WORLD CUP ‘86 – DIEGO’S SUMMER

(Posted on 05/06/18)

World Cup ’86, one of the greatest sporting months of all time as the scorching heat of Mexico played it’s part in a tournament remembered by the millions who were lucky enough to witness it.

 

The Diego Maradona campaign, the Argentine magician proved to the world that he was without doubt the greatest player on the planet and perhaps of all time has he danced around from defender to defender to pull his nation to it’s second World Cup win in eight years.

 

England striker Gary Lineker may have grabbed the golden boot with his six goals but the then-Everton forward’s luck was to run out on route to the finale in perhaps the World Cup’s most famous match of them all. Maradona is and will forever be remembered by the English for one particular moment, as Steve Hodge botched a clearance and the little magician ran through and punched the ball past Peter Shilton to score, a moment he later branded the ‘hand of god’. Of course many saw this overshadowed by the goal he went to go on to score, running from his own half through everyone to put it away, a finish voted by many as goal of the century 14 years later as the new millennium rolled by.

 

Each nation did as well as could be expected of them, with Belgium the surprise package making it through to the Semi-Final, beating Spain and Denmark on the way to facing the eventual winners in Mexico City. Youngster Enzo Scifo would go on to earn the young player of the tournament in a sensational summer for the Anderlecht midfielder.

 

There were a few surprise names in the competition, but the likes of Iraq, Canada and Algeria all saw early exits. Surprise packages Paraguay, Denmark and Morocco all faired a little better making the Round of 16 but their summer ended at that point to superior sides in England, Spain and Germany.

 

Argentina’s opposition in the final came in the form of West Germany, who’d beat France, the hosts Mexico and Morocco on route to the final. Their rivals Brazil fell on penalties to the French in the Quarters.

 

The final at the Azteca Stadium was played out in front of over 114,000 supporters and what a game it was. 1-0 to the Argentines it stood at half-time after Jose Brown’s 23 minute strike, but the second half saw and end to end open match that could have gone either way. Jorge Valdano doubled their lead before goals from Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and substitute Ruud Voller with nine minutes to go levelled the match. However, just moments later Jorge Luis Burruchaga finished a fine solo effort to hand la Albiceleste their second honour.

 

For many it’ll remain the best World Cup there has ever been, but of course that’ll all depend on who you ask. It’s certainly well remembered by all and hosted some of the finest moments in the tournaments history.

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