Rinat Dassayev - USSR

Rinat Dassayev was a great goalkeeper, his coolness under pressure and safe handling gives confidence to his defence. He has a knack of always being in the right place at the right time. He was one of the most consistent goalkeepers in the world, as during 1986 he was regarded as being one of the world’s greatest goalkeeper’s. Dassayev started his career playing for his local team, Volga Astrakhan in the second division. He played as a centre forward and then decided to become a goalkeeper, because the regular goalkeeper of that team was frequently injured. He then went onto become the goalkeeper of Spartak Moscow, one of the top Russian football clubs. He made his international debut in 1979 a game which USSR beat East Germany 1- 0.

Dassayev went on to play for USSR in the Olympics in 1980, where the Soviet team reached third place. However his reputation was really enhanced during both the 1982 and 1986 world cup tournaments. In the World cup, he has played a total of 8 games and has only conceded 9 goals, that it only just over 1 goal a game, which is an extremely impressive record. He made some excellent goalkeeping displays in the 1986 world cup in their games against Canada and France. After the 1986 World cup, he was still in top form for the Soviet’s and for his club Spartak Moscow. At the 1988 European championships, Dassayev was outstanding for the Soviets, making some brilliant saves, and despite the Soviets losing 2- 0 in the final to Holland, he made a hatful of excellent saves and denied Gullit and Van Basten from scoring more goals.

Dassayev also played in the 1990 world cup finals in Italy; he captained USSR in their opening game against Romania.

Emilo Butragueno - Spain

During his teenage years, Emilo Butragueno had two loves, football and basketball. He decided to make a career out of football. Between the years 1982 to 1984 he played for Castilla, he scored many goals for them and was a top striker for the club. Butragueno made his international debut against Wales as a substitute in 1984. In 1984 he went on to play for Real Madrid, he had an excellent upfront partnership with Mexican striker Hugo Sanchez as the two brilliant footballers’ complemented each other perfectly. In their first four seasons together, real Madrid won the league four years running. During the 1986 world cup, Butragueno’s performance was brilliant. He ended the 1986 world cup as second top scorer, just behind Gary Lineker. He scored l in their first round match against Northern Ireland, and in their second round match against Denmark he was spectacular helping Spain beat Denmark 5-1 by scoring 4 goals.

He helped Spain qualify for the 1990 world cup by scoring crucial goals for them.

He played for Spain in the 1990 world cup, however he failed to score any goals and Spain eventually went out to Yugoslavia in the second round.

Gary Lineker - England

Gary Lineker’s goal against Argentina in the quarter finals of the 1986 World cup in Mexico established him as world class striker, the goal against Argentina was also his sixth goal of the tournament, and that made him the top scorer of the 1986 world cup. This was an achievement which no other English footballer has accomplished. His excellent display started in the game against Poland, where he scored a first half hat trick, and he followed up that excellent scoring performance with two goals in a second rounds match against Paraguay. In fact Lineker nearly scored a seventh goal against Argentina, with a header from a John Barnes cross, which went just wide of the post, if he would have scored that England would have equalized but that did not happen. Gary Lineker began his footballing career at Leicester City, where he was scoring at an impressive rate with one goal every two matches he played. In the summer of 1985 he moved to Everton for a fee of £800,000, and Everton in turn had to alter their style of play to accommodate Linker’s footballing talents, in the season of the 1986 World cup in Mexico, Lineker scored 39 goals for Everton and he was crowned footballer of the year. After his spectacular performance in the 1986 world cup, he moved Barcelona for £2.75 million, at Barcelona he made an immediate impact scoring frequently for them, however just before Euro 88, he became ill with hepatitis, and his shooting talents abandoned him. In 1989 Gary Lineker moved to Tottenham, and he scored 24 goals in 38 matches in the 1989/1990 season. He also scored four goals during the 1990 World cup, he scored England’s goal in the very disappointing opening Group F match in the 1990 world cup against the Republic of Ireland. He kept his cool in the classic quarter final match against Cameroon by converting two penalties for England to secure them a place in the Semi- Finals. He also equalized for England late on in the second half in their semi final match against West Germany, however England later on lost that match in Penalties.

Lineker became captain of England right after the world cup, and scored in his first match as captain against Hungry in September 1990, he then regularly partnered Steve Bull up front for England for the rest of 1990. Lineker retired from international football after the European championships in 1992. He scored 48 goals in his 80 appearances for England, a total bettered only by Bobby Charlton.

He is one of the World cups leading goal scorers of all time to this date, with 10 goals in the games he played in.

Pierre Littbarski - West Germany

Littbarski started his footballing career playing for German team Hertha Zehlendorf. He then played for Köln in the Bundesliga, where he went from strength to strength. He entertained the fans with his amazing ball control, dribbling skills and speed on the turn. Littbarski made his international debut in 19821 against Austria for a world cup qualifying match. Littbarski then went on to star for West Germany in the 1982 world cup final against Italy. Littbarski was outstanding in the final despite West Germany losing 3-1. After suffering from injury in autumn 1985, his dream of starring for the Germans in Mexico 1986 looked in ruins; however he came back from injury and regained his fitness. Despite not playing a full match in the 1986 World cup, he became a national hero in the quarter final match against Mexico, where he came of f the bench as a substitute and scored a penalty in the penalty shoot out, which ensured Germany’s place in the semi final. He continued his impressive football during Euro 88, as he was hailed as being one of the best attackers in the tournament. He was a regular feature in the 1990 world cup in Italy where he nearly even scored in the final against Argentina. He was a world cup winner with West Germany in 1990.

Nery Pumpido - Argentina

Nery Pumpido prides himself as being a professional goalkeeper who keeps total concentration and self-control in all the matches he played in. His goalkeeping career is excellent in its own right. He joined his home town football club, Union Santa Fe, at the age of 19. He made his international debut against Paraguay in 1983. It was not until the 1986 world cup finals where Pumpido was finally regarded as a top world class goalkeeper, he was excellent in the 1986 world cup finals, and Argentina’s 3-2 victory over West Germany in 1986 provided Pumpido with the first of two world champion’s medals. His luck was not as good in the world cup finals in 1990, where he became injured in their second match against USSR, and his world cup career came to an end.

Jorge Barruchaga - Argentina

Jorge Barruchaga is a midfielder whose excellent vision enables him to cover back in defence even when danger isn’t even apparent to other players. He is always all over the pitch especially to take a pass from a team mate under pressure and his technical skill and mobility is second to none. As a youngster Barruchaga devoted all his spare time to football. In 1981 Barruchaga won himself a place in Argentina’s line up at the World Youth cup in Australia. He was signed immediately after the tournament by top club Independiente and he then became a permanent fixture for that club.

The 1986 World cup finals established Burruchaga as being one of the top footballers in the world. In the 1986 World cup finals Burruchaga played an essential role in providing Diego Maradona with a steady stream of passes so that the Argentinean footballing great, could work his magical skill. It was during the 1986 world cup final, where Burruchaga earned his place in world cup hall of fame, when he picked up a pass from Maradona and shot the ball accurately into the net to score the winning goal for Argentina. In the summer of 1986 he signed for French club Nantes however he seriously injured his knee at the beginning of the following season. The injury put him out of action for the next six months. Burruchaga went onto play for Argentina in the 1990 world cup in Italy, he scored in Argentina’s first round group game against USSR, and he played impressively throughout that world cup, unfortunately for Argentina they eventually lost the final against West Germany 1 -0.

Diego Maradona

© 2006 World Cup Years Ltd.