World cup history

While I was watching the USA-poland game the other night It occured to me that having the situation where the oposite teams could both advance on a tie was curious. The announcer guy(the Irish accented dude) said that they played games like that at the same time to avoid any “hanky-panky”. I was curious if there ever was a real situation like that where there was a serious accusation of score-fixing.

The reason they play the last round robin games simultaneously now is because of what happened in the 1982 World Cup. It involved Algeria, Austria, and West Germany. Algeria had already played its last round robin game and had to wait for Austria and West Germany to play to determine its fate. The standings at that time were: Austria 4 points, +3 goal differential, Algeria 4 points, even goal differential, and West Germany 2 points, +2.
Algeria would advance if Austria won or tied (because Germany would have fewer points) or if West Germany won by more than 3 goals (because Austria’s goal differential would then be lower than Algeria’s). What happened is that West Germany scored a goal early in their game against Austria and then after this, both teams just played around with the ball for the remaining 80 or so minutes, with neither team looking to attack the other’s goal. Algeria was furious and complained but it came to nothing, unfortunately.

(Note that back then, wins were only worth two points.)

Also in 1978, the second round was a round robin played among 4 teams. One group had Brazil, Argentina, Poland and Peru in it.

Brazil beat Peru 3-0 and Poland 3-1. Argentina beat Poland 2-0 and played a scoreless draw against Brazil.

Coming into its last game against Peru. Argentina had 3 points and +2 in goals.
Brazil had beaten Poland earlier in the day to finish with 5 points and +5.

Argentina beat Peru 6-0 later in the day and advanced to the final. There were rumors that the Argentines bought off the Peruvians, although nothing was ever proven.

The whole 1978 tournament was controversial. Cruyff wouldn’t play in it because he had promised his wife that he wouldn’t go to Argentina to show any support for the military government in place at the time.

Despite that, the Dutch made it to the final, losing to Argentina 3-1 in overtime.