Italy-Argentina 1-0 (Bettega 67')
Italy: Zoff - Gentile, Cabrini, Benetti, Bellugi (6' Cuccureddu), Scirea - Causio, Tardelli, P. Rossi, Antognoni (73' Zaccarelli), Bettega. Ct: Bearzot.
Argentina: Fillol - Olguin, Tarantini, Gallego, Luis Galvan, Passarella - Bertoni, Ardiles, Kempes, Valencia, Ortiz (72' Houseman). Ct: Menotti.
This was the last game of the first round. With both teams having secured places in the second round (2 victories each, over France and Hungary), the outcome was who would be first and thus stay in Buenos Aires. The game started cautiously for both sides, with more focus on collective play than individual tries to create scoring opportunities. Bellugi got injured within 2 minutes and Cuccureddu replaced him in the 6' minute, making it 9 Juventus players on the field (Paolo Rossi and Antognoni were the only non-Juventini)! Passarella was the top man for the home country, creating real threat in the box on corners and free kicks with his powerful headers. Bettega, Causio and Paolo Rossi were quick and clever up-front for Italy, nicely supported by the solid Benetti, the surging Tardelli and the confident back trio of Scirea-Gentile-Cabrini. Antognoni was a bit lost and was again substituted by Zacccarelli as the game advanced. 0-0 at half time, the game was excitingly settled by the inspired attacking Italians in the 67' minute, after a superb one-two Bettega-Rossi-Bettega. The Argentinians seemed incapable of forcing the draw. The Azzurri had beaten the host country and World Champions to be. At this stage of the tournament they seemed a strong favorite for the World title.