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The original hosts chosen for the 1986 World Cup was Columbia. However in 1982 the Columbian authorities declared that they could not afford to host the World Cup according to FIFA standards as they were in the middle of an internal conflict as a country. On 20 May 1983 Mexico were selected as the new hosts by FIFA beating both Canada & the USA. Mexico became the first ever nation to host the FIFA World Cup twice, the last being just 16 years earlier in 1970.

1986 was also declares the International Year of Peace by the United Nations and FIFA and Mexico embraced the above by having all advertising boards at the stadiums engraved with both FIFA and the UN logo along with the statement “ Football for Peace – Peace Year”. The unofficial motto adopted by Mexico was “El Mundo Unido por Un Balon” – The World United by a Ball.

The format of the 1986 World Cup was changed completely from the 1982 World Cup. There were still 24 Nations who participated in 6 Groups of 4 in the Opening Round. However from the 1st Round a total of 16 teams qualified for the 2nd Round which was now no longer a Group Phase but a straight knockout format. The top 2 teams from each Group qualified along with the 4 best 3rd placed finishers. The knockout phase then proceeded from the Round of 16, to the Quarters, Semis & Finals. Games tied after extra time would be decided on penalties.

The official mascot for the 1986 World Cup was Pique a jalapeno pepper with a moustache and sombrero wearing the Mexican football team colours.

Group A

Group A featured defending champions and seeds Italy along with previous champions Argentina under New Coach Carlos Bilardo and Led by Football Sensation Diego Maradona. Argentina under Maradona were in sublime form in the Group phase beating the Koreans 3-1 in their opener with Valdano scoring a brace, holding champions Italy to a 1-1 draw in a heated match with Maradona & Altobelli scoring the goals, and beating the Bulgarians 2-0 to top the Group. Italy who began their defence with a 1-1 draw against Bulgaria, then drew with Argentina and beat Korea Republic 3-2 to qualify along with Argentina. Altobelli scored 4 of Italy’s 5 goals with the 5th being an own goal from the Koreans. Bulgaria and Korea played out to a 1-1 draw resulting in Bulgaria qualifying as 1 of the 4 best 3rd placed teams.

Group B
Group B featured hosts for the tournament Mexico who used home ground advantage and their seeding to their advantage with an opening victory over Belgium with Hugo Sanchez netting Mexico’s 2nd (Photo Below) in a 2-1 victory. Mexico then were held by Paraguay and beat 1st time World Cup participants Iraq to top the Group. Iraq who were participating in the first ever World Cup qualified playing all their home games at a neutral venue due to the countries ongoing War with Iran. Paraguay who beat Iraq in their opening game and drew with both Mexico & Belgium qualified 2nd behind the Mexicans while Belgium beat Iraq to qualify as Best 3rd placed finisher.

Group C
Group C featured the highly fancied French team who narrowly missed out in the semi-finals in the previous World Cup and who went on to win the 1984 Euro Champs in style. With likes of Platini, Tigana, Jean Pierre Papin & Giresse all featuring for the Fabulous French, would this be their World Cup. France beat World Cup debutants Canada 1-0 in their opener with Papin scoring while the USSR thumped Hungary 6-0 in their opening game. France & USSR then played to a 1-1 draw. In the final round of games France beat Hungary 3-0 while the USSR beat Canada 2-0 and both qualified with the USSR in 1st position thanks to a better goal difference.

Group D
Group D featured the mighty Brazilians who were surprisingly beaten by Italy in 1982. With the likes of Socrates (Photo Below), the Ageing Zico & Falcao all still in the team Brazil were still a force. Brazil did not disappoint winning all 3 of their games without conceding a goal beating the Spanish 1-0 thanks to a Socrates winner, the Algerians 1-0 and Northern Ireland 3-0 with Careca scoring 2 following up his winner against the Algerians and debutant fullback Josimar scoring an absolute beauty. Spain recovered from their opening loss to Brazil to beat Northern Ireland 2-1 with Butragueneo scoring and then followed it up with a 3-0 victory over Algeria to qualify 2nd behind the Brazilians. Algeria’s only goal of the tournament came from Zidane who scored the equaliser against Northern Ireland.

Group E
Group E featured 1982 runners up West Germany as the seeds for the Group. With the likes of Schumacher still in goal, Brehme & Augenthaler in defence, Matthaus in Midfield and Voeler and Rummenigge in attack the Germans certainly looked strong. A draw against Uruguay and 2-1 victory over Scotland put the Germans in a good position to qualify. First Time World Cup Participants Denmark were proving to be quite a find after they beat the Scots 1-0 in the opening game
and followed it up with a 6-0 thumping of Uruguay with Elkjaer Larson scoring a hatrick along with Superstar Michael Laudrup (Photo Below) & Jesper Olsen also getting on the score sheet. The Danes then went on to beat the Mighty German 2-0 and top the group with 3 wins out of 3 as well as not conceding. However Uruguay and the Scots played to a goalless draw in a violent match which saw Jose Batista of Uruguay get the fastest ever Red Card in the World Cup after just 56 seconds for his foul on Gordon Strachan. This Resulted in the Germans qualifying 2nd and Uruguay qualifying as Best 3rd Place Finisher.

Group F
Group F’s seeded team was England with the likes of Shilton, Terry Butcher, Glen Hoddle, Bryan Robson, Gary Lineker & John Barnes in their team. However they were surprisingly beaten by Portugal in their first World Cup since Eusebio’s Portugal in 66 got revenge with a 1-0 victory. Africans Morocco drew both their games against Poland and England 0-0. The 0-0 draw between England and Portugal had an interesting situation where England had 2 players on the pitch with identical names, Gary Stevens. Poland beat Portugal 1-0 to leave England at the bottom of the Group with just 1 point and Morocco & Portugal tied for 2nd 2 points while Poland led the Group with 3 points going in to the final game. Gary Lineker (Photo Below) came to England’s rescue with a hatrick in their 3-0 victory over Poland to finish 2nd behind Morocco who surprisingly qualified top of the group after they beat Portugal 3-1. Poland qualified as a Best 3rd place finisher. Morocco became the first ever African nation to qualify from the 1st Round of a World Cup.

Round of 16
The Round of 16 produced a favourable draw for the host nation Mexico and they qualified for the quarterfinals with a 2-0 victory over Bulgaria with Negerete scoring a spectacular goal. The USSR despite an Igor Belanov hatrick lost 4-3 to Belgium in Extra Time. Brilliant Brazil thumped Poland 4-0 while Argentina scraped through against their South American counterparts Uruguay 1-0 although Maradona did have a goal disallowed. France ousted Defending Champions Italy 2-0 thanks to goals from Platini and Stopyra while West Germany thanks to Lothar Matthaus’s late winner just managed to beat Morocco. England beat Paraguay 3-0 with Lineker scoring twice. The Danes who has been so impressive in the 1st Round took the lead against Spain. However they then crumbled and Emilio Butragueno, “The Vulture”, scored 4 goals in Spain’s demolishing 5-1 victory over the Danes.

The Quarterfinals resulted in 3 ties being decided by the dreaded penalty shoot out. Host Mexico and West Germany played out to a goalless draw after extra time. In the penalty shoot out only Negrete of Mexico converted from their 1st 3 spot kicks while the Germans scored all 4 of their penalties resulting in their victory. Belgium and Spain played to a 1-1 draw and Belgium won the shootout 5-4 with Spain’s Eloy the unlucky one.

France 1 Brazil 1
One of the Greatest Displays of Football Ever

The quarterfinal clash between France and Brazil is one of the greatest football games of all time. The game produced some of the greatest football ever seen. The Midfield Magicians of both teams were at work to entertain the crowds. France’s “Carre Magique” of Fernandez, Giresse, Tigana & Captain Platini were fabulous for the French. Josimar, Socrates, Careca, Zico & Branco were brilliant for the Brazilians. Careca opened up the scoring for Brazil only for birthday boy Platini to equalise for the French just before half-time. The game flowed with attack after attack from both teams.

In the 2nd half Brazil perhaps had the best chance to win the game when Branco was fouled by French Keeper Joel Bats leading to Brazil getting a penalty. Bats however made up for his error and saved the kick from Zico.

The match went into extra time and although the French had much better of the game during extra time it was Socrates who missed an open goal and directed an easy header straight at Joel Bats.

Ultimately the match went to penalties. Socrates stepped up first for Brazil and after his misses during the game he did no better with his penalty and missed. France then converted their next 3 penalties and so did Brazil including Zico who this time scored from the spot. France’s fourth penalty was to be taken by Birthday Boy & Captain Platini who blasted his attempt over the crossbar. Brazil were now back on level terms but Julio Cesar’s kick was saved by Bats and Fernandez converted to give the French the victory into their 2nd consecutive semi-final

The great quarterfinal between the ageing squads of France and Brazil was perhaps the game that should have been the 1982 World Cup Final, but that’s football.

Argentina 2 England 1

Football: El Robo Del Siglo – The Robbery of the Century. The quarterfinal World cup clash between England & Argentina was a violent affair which England won 1-0. Argentine Captain Rattin was dismissed and refused to leave the pitch. Argentina consider this game the Robber
y of the Century as they believed the refereeing was in favour of the English. England were upset with the Argentine players and coach Alf Ramsey referred to them as animals and refused for the players to swop shirts post match.

Falklands War: The war between Argentina & England over the disputed sovereignty of the Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands consisting of 2 Large and many small islands in the South Atlantic Ocean just east of Argentina. The war started in April 1982 when Argentina’s invasion of the Falklands Islands and South Georgia and ended 74 days later with their surrender.

The game had an appetizing rivalry to it. Controversy & Rivalry was expected and delivered. Argentina wanted to exact revenge on England for both their defeat to them at the 1966 FIFA World Cup Quarterfinals as well as the Falklands War.

The game’s first goal came 6 minutes into the 2nd half and could not have been more Controversial if planned. Enter Diego Maradona, 1 of the stars expected to shine at the 1986 World Cup. It appeared through video footage that Maradona had used his hand to punch the ball into the net pass English Keeper Peter Shilton to give Argentina the lead. Tunisian referee Ali Bin Naseer did not see the infringement and allowed the goal to stand. In the post match interview Maradona is quoted as saying “A Little with the Head of Maradona and with The Hand of God”. It is this statement that has made this goal forever be known as the Hand of God Goal. Maradona later admitted to using his hand in an interview with Gary Lineker his opponent in the match.

Just 4 minutes later Maradona scored one of the greatest goals ever in the game of football when he collected the ball midway through his own half and dribbled through half the English team in a 60 metre dazzling run before putting the ball passed Peter Shilton. This goal was voted as the Goal of the Century by FIFA. Brilliant. Class. These 4 minutes of controversy and brilliance perhaps defines the entire football career of Diego Maradona. It is rare that 4 minutes of football on a pitch can define a persons career but in this case it not only defines Maradona’s career but also sums it up. Brilliant but Controversial.


With just 10 minutes to play Gary Lineker scored his 6th goal of the tournament which would make him leading goal scorer and Golden Shoe Winner for the tournament. Argentina then hit the post after Lineker’s goal. But the match ended with Argentina winning 2-1 with both the goals being 2 of the greatest World Cup Moments ever.

In the first semi-final a rematch of the 1982 World Cup semi-finals between France & West Germany. In 1982 German keeper Harold Schumacher sensationally crushed France’s Patrick Battiston with a crunching tackle that was known as the Foul of the Century. Once again Battiston was in the French starting line-up squaring up against his German foe Schumacher, this time with a few teeth less. Fullback Andreas Brehme gave Germany the lead inside of 10 minutes. The remainder of the game was very tense and the outcome was decided by a late Rudi Voeller strike 1 minute from the end. West Germany had reached their second consecutive final.

In the 2nd semi-final Diego Maradona was once again brilliant in his performance as he scored a brace to beat a resurgent Belgium team led by midfield star Jan Cuelemans. Maradona almost single handed led Argentina through the knockout phase to the finals where they would take on the Germans. Maradona’s goal of the century was matched by a another goal to remember against the Belgians.

Third Place Playoff
France who again fell at the semi-finals for the 3rd time following their 1982 and 1958 semi-final appearances beat Belgium 4-2 to finish 3rd. Jan Ceulemans (Photo Below) who was Belgium’s most instrumental player throughout the tournament as well as one of the tournaments star players scored the opening goal but the French were just too strong and took the lead through Jean Pierre Papin but Belgium equalised and took the game to Extra Time where Genghini and Amoros sealed the game fro the French. Platini, Tigana, Giresse, Fernandez, Amoros & Co never won a World Cup, but this great team certainly lit it up with their performances during the 1982 & 1986 World Cup.

The final was to be played at the Azteca Stadium as it was 16 years earlier in 1970. This was the 19th FIFA World Cup Game played at this stadium which is a World Cup Record.

West Germany with the likes of Brehme, Matthaus, Rummenigge and Voeller were up against the Argentines led by the inspirational captain Maradona who was undoubtedly the star of the tournament with his class performances in leading Argentina to the finals.

Lothar Matthaus had the job of trying to subdue Maradona in the final. Matthaus succeeded for the most part of the game. The games first goal came from Brown of Argentina midway through the first half. When Jorge Valdano double Argentina’s lead early in the 2nd half it seemed Argentina were on their way to victory.

However the Germans can never ever be written off. Karl Heinz Rummenigge pulled a goal back for the Germans before Rudi Voeller equalised. The Germans no undoubtedly had the momentum.

But enter the King of the Tournament Diego Maradona who was being tightly checked by German Midfielder Lothar Matthaus. Even someone of Matthaus’s class could not subdue Maradona for 90 minutes and Maradona escaped Matthaus and controlled the ball and put through a defence s
plitting pass to Jorge Burrachaga who slid the ball passed Schumacher and won the World Cup for Argentina.

The Mexican crowds had the pleasure of seeing to of the Greatest Footballers Performing on the World Greatest Stage at their prime, in Pele of 1970 & now Maradona in 1986.

This World Cup will forever be remembered as Diego Maradona’s World Cup. The Magician displayed some of the greatest football ever seen at this World Cup. Maradona rightly won the Golden ball Award and was the Hero of Mexico 86. Maradona scored 5 goals for Argentina including both goals in their Quarterfinals and both goals in their semi-final victories. He also created a total of 5 of Argentina’s other goals. This was just but a page of the talent displayed by Maradona throughout the tournament.

This was Argentina’s 2nd title after their success in 1978. The Germans had lost 2 finals in a row following on from the Dutch in the 70’s.

The greatest ever Official World Cup Film.
When it was Mexico 86 I was only 9 years old and having already been a Liverpool fan and watching the team of the decade The World Cup in Mexico was my first real World Cup Experience. I remember the days when I used to look forward to Powerlines and soccer and to play for Tigers Under 10 under Doc Abu Seedat. Everybody wanted to be Maradona.
In the words of Michael Caine from the “Hero” .Football is the game of the people, to win the World Cup i the ultimate accolade,In Mexico one player rises among the rest,That player is Diego Armando Marando,Captain of Argentina.
There wa no supersport that time and all we could do was listen to commentary on BBC. When Hero came out my bro and myself used to watch it everyday and everytime before we played. To rev us up.I watched it so many times I know it off by heart…………But Mexico 86 belonged to one man………and that wa Diego Maradona.

Just watch the start of this video.Its Magic.Gives you Goose Bumps

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