Mexico 1986

2010-05-05 11:07
Host Country: Mexico
Champions: Argentina    
Runners Up: West Germany

The 1986 FIFA World Cup, the 13th staging of the FIFA World Cup, was held in Mexico from 31 May to 29 June.

Colombia had been originally chosen to host the competition by FIFA but, largely due to economic reasons, was not able to host the competition and officially resigned in 1982. Mexico was selected as the new host in May 1983. The tournament was the second to feature a 24-team format, although unlike the previous edition in 1982, the second round of the tournament was played on a knock-out basis rather than groups. It was won by Argentina (second title after 1978), who beat West Germany 3–2 in the final at Mexico City's Estadio Azteca.

Three teams qualified for the World Cup for the first time: Canada, Denmark and Iraq.

The format of the competition changed from 1982: 24 teams qualified, divided into six groups of four (A through F). The top two teams and the four best third place finishers from the six groups advanced to the knockout round of 16 teams.

The First Round progressed as expected with major contenders Argentina and Italy both through, and the unexpected Morocco progressing as well. The most notable Group matches came from Group E, in which Denmark performed with a 100 per cent record. They beat Scotland, Uruguay and most impressively, they beat one of the favourites to win the tournament, West Germany, 2–0 thanks to a Jesper Olsen penalty and a goal from John Eriksen. After losing to Denmark, Scotland, after a violent 0–0 draw against Uruguay, were eliminated from the tournament. It was during that game José Batista of Uruguay was sent off after less than one minute of play for a foul on Strachan, a World Cup record that still stands. West Germany went through to the second round with the strength of a win and a 1–1 draw with Uruguay, who also qualified on just two draws.

The match of the second round was the seven-goal thriller between Belgium and the Soviet Union, in which the Soviets' Igor Belanov scored a hat-trick and still ended up on the losing side. The Quarter Finals were mainly decided on penalties, with the most notable incident, which is still talked about today, being the two totally different goals scored by Diego Maradona: the first was scored illegally, as he punched the ball into the goal past England goalkeeper Peter Shilton. The referee did not see the foul and the goal was given as valid. After the game, Maradona claimed the goal was scored "A bit with the head of Maradona and another bit with the hand of God"; it was known as the "The Hand of God" goal. For his second goal, voted "Goal of the Century" in 2002 on the FIFA website, Maradona dribbled half the length of the field past five English players before scoring.

Jose Brown put Argentina one up midway through the first half of the final, and when Jorge Valdano scored a second for the South Americans in the 55th minute, Argentina looked to be strolling to victory. But then West Germany staged a spirited comeback. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge pulled one back in the 74th minute, and six minutes later Rudi Völler hit the equaliser. The momentum now seemed to be with West Germany – but with seven minutes remaining, a brilliant pass from Maradona gave Jorge Burruchaga the chance to score the winner for Argentina. Eight years on from their home triumph, Argentina regained the world title for the second time, and 30 million people in Argentina celebrated in the streets after the final victory.

Notable Facts
The infamous Maradona “Hand of God” incident occurred in this World Cup, in a Second Round match between England and Argentina.

During the match between Brazil and Spain, the Spanish team had a shot that was later proved by television slow motion replays to have bounced behind the goal line after hitting the crossbar. No goal was awarded, as none of the match officials could be sure that the ball had crossed the line, and Brazil won the match 1–0.

The Portuguese team, making their first appearance in 20 years, went on strike (in the Saltillo Affair) during the competition. Players refused to train between their first and second games (against England and Poland) and were eliminated after a loss to Morocco in the final group match.

Golden Boot
6 goals from England’s Gary Lineker

Diego Maradona scores the "Goal of the Century" against England. (AFP)

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