History of Football: FIFA World Cup - 1986

The thirteenth FIFA football World Cup tournament took place in Mexico from 31st May to 29th June 1986. Colombia had been originally earmarked to host the 1986 World Cup finals but had to resign their position due mainly to their financial inability to update facilities to FIFA’s requirements.

Mexico itself suffered an earthquake in September, 1985 in which some 20,000 – 25,000 people are thought to have died and a further 150,000 made homeless, but the stadiums were largely unaffected and the tournament was able to go ahead on schedule. Mexico thus became the first country in World Cup football history to stage two World Cup finals tournaments, after first doing so in 1970.

Morocco became the first African team to survive the first round by winning their group and Paraguayan coach Cayetano Re became the first coach to be sent off in World Cup finals during a first-round match against Belgium on 11 June 1986, because he was standing too close to the field.

Uruguay’s Jose Batista was sent off in their match against Scotland. It was the fastest red card ever shown in World Cup football history, coming as it did within the first minute of the match.

Argentina and their captain, Diego Maradona (known as ‘Dieguito’) dominated the tournament with Maradona scoring five and creating another five of his team’s 14 goals en route to the Final. In the Final itself, it was Maradona’s defence-splitting pass that set up the winning goal.

He – and probably the tournament as a whole – will be best remembered for his two strikes in the Quarter Final match against England. The first, in Maradona’s own words – and with reference to the 1982 Falklands War between the two countries – came from the ‘Hand of God’ as he raised an arm and flipped the ball past England goalkeeper, Peter Shilton, as he came out to punch clear. The referee allowed the goal to stand. Maradona’s second goal in that match, just three minutes later, is considered to be one of the great World Cup goals as he slalomed 75 yards past five England players, including Shilton, to score. As in 1978, Argentina’s championship win was mired in controversy.

The final was held at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City on 29th June 1986 in front of a crowd of 114,600. Argentina beat West Germany 3.2 to win their second World Cup after their achievement on home soil in 1978. It was the second successive World Cup Final that the Germans had contested and lost and third Final defeat so far (they also lost the Final as a reunited Germany in 2002). Argentina’s scorers were José Luis Brown (known as ‘Tata’), Jorge Valdano and Jorge Burruchaga; Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Rudi Völler scored for West Germany.

The Golden Boot (‘adidas Golden Shoe’ from 1982 until 2006) award for most goals scored in the tournament was won by Gary Lineker of England with six goals.

Winners: Argentina

Runners-up: West Germany

The Football Ground is a content aggregating site and is in no way endorsed, authorised or licensed by any of the third-party sites being linked to

You can contact us at any time via our Contact us page

Share this page