Top 100 World Cup Moments (From the Aussie P.O.V.): 15-Maradona Magic and Argentina’s Second World Cup (1986)

Diego Maradona celebrates Argentina's 1986 win

Only France could really be up there with Argentina and their juicy awesomeness at Mexico ’86. The Argies (like in their 2010 campaign) had been a little suspect in the lead up to the finals, but under Carlos Bilardo they hit another gear in Mexico thanks to Diego Maradona and a support cast of stars who were hell bent on winning back the cup and forgetting the disaster of the 1982 campaign. In the first round they cruised past South Korea 3-1 thanks a double from Real Madrid striker Jorge Valando and then drew with Italy before rounding things off with a 2-0 win over Bulgaria, Valdano scoring again.

In the second round the bastardised version of Argentina (Uruguay) kicked them all over the pitch but they prevailed 1-0 before they got past England in a certain quarter final where Maradona ‘starred’ for many reasons. By this stage Argentina were flying and Maradona dominated against Belgium in the semi final with another double for a 2-0 win and one hand on the cup. Their opponents in the final would be West Germany who were now coached by legendary captain Franz Beckenbuaer. With some of the better players from their 1982 campaign still in the side Beckenbauer had added stars such as Rudi Voller and Andreas Brehme, while Lothar Matthaus was quickly becoming one of the best midfielders in the world and a future captain.

They did look a little dodgy in the opening round with a draw against Uruguay (1-1), a come from behind win over Scotland (2-1) and a loss to Denmark (2-0) that saw them finish runner up. Even in the knockout stages they rode their luck. They needed a very late goal from Matthaus to sneak past Morocco 1-0 and then knock out the hosts on penalties after a 0-0 draw. It was only in the semi final that West Germany looked dangerous and that was against a French team who had played in a classic against Brazil in the quarter finals and looked knackered. A 2-0 win for West Germany and a ticket to the final thanks to goals from Brehme and Voller. For the second time in a row at the same stage West Germany had knocked the French out, but at least no one was put in a coma thanks to a hip to the face this time. It would also be the last time the French would be seen in a World Cup until France ’98.

Argentina were heavy favourites for the final and so they should have been as they had been (next to the French and some would also say Belgium) the most impressive team in the tournament. West Germany weren’t to be sneezed at though and it would be a game to remember. Well, eventually it would be because Argentina were the first to score when after 23 minutes veteran Jose Luis Brown headed home and ran to the corner flag to celebrate and it was thanks to a mistake by the still much maligned bad guy Schumacher. West Germany chased hopeful long balls and that was all they really could do with the midfield bogged down trying to stop the Argentine machine.

In the second half it took ten minutes before Argentina were 2-0 up. Valdano popped up again after he was put through by Maradona when Argentina were on the break. Valdano slotted home easily. All over was it? Had the favourites shrugged aside the supposed underdogs? No, Beckenbuaer started making subs. Voller had come on at half time for the captain Kalus Allofs and then veteran Felix Magath was replaced by fellow veteran Dieter Hoeneb. It didn’t take long for this caution thrown to the wind to pay off when Karl-Heinze Rummenigge scored after a corner was flicked on and he slid the ball home from close range.

West Germany had a second wind and the Argentines were suddenly on the back foot in the searing heat and altitude of Mexico City. With 10 minutes to go the super sub Voller had West Germany back on level terms when again from a corner he was first to react to a ball that had been headed towards goal before the keeper could get to it. 2-2!!!! Was this an upset in the making? Miracle of Berne II?  Maradona still had more bit of magic up his sleeve and with 7 minutes to go and with the ball bogged in the midfield his little sidefooted pass found Nantes based striker Jorge Burruchage and like the second goal he beat the defence and slid the ball past the keeper and it was 3-2 Argentina!

The West German’s had done very well to get it back to 2-2 but this scoreline was beyond them in the heat, and 3-2 it stayed. Argentina had won their second World Cup and deservedly so as they had been a brilliant team throughout the tournament and captained by the star of the tournament who now could be seen as one of the greats. Maradona collected the cup and hoisted in to the air to equal West Germany’s record in the cup, with Argentina (like Brazil in 1970) a joy to watch in Mexico after overcoming all detractors and their own self doubt.

The West Germans were gutted, but they had done well to get there and had almost slinked away with an upset. On the bright side, it was the second time that Harald Shumacher would take home a losers medal which is what many thought he deserved after the incident in Spain ’82 where he knocked out a French player. West Germany would of course get their revenge four years later in the Olympic Stadium in Rome over the Argies but for now it was the time for the “La Albicelesteto” to be kings of the world and thoroughly deserved after one of the most exciting World Cup finals in history.

About Dennis Gedling

RTR FM Presenter. Glory Guerrillas Producer and Co-Host. Contributer to Football Nation Radio and Football West. Worships at the feet of the mighty Cats, Socceroos, Matildas, West Perth, Glory and Glasgow's Green and White most of the time.

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