1986 Mexico World Cup

Written by Sebastien on 16 February 2013. Posted in World Cup History

The 1986 FIFA World Cup took place in Mexico. It started on the 31st of May and ended on 29th of June. Initially the competition was supposed to be held in Columbia, as decided in 1978. Four years before the tournament Columbia was forced to resign from hosting the World Cup because of economical problems and, one year later, Mexico was chosen. Just eight months before the official start of the tournament Mexico was hit by a severe earthquake and speculations were made concerning the country’s ability to go on with the preparations. The earthquake hasn’t done any damage to the stadiums, so everything took place as planned.

The World Cup 1986 Mexico was the second competition which featured a 24 team format. Unlike the first one, in 1982, the teams played on a knock-out basis and not on a group basis. There were six groups of four teams and the best two teams from each group together with four of the third place finishers advanced to the next round, known as the knock-out round.

The tournament was won by Argentina which was at the time captained by the famous Diego Maradona. Argentina has defeated West Germany (3-2) on Estadio Azteca, the stadium which hosted the opening match, the semifinals and the finals. Jose Brown and Jorge Valdano scored the first two goals for Argentina. West Germany managed to equalize the score only a few minutes before the end of the game. Fortunately for Argentina, Jorge Burruchaga scored thanks to a pass from Maradona and secured the victory for his country just seven minutes before the end. 30 million of people in Argentina have celebrated the performance of their team on the streets, just like they did eight years before.

The quarter final between Argentina and England was just as spectacular as the final and remained famous throughout the history of the World Cup. Diego Maradona scored two spectacular goals in this match. The first one is known as the Hand of God goal and it was pretty controversial at the time. Maradona scored it with his hand, but because the referee hasn’t noticed it, the goal was validated. Later on, the captain of the Argentinean team declared that the goal was scored a little bit with the head of Maradona and a little bit with the hand of God. The second goal that Maradona scored in the quarter final was voted as the Goal of the Century in 2002 because the player managed to pass five opponents and dribble half the length of the football stadium. The match between Argentina and England had a high stake because it came only years after the Falklands War (a dispute between the two countries on the sovereignty of some islands in the South Atlantic). The war ended with the surrender of Argentina which took its revenge on the football field. More than that, the football rivalry of these two countries dated back in 1966 when Argentina lost a game on Wembley Stadium.  The importance of the game was emphasized by the statement of Roberto Perfumo, an Argentinean international, who claimed that winning the World Cup was a secondary goal while defeating England was the primary objective of his team.

At World Cup 1986 Mexico Diego Maradona won the Golden Ball for being the best player in the tournament and England’s Gary Lineker was awarded the Golden Boot for scoring six goals. The tournament also remained of great importance for Denmark, Canada and Iraq because it was the first time in history when their teams qualified for the World Cup. Because of the ongoing Iran-Iraq war, the Iraq team played all their home matches on neutral ground.


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