- The first qualifying match played on artificial turf was between Canada and USA on 24 Sept 1976 in Vancouver, Canada.
- The first qualifying match played indoor was between USA and Canada on 20 Oct 1976 in Seattle, USA.
- During a first Round match on 3 June 1978 between Brazil and Sweden, Welsh referee Clive Thomas was widely criticized for his controversial decision to blow the final whistle while a corner-kick was being taken. Brazil's Zico headed a corner-kick into the Swedish net, but the referee disallowed the goal claiming that he had whistled to end the match while the ball was in the air. The final score remained at 1-1.
- Puruvian goalkeeper Ramon Quiroga was booked inside Poland's half of the field in a finals match on 18 June 1978, when he brought down a Polish player. The keeper habitually came out of his penalty area to 'help' his teammates in defense. Though on this occasion he went even further to the other half of the field and pulled down Polish player Grzegorz Lato with a rugby tackle.
- The only player to have scored a goal plus an own-goal in the same match is Ernie Brandts of Holland in the second phase match against Italy in 1978. The Dutch team won 2-1.
- Peruvian goalkeeper Ramon Quiroga accused of deliberately conceding some goals in their 6-0 loss to Argentina in a Second Round group match on 21 June 1978 was he was born in Argentina. Argentina had to beat Peru by a margin of at least 4 goals to reach the 1978 Final. No Peruvian people could believe that their admirable goalkeeper Quiroga would let in six goals in a match. When Quiroga came back home, he published a full letter in the newspapers pleading his innocence and explaining the reasons for Peru's humiliating defeat.
- The 1978 Final in Argentina had to be delayed as Dutch player Rene Van der Kerkhof had to go back to the dressing room for treatment. The Argentinean captain Daniel Passarella complained to the referee that the plaster on the Dutch player’s hand was dangerous to other players. Rene returned to the dressing room to have a soft cover placed over the plaster.
- In the Final, Argentina beat the Netherlands 3-1 after extra time.
World Cup Firsts
- The first team to win a qualifying match on penalty shootout was
Tunisia, which won 4:2 on penalties over Morocco after a 1:1 tie at home on 9 Jan 1977.
- The first country to withdraw from the World Cup due to the inability to pay the entrance fee was
Sri Lanka which withdrew from the 1978 World Cup.