world cup 1978

The 1978 FIFA World Cup was the eleventh FIFA World Cup and was held in Argentina between 1 and 25 June. Argentina defeated the Netherlands 3–1 after extra time in the final at the Estadio Monumental, Buenos Aires to claim their first title.

Host selection

The hosting rights for the 1974, 1978 and 1982 FIFA World Cup tournaments were awarded at the FIFA Congress in London, England on 6 July 1966.

Argentina, Colombia and Mexico had expressed an interest to bid for the 1978 FIFA World Cup but Mexico withdrew having been awarded the 1970 FIFA World Cup and Colombia withdrew prior to the London Congress allowing Argentina to be awarded the tournament unopposed.

One hundred and seven1 countries entered the qualifying competition.

The hosts, Argentina, and the defending champions, West Germany, qualified automatically. Of the remaining 14 places, eight were allocated to Europe (UEFA), two to South America (CONMEBOL), one to the North and Central American and Caribbean (CONCACAF), one to Africa (CAF) and one place to the Asian (AFC) and Oceania (OFC) qualifiers whilst one team from UEFA would face one CONMEBOL team in an intercontinental play off for the final place.


Thirty two European teams entered the 1974 FIFA World Cup with hosts, West Germany, qualifying automatically. The remaining 31 teams were drawn into five groups of three teams and four groups of four teams. The group winners would qualify for the 1974 FIFA World Cup Final, except for the winner of Group 9, which would advance to the UEFA / CONMEBOL Intercontinental Play-off.

Wales were drawn in Group 7 alongside Scotland and Czechoslovakia who Wales had met in qualifying for the 1958 FIFA World Cup and for UEFA Euro 1972.

Uefa qualifying Group 7

no.datescorescorers (wales)venue 
 13/10/1976Czechoslovakia 2-0 Scotland Sparta Stadion, PragueWCQ
33017/11/1976Scotland 1-0 Wales Hampden Park, GlasgowWCQ
33130/03/1977Wales 3-0 CzechoslovakiaL James (2), DeacyRacecourse Ground, WrexhamWCQ
 21/09/1977Scotland 3-1 Czechoslovakia Hampden Park, GlasgowWCQ
33712/10/1977Wales 0-2 Scotland Anfield, LiverpoolWCQ
33816/11/1977Czechoslovakia 1-0 Wales Letenský Stadion, PragueWCQ

Group standings

Wales and the 1978 World Cup

Despite a defeat to Scotland in the opening game of the campaign, Wales bounced back with a 3-0 win over Czechoslovakia at The Racecourse Ground, Wrexham with PSV Eindhoven's Nick Deacy - one of two debutants alongside Cardiff City's Peter Sayer - scoring on his debut.

The win in Wrexham set up a clash with Scotland whereby the winners would almost certainly qualify for the 1978 FIFA World Cup, however, following crowd trouble at Ninian Park, Cardiff during the UEFA Euro 1976 qualifying campaign the Football Association of Wales (FAW) were ordered to play their 1978 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches away from the capital city.

In order to maximise the profits from the match with Scotland, the FAW opted to play the home match at Anfield, Liverpool as opposed to the Racecourse Ground, Wrexham.

A controversial penalty awarded against Norwich City's Dave Jones saw Wales slip to a 0-2 defeat which effectively ended their hopes of qualification.

Wales' final match of the campaign saw Rod Thomas win his 50th and final cap, becoming only the third Welsh player to reach the milestone.

Players used during qualifying

Wales used a total of 18 players during the qualifying campaign with Dai Davies, Brian Flynn, Joey Jones, Leighton Phillips and Terry Yorath playing every minute of every game.

Rod Thomas won his 50th and final cap in the last game of the campaign, becoming only the third Welsh player to reach the milestone.

Alan Curtis16   
Dai Davies90909090
Nick Deacy 901513
Ian Evans9090  
Brian Flynn90909090
Arfon Griffiths90   
Leighton James9090  
David Jones  9090
Joey Jones90909090
John Mahoney 90 90
Donato Nardiello   90
Malcolm Page90   
Leighton Phillips90909090
Peter Sayer 9075 
Mickey Thomas90 9073
Rod Thomas 909090
John Toshack90 9090
Terry Yorath90909090


1Of the 107 countries who entered the Central African Republic, Honduras, Iraq, Korean People's Republic, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, United Arab Emitaes and Zaire withdrew whilst South Vietnam were annexed by North Vietnam.

22 pts for a win / 1 pt for a draw