by Kempes – was also very important: the penalty saved by Fillol against Poland. Confidence is built on such moments. At the end Argentina was able to neutralize Holland and dominate in the extra-time. No matter what, Argentina was just a bit better than the other teams at the finals, did not fluctuate too wildly, had more even performance, and was more entertaining.
Brand new World champions after dramatic final. What could be better? Especially for the Argentines.