1986 World Cup: when Maradona lit up the world of football

RIAU24.COM – Mexico became the first country to host the World Cup twice after Colombia, originally chosen to host the tournament, pulled out four years before the tournament due to financial reasons.

Canada, USA and Mexico submitted their names as alternate hosts and Mexico was chosen by the FIFA Executive Board.

With the tournament’s growing popularity around the world, the number of teams vying for a place in the main draw rose to 121. Africa and Asia secured two spots each, while Europe had 14. and South America four.

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Canada, Denmark and Iraq made their World Cup debuts.

Maradona, 25, led his team and played every minute of their World Cup run, scoring five goals and providing five assists.

Denmark made a stunning debut, winning all of their group matches, but were knocked out in the second round by Spain.

Defending champions Italy were also knocked out in the second round by France.

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France, Belgium and Mexico advanced to the quarter-finals on penalties. The fourth quarter-final between Argentina and England was played in regulation time but with no less emotion. Maradona scored the opening goal, a header that later ended up in his hand and was dubbed the ‘Hand of God’ goal.

The second, voted Goal of the Century on the FIFA website in 2002, saw Maradona storming out of his own half and beating five England players before beating the keeper. The match took place following the 1982 Falklands War between the two countries.

Argentina met West Germany in the final and looked set to win by a 2-0 lead when Germany made a distinctive comeback. With six minutes left, Maradona created the perfect chance for Jorge Burruchaga, who duly converted to give Argentina their second World Cup title.


Matilda Baker

"Evil pop culture fanatic. Extreme bacon geek. Food junkie. Thinker. Hipster-friendly travel nerd. Coffee buff."

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