France 2-0 Italy - Second round

Date match played – 17 June 1986
Attendance – 60000
Venue – Olimpico Stadium, Mexico City, Mexico.

The Italians were the holders of the tournament, and were fancied by many people to win the world cup prior to the start of this tournament. Their second round match against France was certainly a world cup classic. The game promised to be a big battle between the two huge footballing nations. France’s biggest threat was posed by Michel Platini, who was playing in his third world cup, and he was man marked throughout the match by Giuseppe Baresi. Platini was in amazing form. He was partnered in the midfield by other outstanding French midfielders, Alain Giresse, Jean Tigana and Luis Fernandez. The conditions during the game were extremely hot and humid in the stadium and the game started at a slow pace. In the fourteenth minute Platini broke free from Bergomi, Luis Fernandez found Dominique Rocheteau with a perfect pass into the path of Platini on the edge of the box, and Platini casually chipped the ball over the goalkeeper’s diving body into the far corner of the net. The Italians showed little attacking flair during the first half. Platini nearly made it 2-0, where his curling free kick went just wide of the post. Fernandez could have also scored as he hit the crossbar from a long range shot. During the half time interval the Italian manager replaced Baresi with Antonio Di Gennaro, known to be very good at creating openings. In the 56th minute, Tigana picked up the ball inside his own half and raced through the Italian defence towards the goal before passing the ball to Rocheteau on the edge of the area. He passed the ball to Yannick Stopyra who made no mistake. His shot went behind the diving Galli inside the bottom right hand corner of the net, and made it 2-0.
France went onto win the game 2-0, and were worthy winners. The French never let the hard tackling and close marking of the Italians take them out the game.

Belgium 4-3 USSR - Second Round

Venue - Nou Camp Stadium, Leon, Mexico
Date – 15th June 1986
Attendance – 27000

In the 1982 World cup, the Soviet Union beat Belgium 1-0. Four years later, the two teams faced each other in the 1986 World cup. This match proved to be one of the greatest world cup matches of all time. The Soviet’s came into the match on sparkling form, scoring 9 goals in their opening three matches of the tournament.

This game was an exciting seven goal thriller; the first goal came in the 29th minute. It started from a quick passing move where Belanov took the final pass from Zavarov, moved to the right along the edge of the area and smashed a brilliant shot across Pfaff and the ball went in off the post.

After the opening goal, the match tuned into a thrilling end to end encounter as both teams attacked and counter attacked in turn. Scifo equalised for Belgium when Demianenko misjudged a cross and before the Soviet defender could correct his error, Scifo ran behind him and casually tapped the ball into the net. Twenty minutes from time, Zavarov threaded the ball through to the Soviet striker, Belanov who then scored his second of the game. Belgium instantly responded few minutes later, as Ceulemans equalized after he received the ball near the penalty spot. By the end of the 90 minutes the score was 2-2, and the match went on to extra time. Chances went begging throughout extra time. After 11 minutes of the first half, Belgium took the lead as Demol powered home a header from Gerets’ cross. Four minutes into the start of the second period of extra time, Claesen made it 4-2 to Belgium after the ball had dropped favourably from a header. Immediately after the Soviets were given a penalty and Belanov slotted in a fierce straight shot, to score his hat- trick. The Soviets then dominated the remainder of the second period only to be denied by brilliant saves. Despite the Soviets excellent attacking displays, they were out of the tournament. Belgium beat Soviet Union 4-3.

Belgium 2-1 Spain - quarter final

Venue – Puebla, Mexico
Date – 22 June 1986
Attendance – 45000

Prior to the start of this quarter final match, two of Belgium’s starring players were sent home with injuries, which left them weakened up front. Spain were favourites to win this match. In the 17th minute, Emilo Butragueno narrowly missed a great chance. Spain dominated the early period of the match, however in the 34th minute, against the run of play Belgium took the lead through Jan Ceulemans. However Spain kept pressing forward, yet they couldn’t find the back of the net. Belgium nearly took the lead right after the interval, as Nico Claesen broke free in the Spanish half; he set up Ceulemans near goal. Instead of shooting, Ceulemans threaded the ball off to Daniel Veyt, whose shot then shaved the post. The Belgian goalkeeper, Pfaff was outstanding in the second half, making some amazing saves, including two point blank saves from Caldere and Michel. Spain finally broke the deadlock in the 84th minute, when Senor volleyed the ball into the net from 30 yards out, and that made sure the game would go to extra time.

Spain piled continued the pile the pressure on during the extra time period; however Belgium’s Georges Grun came closest to finding the back of the net, however the match finished at 1-1, and the match was then to be decided by the dreaded penalty shoot out.

Pfaff brilliantly saved the second Spanish penalty kick from substitute Eloy with a dive to his right. The Belgian substitute, Leo Van der Elst, scored the winning penalty, to seal a 5-4 Penalty shoot out victory over Spain. This was a landmark for Belgian football, as this was the furthest they had been in a major competition.

France 1-1 Brazil (4-3 after penalties)– Quarter Final

Date – 21 June 1986
Venue – Jalisco Stadium, Guadalajara, Mexico
Attendance – 68000

Many people said this match would have been the ideal final for this world cup; however the luck of the draw meant that this was not to be, and it was to be a quarterfinal match. Going into the game, Brazil were unbeaten without conceding a goal. France came into the match as European champions, with one of the best midfields ever seen in international football. The match began at a fast pace, after only three minutes, Amoros smashed a 20 yard drive just past the Brazilian post.

The fast running and clever ball control of the Brazilian side, made the French defence in trouble. Brazil took the lead, Junior created space with some intricate footwork and found Muller with an excellent pass, the return allowed Junior to set Careca straight on goal, and he put the ball into the back of the net.

The Brazilians were not going to settle at 1- 0 and kept pressing for a second, Muller hit the woodwork after a sweeping move involving Careca, but no one could follow up the move. Platini side footed an equalizer for the French in the 41st minute, to level the teams at the interval. The second half started at the same fast pace just like the first half. Platini nearly scored, as his volley just shaved the post, and Careca nearly took the lead for Brazil with a header that hit the bar. In the 73rd minute, the Brazilian’s were awarded a penalty, which was then missed by substitute, Zico. The game finished level at 1-1 after the 90 minutes, and the game went onto extra time.

Four minutes from the end of extra time, the French substitute Bellone was put through with only Carlos to beat, however Bellone stumbled into the area but was unable to keep his balance well enough to score. The game ended at 1-1 at the end of extra time and the match went to a penalty shoot out. The penalty shoot out was at 3-3 during the point Platini stepped forward to take his penalty, his shot went high and wide, and he missed. Julio Cesar had the responsibility to score his penalty for the Brazilians; however his penalty crashed against the post and came out.

Fernandez slotted Frances final penalty inside Carlos’ right post, to seal Frances penalty shoot out win over the Brazilians. The score ended up 4-3 to France on penalties, and the French now had look forward to the Semi finals.

Argentina V West Germany (3-2) - Final

Date – 29 June 1986
Venue – Azteca Stadium
Attendance – 114,000

The final between Argentina and West Germany was widely anticipated, with all eyes on Diego Maradona, who had attracted media attention all over the world because of his superb goals against Belgium and England and brilliant performances throughout the world cup. Maradona was certainly a match winner and West Germany knew that before the game. The West Germans were determined to eliminate Diego Maradona from the game, so they made a line of five defensive players, and Lothar Matthaus had the job of man marking Maradona throughout the game. During the first half, both Maradona and Mattaus were booked, Maradona was booked because of descent and Matthaus was booked afterwards for flattening Maradona from behind. The foul on Maradona earned Argentina a free kick, which led to their first goal. Barruchaga curled the free kick into the penalty area and it was met by Brown’s header, and the ball flew into the net.

Being 1-0 down, the Germans were forced to change their tactics and had to go forward more often. It took over half an hour for their Germans to have their first real chance of the match, Forster’s cross was headed back across the six yard box to Rummenigge, however his volley went wide of the goal. Argentina nearly scored a second, a one- two between Maradona and Barruchaga, saw a shot rebound of the German goalkeeper Schumacher, and then off Maradona and go just past the post. After the half time interval, the Germans started attacking more, German striker Rudi Voller came on as a substitute for Allofs. In the 56th minute Argentina scored their second, it all started off from a German attack being broken up by the Argentinean midfield when Valdano won the ball in his own half. After excellent work between Enrique and Maradona, Valdano, waiting in West Germany’s goal, kicked the ball past the sprawling Schumacher.

The Germans brought on Hoeness, a striker and he replaced the German defender Magath. West Germany scored in the 72nd minute, it all started after a brilliant Argentinean break was interrupted by a tallow flag for offside. Andy Brehme’s corner kick was flicked on by Rudi Voller, and Rummenigge smashed the ball into the back of the net, to give the Germans a lifeline. In the 80th minute the Germans equalized, it came from another Brehme corner. His corner was met by Voller who then nudged the ball home from the six yard box.

Now the match was at 2-2, and anything was possible. However three minutes later Maradona freed himself from Matthaus and carved open the German defence with an excellent through ball to the feet of Barruchaga, who then scored the goal that gave Argentina the victory, and won them the World Cup. Argentina were deserved winners and for once it wasn’t just Maradona that shone, it was the entire Argentinean side, Argentina were champions of the 1986 world cup.

© 2006 World Cup Years Ltd.