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The story of the 1986 World Cup

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Chris Bevan | 06:19 UK time, Monday, 24 May 2010

Between now and the start of the World Cup, we will be looking back at previous tournaments with the help of some of the key characters and the BBC's archive footage. Today, we speak to the man who brought back the 1986 Golden Boot but was powerless to stop the best player on the planet from getting his hands on the main prize.

Mexico, May & June, 1986

It was a World Cup that produced many memorable matches and a succession of stunning goals but, while there were many stars of Mexico '86, the tournament will only ever belong to one man: Diego Armando Maradona.

At the peak of his powers and in formidable form, Maradona's individual contribution to Argentina's triumph was immense. The 25-year-old did not quite win the World Cup all on his own but at times - notably in a pulsating 2-1 win over England in the quarter-finals - it looked like he was capable of doing so.

In the space of four minutes during that match, the little maestro scored two of the most famous goals in footballing history. The first, notoriously, with his hand and the second, gloriously, at the end of a magical solo run.

England's players protested in vain about Maradona's illegal opener but even they recognised the magnificence of what followed. When I spoke to Gary Lineker about it a few days ago, he told me: "That second goal was the one time in my life where I felt like I ought to applaud the opposition. I didn't, because I was gutted, but it was undoubtedly the greatest goal I had ever seen."

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Diego's dribble was voted the 'goal of the century' in a global poll on the Fifa website in 2002 but it had to be extra-special just to be the best of a spectacular tournament, played out in searing temperatures in a country that had been devastated by a huge earthquake just a few months before.

As a nine-year-old tasting my first World Cup, the action seemed to be taking place on another planet, not just the other side of the world. My living room was lit up by a glut of eye-catching strikes, including a couple of corkers by hitherto-unknown Brazilian right-back Josimar, a net-buster for the Soviet Union by Vasily Rats and Manuel Negrete's scissor-kick for the hosts.

Most teams seemed hell-bent on attacking too. Outsiders Denmark, who had their own playmaker in Michael Laudrup and a goal-machine in the shape of the bustling Hellas Verona striker Preben Elkjaer, lived up to their 'Danish Dynamite' tag by sweeping through the toughest group with wins over Scotland and West Germany and, satisfyingly, the complete destruction of a cynical Uruguay team.

The Soviets also only knew one way to play; to go for goal, while Brazil's ageing superstars thrilled in the same way they had done in Spain four years earlier and European champions France, inspired by Michel Platini, were also still full of flair. Those three sides all cruised through to round two but not every nation was finding things so easy.

England, struggling to impose themselves in the sweltering heat in Monterrey, lost their first game to an unheralded Portugal side and were in deeper trouble after a 0-0 draw with surprise-package Morocco, during which they lost their injury prone captain Bryan Robson to a dislocated shoulder and had the usually mild-mannered Ray Wilkins sent off for throwing the ball at the referee.

"We were getting pilloried back home, which is the norm when England don't start particularly well," remembers Lineker. "But we weren't really aware of it at the time. We were cocooned in our hotel without any TV that was watchable or even a landline back to the UK so we were able to focus on our final match. We knew what we had to do - beat Poland to go through."

They did exactly that, with Lineker - sporting a cast to protect a broken wrist - scoring a first-half hat-trick to secure a 3-0 win that put them in the knockout stages, but Scotland and Northern Ireland were both on the plane home after failing to win any of their group games.

Scotland's exit was typically frustrating as they floundered to a 0-0 draw with 10-man Uruguay when a win would have seen them progress. The South American champions, by now renowned for their persistent foul play, had Jose Batista sent off after just 56 seconds for a wild challenge on Gordon Strachan, but easily held out to go through instead.

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland's last act was to be outclassed by a Brazil side who finished 4-0 victors in a game that featured Josimar's first blockbusting goal and a spontaneous galloping celebration - both of which were doubtless imitated, or at least attempted, in countless playgrounds and parks around the world at the earliest opportunity. They certainly were at my school.

The second round saw the end of the swashbuckling Soviets, who went down 4-3 to Belgium in a thriller, and also the self-destruction of the popular Danes, who led 1-0 against Spain but lost their way after a disastrous back-pass by Jesper Olsen gifted Emilio Butragueno an equaliser before half-time. Butragueno went on to score three more goals in the final 34 minutes as the Scandinavians departed in complete disarray and on the wrong end of a 5-1 tonking.

France were too good for the holders Italy in their first knockout match and survived an epic encounter with Brazil in Guadalajara in the quarter-finals that was cruelly decided on a penalty shoot-out. Sadly, not many modern-day World Cup games are as good as this one was, and it deserves more attention than I have space for here.

England were also on the move and, buoyed by their resurgence against Poland, easily brushed aside Paraguay with Lineker scoring two more goals. Their reward was a last-eight clash with Argentina; the only unbeaten team left in the tournament and the country Britain had fought in the Falklands War just four years earlier.

Against that simmering backdrop, and in front of an expectant crowd of 114,580 at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City, Argentina's number 10 took centre stage - but the game did not reach boiling point until just after half-time.

It was then that Maradona - who let's remember is just 5ft 4in - jumped to beat Peter Shilton to Steve Hodge's attempted back-pass and flicked the ball into the net with his left hand. Despite his attempt to disguise his actions, which he later described as "a little with the head of Maradona, and a little with the hand of God", it appeared an obvious handball to everyone but Tunisian referee Ali Bin Nasser, who allowed the goal to stand.

That was quickly followed by the moment when the kid from a Buenos Aires shanty town became a fully fledged footballing god. Picking up the ball inside his own half, Maradona - seemingly in slow-motion - beat four England players as he surged into the area, rounded Shilton and prodded home his shot.

England had little choice but to attack and the game took another twist when wingers John Barnes and Chris Waddle came off the bench. Barnes helped set up a tense finish when he crossed for Lineker to head home his sixth goal of the tournament with 10 minutes left, but England could not conjure up a second goal.

"Once we got back in the game, we were piling on the pressure," Lineker recalled. "We nearly equalised too - I still don't know how we didn't, but the ball somehow hit the back of Julio Olarticoechea's head when I got on the end of another cross. I'm still not sure how it didn't go in but, if it had done, we had the impetus and the momentum and we might have gone on to win the game.

"But could we have done anything to stop Maradona? No. We were not a team that could do man-to-man marking because that was not how the English played then. We had plans to close him down, which is what we endeavoured to do, but keeping him quiet is something else and, in any case, there is not much you can do if somebody punches the ball into the net.

"Without the first goal, would he have got the second? Probably not. But you have to recognise Argentina were the best side in the tournament and, in Diego, they had the outstanding player."

The consolation for Lineker was that his six goals brought him the Golden Boot and a lucrative move from Everton to Spain's La Liga. "It changed my life dramatically," he told me. "When I went to Mexico I was known a little bit in the UK, but I left known throughout the world as the top scorer in the World Cup, which is why I could go to Barcelona. That's what World Cups can do - they can make you or break you."

Eight years later, at USA '94, Maradona would find that out the hard way when his career was left in ruins by a failed drugs test. Here, however, he reigned supreme and scored two more superb goals to see off a stubborn Belgium side in the semi-finals and set up a showdown with West Germany in the final.

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The Germans had improved steadily since the start of their campaign but their excellence was in their efficiency and experience. They had the discipline to fight back from 2-0 down and equalise with 10 minutes to go but, although Maradona was kept quiet for most of the match by the attention of Lothar Matthaus, he rightly had the last word - finding a precisely weighted pass to release Jorge Burruchaga to score the winner.

After his disappointing showing in Spain four years earlier, Maradona had the trophy and also the legacy he craved. As Burruchaga would later explain: "He was determined to improve on the 1982 World Cup and the image he had left - he told us as much himself and his motivation rubbed off on all of us. Going into the tournament everyone thought Platini was the main man but Diego was simply magnificent, and proved he was the best in the world."

Watch the top 10 goals from Mexico 86 (UK only)
Watch the classic quarter-final between Brazil and France (UK only)Watch the seven-goal thriller between USSR and Belgium (UK only)
Watch the infamous "Hand of God" quarter-final (UK only)
Watch Argentina's victory over West Germany in the final (UK only)

Let me know your memories of 1986. On Wednesday - with the help of a famous striker with bulging eyes - we look back at 1990, when we saw Roger Milla's famous dance and Gazza's tears before the tournament ended with a German triumph.


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  • Comment number 1.

    There's a lot to be said for holding all the World Cup Finals in Mexico, as arguably the best two in living memory have been staged there.

    We saw the very best and very worst of Maradona in the match against England - his "Hand of God" goal was one of the biggest travesties in World Cup history, while his brilliant second goal was one of the greatest ever scored.

    It was wonderful to see a 41-year old Pat Jennings participate in the Finals for Northern Ireland and England's Gary Lineker finished as the tournament's top goalscorer.

    Full details and statistics from the 1986 World Cup Finals available here:

  • Comment number 2.

    The best World Cup there has been bar none. Great teams, great players, great goals and the best player of the last 30 years at his most brilliant best. To make a good side great and to beat top teams like Denmark, Brazil, France and Russia, not forgetting the Germans, shows just how great a player he was. It wasn't a one man team, Argentina had some very good players but he took them to another level. Anyone who wants to be considered a truly great player, needs to achieve something like that. Take note Rooney, Messi et al!

  • Comment number 3.

    We watched England v Paraguay in a mates bedroom. One goal celebration broke his lampshade...

  • Comment number 4.

    Josimar's goal was outstandinf...I too tried to replicate it on the playgrounds as a 10 yr old kid.

    It was also the first Worl Cup I had watched and I went from Agony to unbelievable shock at Maradona's "hand of God" and then his simply beautiful second goal.

    I remember Trevor Steven being the stand out player for England in that my opinion.

  • Comment number 5.

    This was the first world cup I remember, I was 9. I particularly remember three games.

    1) Gary Linekar vs Poland. What a truly great hat-trick under pressure of elimination that Linekar scored; not spectacular but clinical. I think those goals typified Linekar's performances for England: goals, goals and more goals. He was always in the box sniffing out chances and I don't think there are many of his ilk playing the game any more.

    2) England vs Argentina. That Maradona's second goal is overlooked in England is scandalous, it is probably the greatest goal ever scored in a world cup. However lets be honest he was a cheat for the first goal. Who knows what would have happened had the "hand of god" never happened. I don't think England would have won the cup but you never know.

    3) The final. I remember as a kid being really disappointed that Maradona wasn't as dominant in this game as in games earlier in the tournament, however as Chris said he did still make the decisive contribution to the game.

    I think most important to point out to younger readers is that the English game at this time was not very skillful, we didn't have players like Cristiano Ronaldo in the first division so to see Maradona and the other south american players plus guys like Platini was a real eye opener about how good the game can be.

    Roll on the 1990 blog.

  • Comment number 6.

    Each of these blogs is another walk down memory lane - not just to do with the football but life stages. So 1986, newly married, working shifts didn't see as much of this one as previously. I have no memory of the France-Brazil quarter final, what a thriller to have missed, but those of you growing up in this multi-channel/Internet age, that's how it used to be, miss the one highlight show and it was gone!

    My memories are of Scots failure again, Alex Ferguson may have the midas touch at club level, but his one stint as an International manager with a reasonable Scotland squad was disappointing, outclassed by Denmark and West Germany and then bullied out of it by Uruguay - it wasn't really the memorial to Jock Stein we had hoped for.

    England had a good side that should not have struggled the way it did - but the injury to Robson and Wilkins sending off, seemed to force Robson's hand and the players that came in (Reid, Steven and Beardsley) gave them a better balance. My memory of their match with Poland is listening to reports over a Police radio whilst trying to sort out a tricky domestic! The Argentina match was a thriller - wonder what would have hapenned if Lineker had copied Maradona's example and thumped that late chance into the goal?

    The final was also watched in snatches whilst trying not to do any work! - the bits I saw looked thrilling, but who are you supposed to support when Argentina play West Germany! I did see enough to note that this was the one game where Maradona did not carry the team, the space his presence created opened up for the rest of the team and they came out of his shadow.

    Good times - loving this blog

  • Comment number 7.

    Argentina were by no means the best team. Far from it. But they had the best player and he carried them through. Without Maradona, Argentina would not have made the last 8.

    I remember crying when England lost to Argentina (i was only 6) and after Brazil lost to France on penalties.

    Hopefully there will be no tears this year! COME ON ENGLAND!!!

  • Comment number 8.

    I'm sorry but Diego was a cheat. You can't bend the truth in any other way, even if it suits the myth. Even his 'greatest game', his most memorable, the 2-1 win against England, was soured by his dishonesty.

    For this reason, despite his outstanding natural ability, he's not the greatest ever. People are attracted to flawed heroes, but Pele and Cruyff were also great sportsman. People say Cruyff never won the World Cup, but his talent was the equal of Maradona and he was a real sportsman.

    It's not the comment of a bitter englishman, but if you look at Maradona's career his temperament was always in question and people look back at him now through rose-tinted glasses. People say Argentina were almost a one man team at 1986 but throughout my time watching football, Argentina have always had a talented generation of players, even if their national team at the time haven't won the World Cup. I'm sure this was also the case in 1986, even if Maradona was the player who stood out.

    There are great players who won things without cheating. Maradona the greatest player ever? He's not even the greatest Argentine player ever. That would be Alfredo Di Stefano.

    I hope Lionel Messi has a great tournament in 2010, and if England can't win it then I would happy to see Argentina win it (fairly) and Messi be hailed as the greatest player ever, and hailed as a great sportsman and example to youngsters everywhere. We need true heroes, proper icons for kids to look up to, not drug cheats.

  • Comment number 9.

    I would have been 7. I remember it being a blazingly hot day, watching Brazil v France and being mesmerised by the samba beats of the Brazil fans.

    Josimar's swerving 30 yarder for Brazil, Michael Laudrup dazzling Uruguay to pieces, Lineker, Soviet Union (Belanov/Zavarov), Joel Bats (great name!) but my main memory is Luis Fernandez scoring the winning penalty against Brazil followed by a celebration equal to Tardelli's in 1982.

    After that, I was bought 'Hero - The Story of the 1986 World Cup' - but mostly about Maradona for obvious reasons. Narrated by Michael Caine, some amazing cinematic footage, behind-the-scenes stuff...brilliant memories.

  • Comment number 10.

    First world cup I remember (helped retrospectively by the fantastic official FIFA film Hero). Everything a world cup should be about- exotic location, sweltering heat, oversized nets, England controversy, dirty Uruguayans, Barry Davies commentary, and the "little squat man" Maradona.

    Younger generations will never get to experience world cups like this anymore what with the TV globalisation of football, but up until '86 and possibly '90, you had never really seen any of the mythical Brazilian team before, you had never really seen Maradona in full flow. We didn't get that much football on our tiny TV's.

    I do remember some extremely dull games in the group phase, but I remember some great ones- Belgium-USSR, France-Brazil, and possibly the greatest final since '66.

    Kudos to Mexico for staging that tournament in the wake of the earthquake. Don't forget that '86 was initially meant for Colombia who had to withdraw as host nation.

  • Comment number 11.

    Was actually in England during this WC and I distinctly remember a 'MaraCONa' headline from one of your many tabloids.Remember a still cold Zico,coming on to take and miss a pen during regulation against France.Also Maradona scoring an even better solo goal against Belgium.Maybe all World Cups should be held in Mexico.

  • Comment number 12.

    I can remember going into school the day after Englands loss to the Argies, and everyone was talking about the "hand of god" goal, but even as a 9 year old all i wanted to talk about was the greatest goal ever. I'm now 33 and i'm yet to see one that comes close to it.
    I'm English, by the way, but Diego is still my idol. Pele won 3 World Cups, and Diego only this one, but take Pele out of the Brazil teams of 58,62 and 70 and they'd still be going home with the trophy. Take Maradona out of this Argentina side and they'd have struggled in their group games.

  • Comment number 13.

    Great memories of this World Cup. If was in my teens and were watching games in the middle of the night trying to stay awake not to miss any of the fantastic action. I was heartbroken when Denmark and Sovjet Union went out in the 2nd round. They really played some fantastic attacking football! I remember that Belgium twice equalized the Sovjet lead and that both goals looked offside(especially the 2-2 by Ceulemans). And what had happened if Jesper Olsen of Denmark hadn't made that BIG misstake against Spain? He was serving Butragueno an open goal just before halftime to gift Spain the equalizer....I think that Denmark could have gone far in this tournament without that miss.

    Brazil - France in the QF is one of the best games I have ever seen at any stage of football. Pity that one of the teams had to go home. West Germany went to the final without playing that well(like they did in 1982) but they deserve credit for the fighting spirit that always takes them far.

    The England - Argentina game is of course remembered for the 2 Maradona goals but what if John Barnes had played from the start in that game? He assisted Lineker for his goal and almost another in the end. He was giving England another attaching option that were scaring the Argentinians.

    I also remember that Uruguay got an official warning from FIFA not to play as rough as they did. Amazing!

    A great world cup with a deserved winner in Maradona/Argentina.

  • Comment number 14.

    always bothers me the selective memory of the english ( going on for decades about maradona cheating whilst forgetting that in 2 world cup matches against argentina, 1998 and 2002, Owen dived to win penalties !!)..

    before england made it 2-1.. argentina should have been 4-0 up not 2-0, such was their dominance !

  • Comment number 15.

    I was 11 years old and was just finishing Primary School in 1986. The school organised a field trip to Edinburgh for my year and our last night there was the day of England's game against Poland. Being from NI and in Scotland, we were confident that Poland were about to beat England, but it didn't work out like that! We watched NI being destroyed by Brazil on the ferry home the next day and Josimar's goal was something that still sticks in my mind 24 years later!

    As was said earlier, this was Maradona's tournament, a lot of people claim he won it single handed and while he did make a huge difference, Argentina did have some other talented players such as Valdano, Burruchaga and Ruggeri but clearly without Maradona that team would have been quarter-finalists at best. With regards to his second goal against England, I've always had the feeling that he only did it to try and take attention away from the Hand of God.

    Some of the other teams in that tournament were also exceptionally gifted, the brilliant Danes who looked like possible winners until they imploded against Spain, the Soviet Union with Zavarov and Belanov banging in the goals and Vasiliy Rats' screamer against France and Belgium who had Jan Ceulemans and a young Enzo Scifo.

    The France v Brazil game is one of the best I've ever seen, one moment that stands out for me was one of the French penalties, taken by either Bellone or Stopyra which hit the post, but rebounded off the prone goalie Carlos and into the net sparking protests from the Brazilians. The French were arguably a better team than in 82, I can remember a brilliant goal from their group game featuring Platini and Tigana passing the ball between them as they ran through the opposition before Platini played in Tigana for his first, and possibly only international goal. Sadly they were smothered by a disciplined German side in the semis.

    I think it should also be mentioned that the organisation of the tournament was a bit lacking. Mexico had to step in a few years earlier when Colombia pulled out and wasn't there a famous cock up in Brazil's first game when they played the wrong anthem?!

  • Comment number 16.

    'Josimar's first blockbusting goal and a spontaneous galloping celebration - both of which were doubtless imitated, or at least attempted, in countless playgrounds and parks around the world at the earliest opportunity'

    Absolutely. You'd think that a school in Belfast would hold some bitterness towards the Brazilian, but not a bit of it. What a goal, and I and all my peers were all Josimar the next day!

  • Comment number 17.

    2) England vs Argentina. That Maradona's second goal is overlooked in England is scandalous

    Funny but I've never come accross it being overlooked. In fact it's probably the one thing that prevents Maradona from being a figure of real hate in England. As much as the first was dispised and clearly people wonder what might have been, the second goal on it's own was enough for people to think that they were beaten by one of the best ever. Going down to that is no disgrace.

    Ask most England fans what the most famous goal they have seen is and they will say either the 4rd or 4th in 1966 or the hand. Ask them about the best and most will say the run (though some insist on Gazza vs. Scotland or the 4th dutch goal in 96).

  • Comment number 18.

    Ahh Mexico 86, I was 6 at the time and this was the first time I got to experience the joy and heartache that comes with following England. I can only remember bits and pieces but it's left a lasting effect on me. Wilkins getting sent off, Linekar's hat-trick and of course the Argentina match. If there was one moment in my life where the phrase "life isn't fair" truly hit home it was here. Anyway best not to dwell on that "goal" now, it's been almost 25 years!

    Most enduring memory for me though was how I wanted my mum to put a bandage on my arm so I could look like Linekar but she wouldn't. So I went outside to play anyway in my England kit and pretend to be my hero, as I went to run out the gate into the fields I slipped on all the acorns in our garden and cut all my arm up. The only thing that stopped my crying was when my mum said I could have a bandage on just like Linekar. I've never been so happy to have hurt myself in all my life!

    It will always be classed as one of my favourites as it was my first one (as I was only 2 during the '82 WC I don't really count that).

    P.s. Chris, absolutely loving these blogs!

  • Comment number 19.

    I could watch Maradonas' second goal all day long. I think it's so good because even though he has beat 4 players in a 50 yard run he still has the composure to round the keeper. Brilliance.

    Lineker had a brilliant tournament too. He was a world class striker. Old school goal scorer.

  • Comment number 20.

    This too was the first World Cup I remember fairly well.

    England played well after their usual slow start to most finals, considering the sweltering heat over there, but we had a great manager in Sir Bobby. That rogue Maradona was obviously the villain for us, but we had to admire the skills he had.

    There is always the question of "what if" we had beat them, and then a similar story in Italia '90 and so on. Let's hope we can do even better this time.

    Lets hope certain other very talented players around Rooney raise their games, as this will probably be their last World Cup chance as well.

    C'mon England!

  • Comment number 21.

    Because of what happened with Maradonna's first goal I try to tell myself that his second goal wasn't that great and it was more down to bad defending. Then I see it again like I just did and I'm left mesmerised once more. Phenomenal.

  • Comment number 22.

    "I think most important to point out to younger readers is that the English game at this time was not very skillful, we didn't have players like Cristiano Ronaldo in the first division so to see Maradona and the other south american players plus guys like Platini was a real eye opener about how good the game can be.

    Roll on the 1990 blog."

    #5 I think that is just not true - there were plenty of great players in the first division. Waddle, Barnes (who scored a spectacular winner in a Brazil friendly), Strachan, Lineker, Hoddle, Beardsley, Robson were all great skilfull players at the time. England had a great team in that tournament with players all from the first division. For sure Maradona was brilliant as was Platini and they were the two great players playing in Europe but there was some real talent in England at the time.

  • Comment number 23.

    Subterranean I think your letting your bitterness taint your memory! Maradona was a truly stunning talent. There was one league match where he held the ball for a full 90 seconds without a touch from another player. The man was a genius - flawed for sure but he was a brilliant footballer. I can't compare him to Pele as I never saw him except in clips but Maradona is the best player I have seen live. Not sure why he played his football for Napoli though. Maybe at a top side he would have had club honours to match his talent.

  • Comment number 24.

    At 23. United Dreamer, if you read my post carefully I do not question the talent. I question the man.

  • Comment number 25.

    All footballers cheat.

    Now that is out of the way can people please admire the unique talent that was Diego Maradona.

  • Comment number 26.

    I remember being a six-year-old desperate to be allowed to stay up to watch England's last group game against Poland. My mum wouldn't let me but promised to let me know what happened as soon as I got up for school in the morning. As I awoke the next day there was a little note blu-tacked to the ladder down from my bunk-bed saying 'ENGLAND 3 POLAND 0'. I don't think I've felt such ecstasy since for a game I did not see.

  • Comment number 27.

    United Dreamer, I think the reason he played for Napoli was that, at a truly big club, there would have been too many other egos present and the fact he had to deal with those was one of the reasons he left Barcelona. At Napoli, because it was a smaller pond, he was the biggest fish in it by some distance and could dictate his will more effectively. Napoli were simply grateful that they were winning titles.

  • Comment number 28.

    first worldcup i saw on the telly, and it was great to watch
    things i remember are offcourse everything maradona did in that tournament, the brilliant sovjets who whooped hungary so badly, they still havent recovered
    the mexican wondergoal and laudrups waltz through the uruguay defence who was known as the hardest defence of all teams
    spain that had butragueno were expected to do very well got beat 5-1 by denmark, will be interersting to see if theyre worldcup form has finally improved
    many memorable moments

  • Comment number 29.

    1986 was the year I finished my degree, and amongst the footballing memories is the fact that this tournament, with its late night matches, extra times and occasional penalty shoot-outs kept me from revising for my finals in the early hours of the morning! Miraculously, I still came out of it with a good degree, having been able to consume as many of the matches as possible.

  • Comment number 30.

    Serie A: 1987, 1990
    Coppa Italia: 1987
    UEFA Cup: 1989
    Italian Super Cup: 1990

    I've seen worse club honours! ; ) For me, his Napoli days are what made him. He transformed that club.

  • Comment number 31.

    oopsie how things can blur after all that time, spain beat denmark 5-1 hehe

  • Comment number 32.

    #27 - either that or the mafia;)

    Subterranean - you mentioned that you thought Di Stefano and Cruyff were better players or his equal in talent. OK for sure I never saw Di Stefano but I saw enough of Cruyff to judge Maradona a superior player.

  • Comment number 33.

    I preferred the 82 World Cup - purely for the Brazil team of Eder, Socrates, Falcao, Zico, Careca - most exciting football I've ever seen, just ahead of the Holland side of Euro 88

  • Comment number 34.


    I believe Maradona had a generally unhappy time in Barcelona where he clashed regularly with management so the point about egos is well made. Also he suffered illness (hepatitis) and injury (a broken leg from a terrible challenge). All in all I am sure he was glad to leave.

  • Comment number 35.

    Thanks for all your comments/memories so far folks... here's another reason why Mexico 86 was (in my opinion!) the best World Cup... the BBC and ITV theme music was both brilliant too.

    BBC World Cup Grandstand 86:

    ITV World Cup theme:

    I'm off down the park at lunch to recreate that Josimar goal v N.Ireland one more time...

  • Comment number 36.

    Great world cup!!! But some pretty late kickoffs for an 11 year old boy to watch all the games, which I had been able to do as a 7 year old 4 years before. Most notably the Scotland- Denmark game. I was gutted when I woke up and found out the score.
    Some fantastic matches. Maybe due to the fact that I was only 11 and hadn't seen the glut of football I have now, but so many games were captivating. I remember the feeling of emptiness I had as Brazil failed again in a World cup reliving the heartache I felt in 82. A day later Argentina ousted England with Maradona in full flow and I cheered up considerably. The 1st goal was hilarious: the scything back pass by Hodge, the blatant hand ball by maradona and the fact Shilton was out jumped by a little man. Followed by the indignation of the players and commentators, a great sporting moment.
    The 2nd goal speaks for itself, amazing skill!! Consider the quality of the pitch too, it is no carpet like, watered emirates its a hard bobbly pitch yet he still keeps the ball under such close control.
    Maradona was a fantastic player and it was a privilige to watch him in his prime in 1986.

  • Comment number 37.

    I still maintain that if Maradonna hadn't got away with such blatant cheating to 'score' his first goal he wouldn't have scored the second.

    After getting away with something which everbody except the referee and linesman didn't see the England players were afraid to go anywhere near him, hence the England defence parting like The Red Sea for the second goal. You get the feeling that even the cleanest of clean tackles on him would have seen Maradonna go down very easily resulting in a dangerous free kick or penalty.

    Can't wait until the review of the 1994 tournament when Maradonna's true clours emerge!

  • Comment number 38.

    24 years on, Maradona's 2nd goal against England is still the best I've ever seen; and I've seen a lot since.

  • Comment number 39.

    Diego was unreal. Unplayable. In saying that, Lothar Mattheus did an excellent job man marking him (what a player he was when you think about it-he was more known as an attacking midfield player but what a great defensive job he did too).

    Brazil v France was an epic and I read somewhere that Alex Ferguson for years made some of his youth players watch this game to learn how one touch football and movement can unlock a defence. Both the French and Brazilians put on a passing masterclass that afternoon.

    Uruguay were so dirty it was actually quite funny. Unless you had to play them! FIFA even had a meeting in which kicking them out was on the agenda!

    The Germans were just being German. Playing pretty poor stuff but always doing just enough. England too negative (as usual). The Soviets unlucky Jan Culemans scored when he was 10 yards offside. I saw an interview with the great Russian striker Igor Belanov in which he said the Russians lost all motivation when yet another stupid decision was made. They put up with a lot that night against Belgium.

    Brazil good but they didn't seem to know if they should 'stick or twist'. After '82 the coaches wanted them to defend more but the players they had didn't really know how to yet. Josimar and Junior were hardly defensive! Think Walcott and Giggs as your full backs and you'll get my drift.

    Biggest memories? Throwing a packet of biscuits at the TV when Maradona scored with his left hand. Mum shouting at me and sending me to bed as soon as the full time whistle went. Vasily Rats incredible goal v France from 30 yards. I swear I still haven't seen a shot like that since. I can't find this goal on youtube. It's a must see strike.

    And of course the little maestro, Diego Armando Maradona. It was just his time.

  • Comment number 40.

    I was aged 6, Mum and Dad would not let me stay up for the England Argentina match. Can remember watching the whole game sat on the staircase looking through a small glass panel in the living room door.

    If I ever have a 6 year old and it's World Cup time, I'll pump him full of caffeine and let him stay up late!

    Still don't see the fuss over Maradona's 2nd goal... is it really so much better than say Ryan Giggs vs Arsenal, or Alan McInally vs Millwall? Or am I just bitter over the handball still?!

  • Comment number 41.

    # 22 - United Dreamer

    You've disected my post so I thought I'd do the same for you.

    Of the names you mentioned:

    Waddle, Barnes, Strachan, Lineker, Hoddle, Beardsley, Robson

    I'd discount Strachan, Lineker and Robson straight away as I don't agree they were amazing skillful players. Great players yes, particularly skillful - I'm talking world class here - no.

    I agree that Waddle, Barnes, Hoddle and Beardsley were great skillful players in the first division however overall the english game was much more workmanlike than it was say in the 60's, early 70's or in the modern era. I'd say that it's only with the arrival of the likes of Eric Cantona and David Ginola in the early 90's that we've started to see a shift towards having really skillful players in England. Players who don't have to track back, if you like.

    It's also interesting to note that the most skillful player you mentioned (Glenn Hoddle - note I'm a biased Spurs fan) won far fewer England caps than he should have done. I think the reason for this is because that type of player was not really trusted in those days because they didn't look like they were "giving 110%" while the likes of Robson - who though a great player was more based about power than skill - were more successful internationally.

    I'd love to hear your honest thoughts to this post.

  • Comment number 42.

    Ah 1986! I was revising for my A levels at the time, which meant that I watched every minute of every game (and still got to my first choice Uni!). For those reasons it remains my fondest World Cup.
    The part of this World Cup that everyone forgets is the role of France. They were the reigning European champions, played stupendously and knocked out Brazil. They had a great team but came up against Germany for their second successive WC semi-final. I think the whole world wanted Platini v Maradona in the final but Germany won through in a dogged, 'professional' performance after taking an early lead and holding out for the whole game. They eventually scored a second when France had given up.
    It was a great competition with great stories, lots of goals and, of course, Maradona. The Argentine defender that kept the ball out of the goal from Lineker was awesome. It was the single best defensive play I have ever seen. In our house we thought it was a goal and it took several replays to figure out that it had not gone in.
    We should also mention the role of John Barnes. He showed fantastic ability in his short time on the pitch, creating one goal and that second chance for Lineker.
    If 2010 comes close for entertainment, we will all be happy.

  • Comment number 43.

    • They should award all World Cups to Mexico because they just seem to stage a cracker. Mexico 86 had everything, great goals, great games an abundance of great players and perhaps the greatest of them all to add the cherry on the top!
    Platini the orchestrator of the great French midfield, Zico, Socrates and Careca with Brazil, Matthaus, Rummenigge, Voller W. Germany, the Mexicans with Hugo Sanchez, Spain's Butragueno, Denmark’s Laudrup & Elkjaer, Poland bonziek, Lineker, Beardsley for England, Francescolli for the Uruguayans, the inaugural steps of Vialli for Italy, Choi Soon Ho of S. Korea, Zavarov, Belanov & Protasov for Russia, Ceulemans & Scifo of Belgium and of course Diego Maradona Argentina. Has any World Cup finals had so many teams being blessed with a star player(s)?
    Whatever tunnel vision Englishman or Brazilian may argue there is no real debate that this was a moment when a true great emerged and it should be celebrated. The second goal against England is always highlighted but this was just the best of several runs through defences Maradona made during the tournament, Uruguay in the second rnd and Belgium in the semi's all witnessed similar feats.
    The hand of god goal can be clung too by some as a way of protecting Pele's throne or England’s failure to advance but the only cheat would of been if such a complete mesmerising individual display had not garnered the trophy. Pele will always play saint to Maradona's devil but Pele is not foreign to having his halo slip during his glittering career too. Maradona's misfortune is that he did it against the English and no media clings so vehemently for an excuse for lack of progress in order to hide their own short comings. Against any other nation it would of disappeared like Owen's dive, Henry's handball, Zidane's stamp to name but three instances where someone’s cheat has gained an advantage.

  • Comment number 44.

    It only seemed like yesterday but then I realised it was ages ago, as Liverpool used to win League titles back then and ruin my school days.

  • Comment number 45.

    Wasn't Peter Reid pulled back whist breaking out of the England half against the Argies, with the score at 2-1, and no foul given? I'm sure that was in that game. I do realise it was along time ago, but can anyone verify that?

    On Maradonna, undoubtedly a skilled player, but a cheat, not only on the field, but off it with drugs as well. Some have mentioned a similarity with George Best, (addictions etc.) who is constantly (and wrongly IMO) overlooked in these 'greatest player' debates, but he was an honest player on the field. I have played footy drunk, and with a hangover, and it is in no way 'performance enhancing'. Something quite the opposite to illegal class A drugs.

    I cannot admire a person who so utterly abused his talent and the position it afforded him, and calling him a hero or role model is ridiculous.

  • Comment number 46.

    It was a great world cup. Most of the players were still a mystery, Brazilians with exotic names who were amazing. Great penalty shoot-outs - with France, and all delivered in that slightly fuzzy, distorted sound, which made you know it was from far away. Vasily Rats - a blast from the past. The Russians were like that then and lived up to their Ivan Drago, Rocky IV stereotypes, like machines that could blast the ball harder than anyone else! I still find it amusing that Argentina had someone with the surname 'Brown' in their final team, if I remember rightly!

  • Comment number 47.

    Every time I see Maradona's second goal I still think it was an own goal. Maybe my eyes deceive me, but I'm sure the defender (Terry Fenwick?) actually puts the finishing touch to it.

    It's interesting how the footage shown of this goal doesn't show how Argentina actually got posession in the first place. A blatant foul.

    Still, it was a piece of magic that I will never forget and I still have ITV's 'Aztec Gold' as my ringtone. (now you have the title, you can download it!)

  • Comment number 48.

    @ 14: couldn't agree with you more.

    But more importantly, how Jarred Christmas does Chris look

    Wait a minute, Chris, Christmas... ah I see!!!

  • Comment number 49.

    #46 Yes, Jose Luis Brown a big centre half who scored the first goal in the final. Apparently he was descended from Irish immigrants. There was a lot of Irish emigration to Argentina and Chile in the past and a lot of people in those countries still retain Irish/English family names.

  • Comment number 50.

    Fantastic world cup. King Diego - Diego Maradona to most of you - was the best player by far in the tournament.

    Brazil should never have lost to France and had they won they would have beaten Germany who had no psychological hold like theone they had over the French. Zico played the pass of the tournament and missed the penalty that resulted. Branco was swashbuckling LB while Josimar was a replacemnt for the RB who got injured against Algeria - can't remember his name now. Junior was now in midfield alongside Elzo, Alemao, Socrates and the young Silas. Their first goal that Careca finished with aplomp in that quater-final was the best one-touch passing you are ever likely to see in a world cup match and at the pace it happened.

    Why do the English forget/ignore Owen's two shameless dives against Argentina? England scored from both penalties so they were just as bad as King Diego's handball at the Azteca.

    It was sheer traversty that the Russians lost to belgium. Disgraceful officiating worse than what the Tunisian was to do later in the Eng/Ar game.

    What I always remember about the final was the performance of Hector Enrique who was monumental as King Diego was subdued somewhat by Mathaus. That man covered so much ground in the Mexcan heat it was unbelieveable. Not forgetting Brown playing on despite a dislocated shoulder. He just tore a hole in his shirt, stuck his thumb into the hole and got on with it. Proper man!! Henry chickened out of last final even after Zidane had been sent-off and his team needed him while the Italians feared him citing some mysterious injury!!

  • Comment number 51.


    ...all delivered in that slightly fuzzy, distorted sound, which made you know it was from far away.


    Ha ha! Correct! If you go back to '78 an '82 it apperared that Motty and co were talking down a telephone and the contrast on the tv seemed utlra bright. The commentators seemed to be closer to the crowd and you could hear their reactions. Now they are all in a press stand and you never pick it up.

    They should do the same for every world cup. It just made the whole thing seem bigger and more important for some reason.

  • Comment number 52.

    Spain '82 was better for me. The best Brazil team I've ever seen. The match between Brazil and Italy was simply amazing. Paolo Rossi the legend.
    Having said that Mexico '86 was also a brilliant world cup and I remember feeling, along with many others, that had England beaten Argentina that day, they would have went on to win the world cup. Belgium although good had played above themselves, and Germany were lucky to even be in the final, and not many people gave them any chance of beating Argentina.
    Although I'm English, I've never really held any resentment towards Maradona for his hand of God goal, and is easily the best player of all time. If you take the time to watch him play in some of his games at Napoli etc you will see Maradona doing things that Messi could only dream about. People talk about Messi being the best player in the world ever, never in a million years. Even if Maradona hadnt performed as well as he did at this world cup, he still would be the best player in the world ever. Buy a Maradona DVD and you will see for yourselves.

  • Comment number 53.

    Agreed about the comments on the France v Brazil match. What a game! If France had won this game inside 90 minutes, or if Zico had put that penalty away, either of these teams would've beaten the Germans in the Semi-finals. As it was, i think that bad luck and a lack of gas in the tank of the French, helped West Germany in the last four.

  • Comment number 54.

    England's Mexico 86 quarter-final with Argentina is the stuff of legend. Steve Hodge wasn't attempting a back pass for the first goal - if he was in that manner he needed a darn good talking to. It was a mishit a clearance which then looped high into the England penalty area.

    Interestingly, the referee that day was officiating in what turned out to be his first and last World Cup match. I wonder why that was.

    As for Maradona's second, it's clearly one of the greatest goals in history though I still prefer Brazil's fourth in 1970. Amazing how both took place in the same satdium, the Azteca, at the same end of the ground. Despite what had happened earlier, everyone had to accept the goal as an act of pure footballing genius. It almost makes the handball acceptable because otherwise the second goal simply wouldn't have happened.

    Almost acceptable, but not quite.

  • Comment number 55.

    To those who are calling Maradonna a drug cheat.

    I have a great deal of sympathy for the player when something as insignificant as marijuana use is jumped on by his critics. Recreational drug use has no benefits in sporting performance. It shouldn't even be tested.

  • Comment number 56.

    Oh for me the BEST WC to date. Probably because at 11 years old i was a child whose emotions hadnt matured, but still, looking back, i can see why it was so wonderful an event.

    The Maradona wonder goal is still, for me, the best goal i have ever seen scored.

    The team who desperatly should have gone on further with the quality they had were the Soviets. Terrible line calls vs Belgium with an offside goal. (Can i also say that the USSR were NOT Russia). Most of the USSR team (about 9 or 10 regulars out of the 11 and indeed most of the entire squad) of that tournament and indeed in the late 80s-90 were UKRAINIAN)

    And game of tournament, nay even THEE best game i have ever seen (bar Belgium v USSR) has to be France v Brazil in the QF.

    That, for me, as a kid is what cemented my love for the beautiful game.

  • Comment number 57.

    The team who desperatly should have gone on further with the quality they had were the Soviets. Terrible line calls vs Belgium with an offside goal.


    First of all, I agree with you. The Soviets were really hard done by. Maybe worse than the English (and I'm English). If you see that game again (Belgium 4 USSR 3) you can actually see the Soviets (ok, mainly Ukrainians!) give up after strange decision after strange decision. Cullemanns was 10 yards offside and another goal looked offside too. Also tne Soviets were given nothing in terms of fouls for and themselves were flagged offsie on at least 3 occassions when clearly onside. To me, there was a hidden agenda in that game.

    Possibly the worst refeering in world cup history and it never gets talked about.

  • Comment number 58.

    I felt obliged to write after reading what can only be described as narrow mindedness by PEKSTER11. Maradonna CHEATED. FACT. At a guess I would say you aren't English with your statement! The 1986 world cup was special. Maradonna was special BUT he cheated. Bringing Owen into question is not what this thread was about. So if you're not English have a good world cup supporting any team other than England with your bitterness! COME ON ENGLAND FOOTBALLS COMING HOME!

  • Comment number 59.

    I've found it!

    For anyone wanting to see Vasily Rat's it is.

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 60.

    To me, there was a hidden agenda in that game.


    I agree and unfortunately not for the 1st time in a WC have their been some blatantly bad decisions (remember 2002?) Its the only reason i believe FIFA never seriously consider using technology as FIFA have an agenda in the ranks.

    And am now listening to the '86 theme tune, Aztec Gold on Youtube which is another one for the memories especially as its a hot day today and i remember the '86 summer being very hot back then..

  • Comment number 61.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 62.

    The first World Cup I can claim to have been alive for but too young to have remembered any of it.

    First thing I heard about that tournament? The Hand of God. Even now I'll use that incident to sum up our footballing relationship with the Argies. "they'll never forgive us for the Falklands war and we'll never forgive them for the Hand of God".

    I think for most English football fans, that is still the incident that defines the tournament, and one of the incidents that defines 1986 as a whole. Even for me, when I hear/see footage of that incident in a "what year was this" quix - it's just too easy.

    It wasn't untill the run up to the '94 WC that I found out much more about the '86 tournament. Remember being pleasently surprised about Lineker getting the Golden boot that time around.

    Say what you will about Maradona's attitude to fair play though, from a historical perspective, I can't think of anyone who would have been a better individual player at the time.

  • Comment number 63.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 64.

    Happy times! My memories of Spain '82 are cloudy but the Mexican fiesta was unforgettable. Many people have highlighted the elements that made this WC such a popular one, but for me it had everything: epic games, brillant players, and outrageous goals. I can still visualize Negrete's effort...

    In addition to Maradona, it was great to see the likes of Belgium, Denmark, and the USSR shake things up! FIFA got lucky because Columbia were meant to host in 1986 but pulled out, and Mexico delivered. Will the same happen to Poland + Ukraine for Euro 2012?

  • Comment number 65.

    can you please tell me why my posts keep being removed
    cause i dont see it?
    unless claiming that the video clearly shows the russians werent hard done by is against the house rules

  • Comment number 66.

    Agree with 8. And it should be a lesson to those who still think that winning is everything that, while Argentina's two WC titles are seriously questioned, people look back with great nostalgia at Hungary'54, Holland '74 and Brazil'82. So it really is about 'how you play the game'.
    Re 41, I agree that the conservative views of the English establishment held the game back for a long time. We had our skillful players - remember Rodney Marsh, for example - but as you pointed out, they were always criticised for not being 'complete' (ie: not tackling back and covering). With modern fitness levels, you see players like Lennon doing just that, but the demands take their toll in other ways - look at the injuries of modern players; they're at the limit.
    Anyway, caution cost us in '82 and did so again in '86, when we delayed far too long in bringing Barnes on. His first touch left his marker for dead and Lineker scored. Moments later he did it again and Lineker only failed to equalise because he was fouled and the penalty wasn't given. So the difference in the end was that cynical 'hand of God'. No wonder we are resentful and consider Maradona a very flawed genius.

  • Comment number 67.

    OMG i read some very strange remarks heredo you really think the fifa arranged it so that tiny belgium could get a free pass against USSR?

    that explains why every worldcup we get the decision against us (remember germany in 94 and brazil in 02)because we have such an influence and have you looked at the goals recently?

    the first offside could (if it had been offside) not have been more than an inch or so and even now in case off doubt you give the benefit to the attacker the second one with ceulemans he is at the time of his shot a yard behind the last defender (not ten yards offside as some people quote here) and you see him moving clearly towards goal on a pass of 40yards while the guy who should be defending him does nothing more then forget to mark him and puts his hand up as last effort to do something

    i am not saying that they werent offside (the images dont show a clear off or onside ) but i can say they werent as blatant as some pretend it to bethe fact is that the russians twice lead against a country 30times less populated then themselves and they still managed to lose

    if you dont believe me check out the vids on youtube

  • Comment number 68.

    I think putting on these round-ups is one of the greatest things the BBC website has ever shown. I can't wait for the next one now with Italia 90, I may have to get the little footy out to recreate Platt's goal against Belgium!

  • Comment number 69.

    To this day, I choke on my food when I hear of anyone refer to Belgium, all due apologies to the Belgians out there. I was 8 in Russia, and I'm still sick over that game. The catastrophe was made worse by the fact that by the time the tape delay was on everyone in the country knew the score. I heard it in tennis practice that morning and completely refused to believe it. I watched all the way to the end of overtime hoping that the radio and everyone else had gotten it wrong. (just watched the highlights for the first time since '86--one awful offside call and three episodes of terrible defending from the Russians--can't really claim to be a top side with that sort of marking...)

    There was so much more though--Scotland-Uruguay, after which for reasons I still don't understand I became a Gordon Strachan fan and adopted the nickname 'Strachan' on the playground; Denmark's pot-smoking side that made me a Denmark fan for life; my grandpa, who refused to give up any score when he knew it, and he knew all the scores being retired and listening to the radio all day (he would not tell me the final score of Denmark-Uruguay when it was already 5:0 Denmark (I think it finished 6:0.) Watching England-Argentina on a black-and-white screeching TV in the lobby of a delapidated seaside hotel and being absolutely gutted for England... seeing France run into the German wall, something that even to this 8 year-old seemed inevitable... Lineker's cast.. Platini and Zico both missing penalties...German crazed comeback in the final and Maradona's pass to Burruchaga.. memories.

  • Comment number 70.

    #55 Thomas F.

    A 15-month suspension for cocaine use in 1991-92 not to mention being kicked out of the 1994 world cup for testing positive for five banned substances including ephedrine is a bit more than recreational drug use.

    Maradona scored a goal and an assist in first-round victories over Greece and Nigeria during the 1994 tournament before the test results were announced. If that doesn't make him a drugs cheat then what does?

  • Comment number 71.

    I will always remember this summer evening of the '86 final - I was 8 years old and this was the first tournament I really apprehended. All windows and the balcony door were open due to the heat - sun was setting - Germany was 2:0 down - tears ran down my cheeks - my mother, who had not a clue about football took me outside on the balcony and said: "They will comeback, you will see. They will make it happen!" We went in again and the needed goals came: 2:1 - 2:2. You could hear all the neighbours' screams through the open windows - it was a real wonder to me. Well... minutes later those damn (good) Argentinians play this perfect pass - Schuhmacher comes out of his goal too late and Burruchaga finished us off. Curiously I can't remember what my reaction to this goal and the final whistle was and I certainly can not remember the Argentinians' celebrations - I suppose I was in total shock and my brain surpressed these memories for my mental health... ;-)
    Needless to say what my feelings were when Andy Brehme put this magical penalty in the lower corner past Goycochea (the tournament's penalty killer) 4 years later. Propably the best football-moment of my childhood ;-)

  • Comment number 72.

    Guido has it spot on. When the ball is played in from the left hand side Scifo is at least in line with one of the Soviet defenders to his left. The fact that he is surrounded by no defenders when he actually shoots is only the USSR's problem.

    When Demol plants that high ball for Ceulemans the latter is out of focus by some way (and there is no camera angle to provide further evidence) - there isn't a lot of space between him and the last defender as he chests and scores, it's at least close either way but as it stands completely inconclusive. Anyone who has watched that game on youtube knows that it was end to end stuff and if there was one weakness in either team's game it was persistent Soviet daydreaming.

    It seems that it's handy for a lot of people, especially in such hotly disputed games such as this, to go by the maxim of 'print the legend until it becomes fact' but these are the facts.

  • Comment number 73.

    Woke up after a party in Mexico City talked about what we were going to do that day...."I'm going down to the Azeteca to try a get a ticket, not much chance but you never know," I said.

    " Here, I'll sell you mine," said a complete stranger. "I've seen all the England games and to be honest I've had enough of it."

    Paying only face value I therefore got to see one of the most dramatic finals ever, admiring the class of Maradona and the indefatigable spirit of the Germans, ( back from the dead in THAT heat!!!!)

    It was a classic - and both teams were superb but the Englishman in me still enjoyed the sight of a group of middle age Germans in tears at the end....pure envy of course. If only England had all those qualities we claim to have, which actually, only the Germans display World Cup and World Cup....endeavour, spirit, organisation, togetherness etc etc...

  • Comment number 74.

    The TV pictures were rubbish.
    Perhaps it's all soured for me 1986 being a thoroughly depressing year for me personally.

  • Comment number 75.

    I was 9 years old in 1986. That world cup made me fall in love with soccer and in love with Maradona who is to this day my football idol. He was simply out of this world. I remember really enjoying watching him play. You see all these new players (Rooney, CR9, Lampard,Gerrard, Messi etc) and they are great player but nothing compares to watching Maradone play. Until this day I still remember his goals and his passes. I was the happiest boy when Argentina beat Germany in the final. What a game that was ! What a fight, what a bunch of Men playing for a dream

  • Comment number 76.

    I remember the fuzzy TV quality watching this world cup it was my first one. Linekar with his pot on his arm. i missed the hand of god and walked in after about 5 seconds and had no idea who had scored since the england team were going nuts!

    also can't forget my panni world cup album with Kerry Dixon's mop of hair

  • Comment number 77.

    That 'Goal of the Century' would never have happened had Peter Reid put a tackle in and not simply ran alongside Maradonna, holding his hand and guiding him towards the goal!

  • Comment number 78.

    ...and for all the comments about Maradona being a cheat, maybe yes you're right, but you can't deny his amazing talent as a naturally gifted footballer, nobody these days comes even close. Take a look on you tube at some of his goals while playing for Napoli, truly unbelievable, including one flick of his boot from on the byline which sent the ball over the keepers head and the spin on the ball made it go in the back of the net from an impossible angle. Never seen anything like it!

  • Comment number 79.

    Here's a point. England lost, there is no IF BUT. You can't turn back the clock and tell the ref watch out, maradona is going to handle the ball. So get over it. IF Argentina didn't beat you Germany would have certainly. It was a great world cup , only it's recollection is destroyed because the English can't get past the non handball.

  • Comment number 80.

    Hmmm no mention of the mexican wave then?

  • Comment number 81.

    More fantastic memories.
    Although English, I had a massive soft spot for the French team. Having watched the agony of the West Germany semi four years earlier and seen the most awesome individual performance in a tournament from Monsieur Platini in Euro 84, I was firmly in their camp (once England had departed).
    It was just a shame that they didn't have the striker that they clearly lacked. If only the Papin was the Papin of 4 years later, they would have been one of the most complete teams ever. It came possibly two years too late for the likes of Bossis, Platini, Giresse but it was a wonderful team with a massively underrated full back in Manuel Amoros - possibly the finest all-round full back that I have witnessed.

  • Comment number 82.

    #70 groundhog44

    Just some background info that never got published over here(suprisingly!)

    Claudio Caniggia & Maradona had been playing around 20yrs between them passing every drugs test. In Italia 90 Caniggia (atlanta) scored the equalising goal against the Italians that sent the semi-final to penalties, Maradona (Napoli)scored the penalty that knocked the Italians out. In the weeks that followed everything that could go wrong did go wrong for Maradona, it was such an unbroken run of bad luck that you could be mistaken for believing it was by design..... and to top it all he then failed a drugs test during the new Serie A season. What are the chances?

    How weird that a guy who had always favored the donning of a black hat, had for 6yrs been the darling of serie A, all his falandering, dodgy friends, recreational drug use that had on many occasions left him unable to play had been overlooked as he sent attendances skyward & changed the face of italian football from defence to attack, yet the moment he scored that penalty....

    Even stranger the moment that Maradona was out of Italy, Claudio Caniggia would embark on the same journey of misfortune, culminating in a failed drugs test and subsequent ban that ended his time in Italy too.

  • Comment number 83.

    Funny Peter Crouch scored last night using his arm but he didnt run over to the ref and admit he cheated, just a thought...

  • Comment number 84.


    Some great points made but the conspiracy goes further than that. Some more possible conspiracies are listed below.

    1. Drugs Laboratory is under investigation
    2. Havelange was accused by Maradona of a cover up in Italy 90.
    3. Maradona turned down a 100 million dollars to have dual USA nationality. Then failed a drugs test in USA 94.

    Certainly if you look at what has happened to Argentina and Maradona in World Cups since 1986, they have either been the victims of some terribly bad luck, or something more sinister has happened.

  • Comment number 85.

    Someone commented on the poor quality pictures and to a point I agree. They weren't great but I wouldn't have had them any other way.

    Can you imagine what seeing the Mexico World Cup in 1970 would've been like after ther black and white of '66. All that colour - it just looked so exotic. In 1986 the pictures looked much the same but they did at least improve on the problems of the light and shade that haunted the earlier broadcasts. If a camera panned into the sunlight in 1970, whiteness would bleach out screen akin to staring at the sun using binoculars.

    Mexico in 1970 and 1986 are regarded as probably the best two World Cups and it's hard to disagree. The only differences visually between those tournaments were the go-faster stripes of the kits in 1986. Apart from England in their first couple of games and Scotland against Uruguay I don't really recall their being a bad game. Someone will tell me otherwise I'm sure.

    I was too young to remember West Germany '74 but look at the video and the quality is not too dissimilar to what it is now. If Mexico were ever to be hosts again I would hope they go for the bright fuzzy colours of old just for nostalgia's sake but unfortunately we would get the clinical HD sharpness instead.

    Somehow it wouldn't be quite the same.

  • Comment number 86.


    The 'hand of a minor god'?

  • Comment number 87.

    #82 Nice conspiracy theories, but it could just be simply down to the fact that they were both drugs cheats.

  • Comment number 88.

    Sorry if somebody's already mentioned this (I'm supposed to be at work so I couldn't read everyone's comments!) but the thing that was copied over and again at my school wasn't a goal celebration but the plastercast! I was sixteen at the time and loads of my classmates came in with plastercasts after that Poland game! No idea where they got them from...

  • Comment number 89.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 90.

    Can someone tell those defending the refereeing at the belgium/Russian game that the offside rule at the time was ''you'll be deemed offside if you were level with the LAST man.'' Cuelemans was offside being level with the last Russian defender.

  • Comment number 91.

    This was indeed Maradona's year. Yes he cheated but that second goal was just outstanding. Unforgettable, impressive, brilliant, you name it. He remains the best player in the world, especially when considering that he was beaten up by defenders. Refereeing then was much more lenient on hard tackles etc. For anyone who is not aware of Maradona's mastery, I advise you to go to Napoli where there is only one god, Diego Armando Maradona...

  • Comment number 92.

    45. At 2:04pm on 24 May 2010, HMMurdoch wrote:

    "I have played footy drunk, and with a hangover, and it is in no way 'performance enhancing'. Something quite the opposite to illegal class A drugs."

    The only "illegal class A drug" that Maradona took was cocaine. Week long cocaine binges are NOT performance enhancing. In fact I'd imagine they're far worse for a footballer than a few pints the night before. Therefore I think its far more accurate to say that Maradona was a great player DESPITE (not BECAUSE OF) his drug habit.

    The ephedrine in Maradona's 94 sample came from an over the counter diet supplement he bought in the USA. Therefore it was neither illegal nor class A.

    And just when I thought the comments couldn't get any worse this appears:

    "At 12:49pm on 24 May 2010, groundhog44 wrote:
    I still maintain that if Maradonna hadn't got away with such blatant cheating to 'score' his first goal he wouldn't have scored the second.

    After getting away with something which everbody except the referee and linesman didn't see the England players were afraid to go anywhere near him, hence the England defence parting like The Red Sea for the second goal. You get the feeling that even the cleanest of clean tackles on him would have seen Maradonna go down very easily resulting in a dangerous free kick or penalty."

    What absolute, abject speculation. I've heard several English players describe that Maradona goal. No-one has suggested any feeling or anxiety close to this tripe. In fact a more common theme to those descriptions is that they tried to foul him but couldn't get close enough.

  • Comment number 93.

    Im trying to write this up as i hide from my boss! He should realise that the World cup is more important than doing his work! I can`t work when there are great goals/moments/players to be discussed! I love these blogs. Born in 1980 i can barely remember this WC. So throughout the years i amassed as much footage as i could of it and it looked a fine WC! What a let down 1990 must have been after this( I thought 1990 was okay, subsequent events have lead me to realise i was wrong!). The archaic footage gave the games an other-worldly feel and the atmosphere seemed so drenched in the contrasting styles/colours of the different teams. Take Uraguay v denmark, played in the shadow of a volcanic Mount hovacatepetal( poss wrong spelling)! How the germans scraped through to the final reminds me of 2002 a bit. Maradona had the single finest tournament i have ever known and i doubt it will ever be repeated. Everything he did was golden. England were unlucky but come on. You couldn`t stop this guy, no matter what and you would have lost eventually. England were far better in 1990 and unluckier still against an even better team!Imagine if it had been France v Argentina final. Platini v Diego, or maybe even Brazil! Careca and zico up against ruggeri & co. Lets hope the first african cup has as many goals, great games/players as this one did!

  • Comment number 94.

    Interesting insights about the drugs. I still think its a bit of a stretch to call him a drugs cheat. There are no drugs that make you a better football. Sure some will make you fitter, stronger and faster but Maradona didn't take any of them.

  • Comment number 95.



    There are a lot of 'ifs and buts' in some of the posts on that match but the only stats that tell the story is that Argentina dominated the match and were worthy winners. England never turned up until the Argies got tired in the last 15mins is my memory of the game.

  • Comment number 96.

    Interesting thoughts from a lot of England fans about 'drugs cheat' Maradona.

    Can anybody remind me what the current England captain Rio Ferdinand received a 8 month ban for?...............

  • Comment number 97.

    #94 Thomas F wrote:
    "Interesting insights about the drugs. I still think its a bit of a stretch to call him a drugs cheat. There are no drugs that make you a better football. Sure some will make you fitter, stronger and faster but Maradona didn't take any of them."

    FIFA listed the five banned substances in Maradona's test as ephedrine, phenylpropanolamine, pseudo-ephedrine, non-pseudo-ephedrine and methylephedrine.

    Michel d'Hooghe, a doctor and a member of FIFA's executive committee at the time said there was no single medical product available that would contain all five drug derivatives. And whatever way there is of taking it, it is forbidden under the doping regulations of FIFA.

    Ephedrine and its variants are commonly used by asthmatics and hay-fever sufferers to help clear the respiratory system, but taken in greater concentrations the drug can also be used as an adrenaline-like stimulant, to increase energy or to lose weight. Maradona had lost at least 26 pounds in preparation for the 1994 World Cup.

    Following the initial positive result of his first sample FIFA had his second sample analyzed at a U.C.L.A. laboratory in Los Angeles. It also came out positive.

  • Comment number 98.

    As great a goal it is, the hand of god surely must have really angered the England team. Changing their temprament. I personally feel that this knocks the goal down a bit. As good as it is it would of been better without the foul play before hand. Anyone else see where I coming from ?

  • Comment number 99.

    Maradona is the greatest ever.

    There are some idiots who seem to be stating that he cannot be the greatest ever, seemingly on the basis that he was not a nice enough man.


    To suggest that being a good footballer is also a question of morality is, frankly, insultingly naive. He is the greatest player ever to kick a ball, regardless of whether or not you think you could 'be his mate'.

  • Comment number 100.

    Sorry to burst any bubbles...The Mexican Wave was a cynical marketing exercise by a well known soft drink. The advertising slogan about this particular drink stating that it was "La Ola" ("The Wave") of the cup, (yes, the name of this soft drink rhymes with 'Ola").

    I was disheartened when I was at the Argentine v Bulgaria group match to see a trumpeter bedecked in red and white finery who played a fan fare and orchestrated the crowd into doing the famous Wave - there was nothing spontaneous or Joyous about it.

    btw.... England were unlucky to lose Argentina and were completely cheated. Maradona's second was brilliant but so was John Barnes when he came on - England lost because Robson (who I otherwise admire) didn't bring him on until England were 2 down. For those 15 minutes Barnes was unplayable


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