The enduring image of the 1978 World Cup finals is that of Mario Kempes celebrating his tounament-winning goals on a ticker-tape littered Buenos Aires pitch. His dynamic performance in the competition epitomized everything that was good about his game - strength, determination and an innate ability to sniff out goals from half chances.

Kempes first hit the headlines with club side Rosario Central, earning a call-up to the Argentine national side in time for the 1974 World Cup. His potential was recognized by Spanish outfit Valencia who captured his signature in time for the 1974-75 season. He made a devastating impact, finishing as the league's top scorer in his first year. Continued impressive form saw him retain his place in the national side for the 1978 World Cup despite manager Cesar Luis Menotti's preference for home based players. His faith in Kempes was rewarded, as his main striker netted 6 goals in the competition, including two in the final against Holland. The fans were sent into raptures as Argentina lifted the trophy for the very first time.

In 1980 Kempes steered Valencia to a European Cup Winners Cup win, although disagreements with coach Alfredo Di Stefano soon led to a return to Argentina with River Plate. He subsequently appeared at the 1982 World Cup but failed to live up to his performance of four years earlier. Kempes ended his playing days back in Europe with Austrian club SV Salzburg.