Before the start of the 1986 world cup, Brazil were the pre tournaments favourites, and they kick started their world cup campaign with a 1-0 win over Spain, which was due to a refereeing error where the ball hit the crossbar and then bounced down, replays on television showed that the ball went over the line. Within Group D both Spain and Brazil progressed through to the second round of the tournament, at the expense of Northern Ireland and Algeria, where both only had one point.

Group E was nicknamed the ‘Group of death,’ prior the start of the tournament as this group featured West Germany, Uruguay, Denmark and Scotland. Denmark were outstanding in the group stage, as they won all three of their games. West Germany went through with 4 points and Uruguay also went through despite only having two points.

Group F featured England who were the group favourites. They had a nightmare start losing 1-0 to Portugal. They then drew with Morocco in their second match, a side who they were easily expected to beat. It was during the match against Morocco where England’s best player and captain, Bryan Robson dislocated his shoulder and went off during the game. To make matters worse, England Vice captain, Ray Wilkins was also sent off. England went into the game against Poland knowing that a win was vital for progressing through to the knockout phase of the tournament. Gary Lineker was outstanding in the game against Poland, he scored a first half hat trick, and England eventually won the game 3-0, and were through to the Second phase.

In Group A, the world cup holders Italy, went through with 4 points along with Argentina. The 1986 World cup hosts, Mexico won Group B. In group C, the Soviet Union beat Hungry 6-0, and showed the world their attacking flair.

The second round provided some excellent games, especially the match between the Soviet Union and Belgium, where Belgium beat Soviet Union 4-3 after extra time. Spain thrashed Denmark 5-1, and England continued their impressive form beating Paraguay 3-0, thanks to Gary Lineker scoring two of the goals, and England’s other striker, Peter Beardsley scoring the other goal. Also the second round saw West Germany and Argentina both winning 1-0 in their matches.

The penalty shoot decided the outcome of three of the four quarter finals. The only match which didn’t go to a penalty shootout was the game between Argentina and England. Both Argentine goals was scored by the star of the tournament, Diego Maradona, the first goal was a blatant handball, however the second goal was to this day one of the greatest goals ever scored in any football tournament. France beat Brazil in the penalty shoot out, after there was no separating the two teams throughout the match.

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Belgium played Spain in the quarter final, after extra time, the two teams were drawing 1-1, and Belgium won the penalty shootout 5-4.

The semi finals opened with a game between Argentina and Belgium, Diego Maradona scored more brilliant goals, and Argentina beat Belgium 2-0, however Belgium suffered from refereeing mistakes. The other semi final saw West Germany beat France 2 -0.

The final produced a thrilling game between West Germany and Argentina. Argentina took a 2-0 lead, and the Argentines allowed West Germany to equalise, however Burruchaga scored the winning goal. Argentina were deserved winners of Mexico 1986 as they were led by the best player in the world at that time, Diego Maradona.

© 2006 World Cup Years Ltd.