1986 – Mexico

World Cup 1986 Final

1986 World Cup champion: The Argentinian team with captain Diego Maradona holding the FIFA World Cup trophy

World Cup 1986 Facts

World Cup 1986 Poster

1986 World Cup poster

  • Date: 31 May – 29 June
  • Final: Argentina – West Germany 3-2
  • 3rd place: France – Belgium 4-2
  • Teams: 24
  • Stadiums: 12
  • Host cities: 11
  • Matches played: 52
  • Goals: 132
  • Attendance: 2,393,031
  • Top scorer: Gary Lineker (England) (6 goals)

World Cup 1986 Background

For the 13th World Cup, Colombia was the only South American to place a bid. Host voting was from this World Cup on only handled by the FIFA Executive Committee (Exco) instead of the FIFA congress. They announced on June 9 1974 in Stockholm that Colombia would host the 1986 World Cup.

However in November 1982, 4 years before the World Cup would start, Colombia withdrew their bid! They stated the reason was financial problems the country was facing regarding the World Cup organisation. As a reaction, countries were able again to place a bid to host the 1986 World Cup.

Canada, United States and Mexico showed interest and placed officially a bid. On May 20 1983 in Zurich, the Exco voted unanimously for Mexico, which was allowed to host the 1986 World Cup for the 2nd time. Their first World Cup was hosted in 1970. Mexico became the first country in World Cup history to have hosted a World Cup twice.

This was the first time the host country announcement was made from Zürich, Switzerland. From this announcement on, all the votes regarding the World Cup host countries would be announced in Zürich where the FIFA headquarters are based.

On September 19 1985 8 months before the World Cup, a severe earthquake occurred in Mexico City creating immense damage in several cities. This event created doubt whether Mexico would be able to continue with the preparations, as was the case with Chile, the host country of the 1962 World Cup. The stadiums however, were not damaged and Mexico was still able to go forward with the preparations and finished on time.

The year 1986 was declared as International Year of Peace by the United Nations. There was clearly emphasis on this declaration since the advertising boards on the stadiums showed both the FIFA and United Nations logos including the slogan: Football for Peace – Peace Year.

The logo of the 1986 World Cup received the following unofficial motto or slogan referring to the design of the logo: El Mundo Unido por Un Balón (The World United by a Ball). This slogan could be considered as the first ever World Cup slogan.

World Cup 1986 Background

11 host cities in Mexico

World Cup 1986 Participants

As was the case with every new World Cup, more countries tried to qualify. For the 1986 World Cup a total of 121 countries participated in the qualifications, trying to be 1 of the 24 countries which eventually would participate in the tournament.

As was introduced in the 1982 World Cup, Mexico ‘86 would consist of 24 countries. 2 of them Mexico (host country) and Italy (previous World Cup winner) were automatically qualified.

12 places for Europe were allocated to the following countries: Bulgaria, Belgium, Soviet Union, France, Hungary, Spain, Northern Ireland, Denmark, West Germany, England, Poland and Portugal. Denmark qualified for the first time and Portugal qualified for the first time since 1966.

4 places for South America were allocated to the following countries: Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay which qualified for the first time since 1958.

2 places for Africa were allocated to the following countries: Algeria and Morocco.

2 places for Asia were allocated to the following countries: South Korea and Iraq. Iraq qualified for the first time and South Korea qualified for the first time since 1954.

1 place for North/Central America and Caribbean excluding Mexico was allocated to country Canada which qualified for the first time.

1 intercontinental play-off had to be played by 2 countries which didn’t qualify directly: UEFA country Scotland against OFC country Australia. Scotland won the play-off and therefore qualified last minute for the 1986 World Cup. 

World Cup 1986 Match Ball

1986 World Cup match ball “Azteca” – First synthetic ball

World Cup 1986 Groups

Although Mexico ’86 contained 24 teams just like in Spain ‘82, the format introduced new features. The round-robin 2nd round which was introduced in the 1974 World Cup has been replaced with a different format. It is the Round of 16 that makes its introduction in this World Cup. This is the start of the knockout phase, meaning if you lose, you’re out.

The 6 groups are now mentioned as group A, B etc. instead of group 1, 2 etc. Each group contains 4 teams where the 2 best teams advance to the Round of 16. The 2nd interesting aspect of the format, is that for the first time in World Cup history the last 2 group matches would be played simultaneously. In both the 1978 and 1982 World Cups the last group matches were affected due to the result of the other group match previously played. (Remember Argentina against Peru in 1978? Or West Germany against Austria in 1982?). Therefore by introducing this rule, all 4 teams will give their best in the last group matches since it is uncertain yet what the outcome will be of the other match. The last group matches have become more exciting with this rule.

The 3rd new aspect of the 1986 format is that aside from the number 1 and 2 teams, the 4 best third place teams would advance to the Round of 16 as well. This means of the 6 groups, only 2 teams occupying the third place would not advance. If multiple third place teams have equal points, the goal difference rule would be implemented. If the goal difference was the same, the amount of goals scored would have to determine the position of both countries. Only when this amount is the same as well, lots had to be drawn. 

In the Round of 16 the number 1 teams of the groups would play against the number 2 or number 3 teams of other groups. Although some Round of 16 matches contained number 2 teams against other number 2 teams, they would not play against number 3 teams.

After the Round of 16, the winning team advanced to the Quarter-Finals. The last time the Quarter-Finals stage was played was back in Mexico ’70. After the Quarter-Finals the teams had to play the Semi-Finals before reaching the Final, or in the pessimistic case the match for the third place.

The 6 seed countries were Mexico, Italy, West Germany, Poland, France and Brazil. They were kept apart from each other and were placed in different groups.

The groups were as followed:

Group AGroup BGroup C
South Korea
Soviet Union
Group DGroup EGroup F
Northern Ireland
West Germany
World Cup 1986 Logo

1986 World Cup logo

World Cup 1986 Stadiums

12 stadiums were used in 11 host cities. In Mexico ’70, only 5 host cities and 5 stadiums were used. All the stadiums used in the 1970 World Cup were used in this tournament. In the 1986 World Cup 2 stadiums were used in Mexico City: Estadio Azteca and Estadio Olímpico. Estadio Azteca has the honour of being the first and only stadium so far to have hosted a World Cup Final twice.

Soon Estadio Azteca will not be the only stadium anymore to have this privilege. Estádio do Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro will be the 2nd stadium to host a World Cup Final for the 2nd time during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

The following 11 cities and 12 stadiums were used in Mexico:

Estadio Azteca
Location: Mexico City
Opened: 1966
Capacity: 114,600
Matches: 9
Status: First and only stadium so far which has hosted a World Cup Final twice and is Mexico's official and biggest stadium
Estadio Olímpico Universitario
Location: Mexico City
Opened: 1952
Capacity: 72,000
Matches: 4
Status: Is a multi-purpose stadium and resembles a volcano since it is built in a volcanic stone surface
Estadio Jalisco
Location: Guadalajara
Opened: 1960
Capacity: 66,000
Matches: 6
Status: Renovated in 1999 and is the 3rd largest Mexican stadium behind the Azteca and Olímpico
Estadio Cuauhtémoc
Location: Puebla
Opened: 1968
Capacity: 46,000
Matches: 5
Status: Expanded in 1985 and is named after the last Aztec emperor, there are plans for a complete renovation
Estadio Universitario
Location: San Nicolás de los Garza
Opened: 1967
Capacity: 44,000
Matches: 5
Status: Has the nickname El Volcán ("The Volcano")
Estadio La Corregidora
Location: Querétaro
Opened: 1985
Capacity: 40,785
Matches: 4
Status: 1 of the most beautiful Mexican stadiums and is used mostly for football matches
Estadio Tecnológico
Location: Monterrey
Opened: 1950
Capacity: 38,000
Matches: 3
Status: Expanded in 1985 for the World Cup and is a multi-purpose stadium
Estadio Nou Camp
Location: León
Opened: 1967
Capacity: 35,000
Matches: 4
Status: Is officiall named Estadio León and is a mid-sized stadium
Estadio Neza 86
Location: Nezahualcoyotl
Opened: 1981
Capacity: 35,000
Matches: 3
Status: Will be renovated soon but the capacity will decrease
Estadio Sergio León Chávez
Location: Irapuato
Opened: 1969
Capacity: 32,000
Matches: 3
Status: Is a multi-purpose stadium but is mostly used for football matches
Estadio Tres de Marzo
Location: Zapopan
Opened: 1971
Capacity: 30,000
Matches: 3
Status: Renovated in the 1973, 1975, in the 80s for the World Cup and for the last time in 1999
Estadio Nemesio Díez
Location: Toluca
Opened: 1954
Capacity: 30,000
Matches: 3
Status: Has the nickname La Bombonera and is one of the oldest Mexican football stadiums

World Cup 1986 Schedule

Group A matches
Date Home Team Results Away Team
31 May Bulgaria 1:1 (0:1) Italy
02 June Argentina 3:1 (2:0) Korea Republic
05 June Italy 1:1 (1:1) Argentina
05 June Korea Republic 1:1 (0:1) Bulgaria
10 June Korea Republic 2:3 (0:1) Italy
10 June Argentina 2:0 (1:0) Bulgaria

Group A results
TeamPlayedWonDrawLostGoals ForGoals AgainstPoints
Korea Republic3012471

Group B matches
Date Home Team Results Away Team
03 June Belgium 1:2 (1:2) Mexico
04 June Paraguay 1:0 (1:0) Iraq
07 June Mexico 1:1 (1:0) Paraguay
08 June Iraq 1:2 (0:2) Belgium
11 June Iraq 0:1 (0:0) Mexico
11 June Paraguay 2:2 (0:1) Belgium

Group B results
TeamPlayedWonDrawLostGoals ForGoals AgainstPoints

Group C matches
Date Home Team Results Away Team
01 June Canada 0:1 (0:0) France
02 June Soviet Union 6:0 (3:0) Hungary
05 June France 1:1 (0:0) Soviet Union
06 June Hungary 2:0 (1:0) Canada
09 June Hungary 0:3 (0:1) France
09 June Soviet Union 2:0 (0:0) Canada

Group C results
TeamPlayedWonDrawLostGoals ForGoals AgainstPoints
Soviet Union3210915

Group D matches
Date Home Team Results Away Team
01 June Spain 0:1 (0:0) Brazil
03 June Algeria 1:1 (0:1) Northern Ireland
06 June Brazil 1:0 (0:0) Algeria
07 June Northern Ireland 1:2 (0:2) Spain
12 June Northern Ireland 0:3 (0:2) Brazil
12 June Algeria 0:3 (0:1) Spain

Group D results
TeamPlayedWonDrawLostGoals ForGoals AgainstPoints
Northern Ireland3012261

Group E matches
Date Home Team Results Away Team
04 June Uruguay 1:1 (1:0) Germany FR
04 June Scotland 0:1 (0:0) Denmark
08 June Germany FR 2:1 (1:1) Scotland
08 June Denmark 6:1 (2:1) Uruguay
13 June Denmark 2:0 (1:0) Germany FR
13 June Scotland 0:0 Uruguay

Group E results
TeamPlayedWonDrawLostGoals ForGoals AgainstPoints
Germany FR3111343

Group F matches
Date Home Team Results Away Team
02 June Morocco 0:0 Poland
03 June Portugal 1:0 (0:0) England
06 June England 0:0 Morocco
07 June Poland 1:0 (0:0) Portugal
11 June Portugal 1:3 (0:2) Morocco
11 June England 3:0 (3:0) Poland

Group F results
TeamPlayedWonDrawLostGoals ForGoals AgainstPoints

Round of 16
Date Home Team Results Away Team
15 June Mexico 2:0 (1:0) Bulgaria
15 June Soviet Union 3:4 a.e.t. (2:2, 1:0) Belgium
16 June Argentina 1:0 (1:0) Uruguay
16 June Brazil 4:0 (1:0) Poland
17 June Italy 0:2 (0:1) France
17 June Morocco 0:1 (0:0) Germany FR
18 June England 3:0 (1:0) Paraguay
18 June Denmark 1:5 (1:1) Spain
Date Home Team Results Away Team
21 June Brazil 1:1 a.e.t. (1:1, 1:1) 3:4 PSO France
21 June Germany FR 0:0 a.e.t. 4:1 PSO Mexico
22 June Spain 1:1 a.e.t. (1:1, 0:1) 4:5 PSO Belgium
22 June Argentina 2:1 (0:0) England
Date Home Team Results Away Team
25 June Argentina 2:0 (0:0) Belgium
25 June France 0:2 (0:1) Germany FR
Match for third place
Date Home Team Results Away Team
28 June France 4:2 a.e.t. (2:2, 2:1) Belgium
Date Home Team Results Away Team
29 June Argentina 3:2 (1:0) Germany FR

World Cup 1986 Memorable Matches

Group Matches

Group A

Italy – Argentina 1-1
Estadio Cuauhtémoc, Puebla – attendance: 32,000

Argentina was the only group A country which have won 2 matches. Therefore they easily advanced to the next round. The match against Italy was the only match Argentina didn’t win in this successful World Cup. Italian striker Alessandro Altobelli scored a penalty which resulted in a 1-0 score. Diego Maradona who was going to steal the show in Mexico ’86, scored the equalizer 28 minutes later. Both countries advanced including Bulgaria which didn’t win any matches.

Group B

Belgium – Mexico 1-2
Estadio Azteca, Mexico City – attendance: 110,000

This was the first win of the tournament for Mexico. Like Argentina, Mexico won 2 matches and drew 1 match. In the match against Belgium, Mexican players Fernando Quirarte and Hugo Sánchez scored the first 2 goals. Striker Erwin Vandenbergh scored for Belgium. Belgium ended up on the 3rd place but advanced to the next round. Although it appeared to be unlikely at first, Belgium would go far in this tournament with a great goalkeeper Jean-Marie Pfaff. Mexico, for a 2nd time in history, advanced to the next round as well together with Paraguay.

Group C

France – Soviet Union 1-1
Estadio Nou Camp, León – attendance: 36,540

A strong Soviet Union was able to defeat Hungary with an impressive 6-0 score. It was this high amount which would help Soviet Union to top group C. This was the only group C match which ended in a draw. Vasyl Rats scored first for Soviet Union and Luis Fernández for France. Both teams would win the other 2 group matches against Canada and Hungary. Therefore both teams ended up with 5 points. Since Soviet Union scored more goals than France thus ending up with a better goal difference, France ended up on the 2nd place. Hungary with 2 points became the only country in World Cup history to be eliminated as third place country due to the goal difference rule. Bulgaria and Uruguay of group A and E also had 2 points, but with a better goal difference.

Group D

Northern Ireland – Brazil 0-3
Estadio Jalisco, Guadalajara – attendance: 51,000

Brazil won their first 2 matches and would easily win this match against Northern Ireland. Careca scored the first and the 3rd goal of the match. Josimar who played his first World Cup scored the 2nd goal of the match. It was a goal which is his first and memorable at the same time. Josimar ended up playing since first choice right back Édson got injured. Northern Ireland was eliminated which meant goalkeeper Pat Jennings played his last international match. Jennings played international matches for 22 years and participated in 6 World Cup qualification rounds (1966-1986). Brazil topped the group and advanced together with Spain. The only group match Spain lost was the one against Brazil.

Group E (Group of Death)

Denmark – Uruguay 6-1
Estadio Neza 86, Nezahualcóyotl – Attendance: 26,500

Denmark finally played their first World Cup and made an impressive debut! At least in the group stage. Group E was considered as the group of death with West Germany and Uruguay as strong opponents. Denmark however defeated all of them and trashed especially Uruguay. The only goal scored by Uruguay was a penalty taken by Enzo Francescoli. Søren Lerby, Michael Laudrup and Jesper Olsen scored a goal each for Denmark. Elkjær Larsen scored a hat-trick. Denmark obviously topped the group and advanced together with West Germany and Uruguay. Uruguay advanced without having won any group matches.

Group F

Portugal – Morocco 1-3
Estadio Tres de Marzo, Guadalajara – attendance: 28,000

In this match Morocco wrote history. This was the decisive match. Due to the 1-3 score, Morocco became the first African country to top a group and to advance to the next round. They also became the 2nd country outside Europe and America to advance. The first was North Korea back in the 1966 World Cup. Morocco drew the 2 previous group matches and therefore had to win against Portugal. Abderrazak Khairi scored 2 goals for Morocco and Krimau 1 goal. Midfielder Diamantino scored the only goal for Portugal. Portugal, which qualified for the first time since Eusébio wrote history in 1966, was eliminated. Portugal wasn’t having a great tournament and even refused to train between their first and the 2nd match.They went on strike due to prize-money issues. Although Portugal defeated England, it was Morocco, England and Poland which advanced. The goal difference rule needed to be used for England and Poland, resulting in England taking the 2nd spot and Poland the 3rd spot of the group.

Round of 16

Mexico – Bulgaria 2-0
Estadio Azteca, Mexico City – attendance: 114,580

Mexico the number 1 of Group B was to strong for Bulgaria. The first goal scored by Mexico was a beauty. Midfielder Manuel Negrete scored this classic goal with a spectacular scissors-kick. The goal boosted up Mexico’s confidence. In the 2nd half Raúl Servín scored the final goal. Bulgaria which finished 3rd in group A was eliminated without having won any matches in this tournament.

Soviet Union – Belgium 3-4
Estadio Nou Camp, León – attendance: 32,277

This exciting and unique match finished the 90 minutes with an end score of 2-2. Enzo Scifo and Jan Ceulemans  scored for Belgium and Igor Belanov scored 2 goals for Soviet Union. The match entered extra time. Belgium changed their pace resulting in Stéphane Demol and Nico Claesen scoring a goal in the first 15 minutes. Igor Belanov scored a penalty for Soviet Union 1 minute after the 4th Belgian goal. Desperately they were trying to find the net before extra time was over, but Soviet Union didn’t succeed. Although Igor Belanov scored a hat-trick, it was Belgium which advanced to the next round.

Argentina – Uruguay 1-0
Estadio Cuauhtémoc, Puebla – attendance: 26,000

The first ever World Cup Final back in 1930 was between Uruguay and Argentina. Since then, they have never encountered each other in a World Cup again. Until the 1986 World Cup! After 56 years Argentina had the chance to take revenge, and they did! Pedro Pasculli was the scorer of this important goal. Diego Maradona scored a goal as well but this was dissalowed. The 1-0 was enough to eliminate Uruguay and for Argentina to advance in the tournament.

Denmark – Spain 1-5
Estadio La Corregidora, Querétaro – attendance: 38,500

Denmark was unstoppable in the group stage. But the race ended in the Round of 16 match. Their opponent was Spain. The match started good for Denmark. Jesper Olsen scored a penalty and changed the score into 1-0. Spanish player Emilio Butragueño equalized 2 minutes before half time. In the break Spain apparently changed their mindset completely. In the 2nd half they crushed Denmark with 4 more goals. Emilio Butragueño scored 3 more goals of which 1 was a penalty. Andoni Goikoetxea also scored a penalty. The Danish dream was suddenly over.


Brazil – France 1-1 (3-4)
Estadio Jalisco, Guadalajara – attendance: 65,000

Brazil eliminated Poland and France eliminated Italy. Brazil was a hard opponent with having won every match so far in the tournament. It was Brazilian striker Careca who scored the first goal 17 minutes after kick-off. Michel Platini who also scored against Poland, scored his final World Cup goal in this match. Coincidentally this day was also his birthday. Before half time the score was 1-1. Nobody scored in the 2nd half but Zico had the chance to score the winning goal. A penalty was awarded but goalkeeper Joël Bats saved his penalty. Brazilian goalkeeper Carlos was lucky not to be booked in the match due to an obvious foul outside the box on French player Bruno Bellone. France as has happened in the Spain ’82, had to participate in a penalty shootout again. This was the first penalty shootout for Brazil. Alemão, Zico and Branco scored for Brazil. Sócrates and Júlio César missed. Yannick Stopyra, Manuel Amoros, Bruno Bellone and Luis Fernández scored for France. Bellone’s valid penalty was pretty remarkable since it had to hit the crossbar and the back of the goalkeeper first before entering the goal! Michel Platini was the only one who missed, the shot went over the bar. France advanced and Brazil was eliminated. This is the only World Cup penalty shootout so far which Brazil has lost.

Argentina – England 2-1
Estadio Azteca, Mexico City – attendance: 114,580

A legendary and instant classic match this was. Many people can still remember this match clearly because of no one other than Diego Maradona. 2 legendary World Cup moments happened in this match. Amazingly both moments happened in a time span of 5 minutes! It was in this match against England where Maradona scored his famous ‘hand of God‘ goal. He clearly touched the ball with his hands but the referee didn’t see it. Maradona stated that the goal was scored “un poco con la cabeza de Maradona y otro poco con la mano de Dios” (“a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God”). 4 minutes later he scored a goal which in 2002 was selected as ‘Goal of the Century‘. Maradona dribbled half the length of the field past 5 English players before scoring his legendary goal. Striker Gary Lineker scored the only goal for England in the last 10 minutes of the match. With this goal Lineker became the 1986 World Cup top scorer with 6 goals. Nevertheless, Argentina won this match. Another memorable fact is that Argentina’s opponent was rival England. This match was politically charged due to the Falklands War which occurred 4 years earlier. This was Argentina’s revenge.


France – West Germany 0-2
Estadio Jalisco, Guadalajara – attendance: 45,000

West Germany won the penalty shootout against Mexico and encountered France. In the 1982 World Cup they played against each other, where the shocking foul on Patrick Battiston occurrd by goalkeeper Harald Schumacher. They both shook hands before this match. Andreas Brehme scored early in the match resulting in 0-1 score. This remained for the majority of the 2nd half of the match. France was trying hard to score the 1-1, but  Rudi Völler’s goal ensured West Germany would enter the Final for a 2nd time in a row.  As in the 1982 World Cup, France lost to West Germany. For a 2nd time in a row, France had to play the match for the third place.

Argentina – Belgium 2-0
Estadio Azteca, Mexico City – attendance: 114,500

From the 3rd position of group B, Belgium managed to go all the way to the Semi-Final. In the Quarter-Final Belgium defeated Spain in the penalty shootout. They became the first country which have scored all 5 penalties. They encountered Argentina in the Semi-Final, but Diego Maradona and his team were determined to win this World Cup. Diego Maradona scored a goal but was dissalowed since he used his arm. Nevertheless he scored 2 great goals where the last one is considered as 1 of the greatest World Cup goals ever as well. Argentina went to the Final and Belgium played the match for the third place, where they lost against France.

World Cup 1986 Final

2 giants Argentina and West Germany met each other in the Final. Argentina never managed to defeat West Germany in a World Cup. Argentina won the FIFA World Cup trophy only once (1978) and West Germany won already 2 times (1954, 1974) together with Uruguay.

Argentina with captain Diego Maradona performed a memorable performance in this World Cup. Only 1 group match ended in a draw before beating all their opponents in the knockout stage. It was impossible not knowing who Diego Maradona was, especially after his ‘Hand of God’ goal and a legendary goal that since the year 2002 is called Goal of the Century. Both goals were scored against England in the Quarter-Final.

World Cup 1986 Final

The 1986 Argentinian team

As in the previous World Cup, West Germany reached a World Cup Final again. Before reaching the knockout stage, they lost, won and drew a match. In the Quarter-Final against Mexico, a penalty shootout needed to be won in order to reach the Semi-Final.

Argentina and West Germany encountered each other for the 3rd time in a World Cup. They played against each other in 1958 and in 1966 as well. West Germany ended up winning the 1958 match but the 1966 match ended in a draw.

On the 29th of June, in the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City with an attendance of 114,600 the Final was ready to start. the Final started with an opening goal by Argentinian player Jose Luis Brown (23′).That was the only goal scored in the first half. This changed completely in the 2nd half. 11 minutes after the 2nd half started, Argentinian Jorge Valdano scored the 2-0. But of course West Germany wouldn’t be West Germany if nothing surprising would happen.

World Cup 1986 Final

Karlheinz Förster and goalkeeper Harald Schumacher don’t make it easy for Maradona

They showed their opponent once more never to underestimate the Germans and scored 2 goals in the 74th and 80th minute. The first was scored by Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and the 2nd by Rudi Völler. With a score of 2-2 any team could still become 1986 World Cup champion. 3 minutes after Germany’s 2nd goal, Diego Maradona gave an excellent pass to Jorge Burruchaga who scored the final goal of the match: 3-2 (83’).

World Cup 1986 Final

Jorge Burruchaga scores the 3-2 and final goal of the match

Argentina won their 2nd World Cup and West Germany lost a World Cup Final for the 3rd time. 6 yellow cards were handed out in this Final which was a record, but this has already been beaten in the 2010 World Cup Final.

World Cup 1986 Final

Many people agree Maradona ‘single-handedly’ won this World Cup

West Germany would have their revenge in the next World Cup. For the first time a World Cup Final would repeat itself in a next World Cup.

World Cup 1986 Final

West Germany = Green (Coach: Franz Beckenbauer)
Argentina = White/Blue (Coach: Carlos Bilardo)

World Cup 1986 Mascot

World Cup 1986 Mascot

1986 World Cup mascot Pique

The previous mascot of the 1970 World Cup in Mexico was Juanito, a little boy. This time a different mascot had to be created. As in Spain ’82, FIFA introduced a character that itself is related to the host country’s culture. This time it was a jalapeño pepper named Pique. The jalapeño pepper is a common ingredient in the Mexican hot cuisine to create spicy dishes. Pique’s name comes from picante which is Spanish for spicy peppers and sauces. Pique wears a moustache and the flat part of a sombrero since his head completes the sombrero form. Although Mexico is using green shirts, Pique contains a red shirt and white shorts to match Mexico’s colours. A green shirt would simply be hard to differentiate. As with other mascots, Pique is shown with a football. As with the latest mascots, the football is not the Azteca but the famous 1970 World Cup match ball Telstar.

World Cup 1986 Song

The 1986 World Cup song is very different in comparison to the 1982 World Cup song. Instead of a catchy happy beat, a deep and beautiful English song named A Special Kind of Hero was introduced as the 1986 World Cup song. The singer who touched many with this beautiful piece of art is British musical theater actress Stephanie Lawrence. Unfortunately she passed away in 2000. A Special Kind of Hero is considered as one of the best and most memorable World Cup songs ever.

World Cup 1986 Records

  • 3 countries qualified for the first time: Denmark, Iraq and Canada
  • Although Denmark is FIFA member since 1904, they weren’t able to qualify for any of the previous 12 World Cups
  • Argentina won the World Cup for the 2nd time
  • First time the Round of 16 was played
  • First time the last 2 group matches are played simultaneously
  • Mexico is the first country to have hosted a World Cup twice
  • Morocco is the first African country to have reached the 2nd round
  • Estadio Azteca is the only stadium so far to have hosted 2 World Cup Finals
  • First time groups are not called by numbers (123456), but by letters (ABCDEF)
  • Algeria became the first African country to have qualified for a World Cup twice in a row
  • Uruguay player José Batista was given a red card 56 seconds after the kick-off in the first round match against Scotland, the quickest red card ever in a World Cup
  • Belgium is the first country to have scored all 5 penalties in a penalty shootout
  • Paraguay’s coach’s Cayetano Ré is the first coach who was sent off after repeatedly walking on the pitch
  • Argentina player Marcelo Trobbiani played the least amount of minutes on the field in World Cup history: only the last 2 minutes in the Final
  • Although Soviet Union player Igor Belanov scored a hat-trick against Belgium, they lost the match (3-4). This happened once before in World Cup history where in 1954 Swiss player Josef Hügi scored a hat-trick against Austria but lost the match (5-7)
  • Brazil is the first country to have won the FIFA Fair Play Trophy twice

Did You Know

  • Italian player Alessandro Altobelli who scored the last 1982 World Cup goal in the Final, scored the opening goal of Mexico ’86 against Bulgaria 
  • Argentina became the last country which won a World Cup without being a seed country
  • Maradona scored in this World Cup against England a goal with the ‘Hand of God and 4 minutes later a goal that is voted by FIFA.com voters in 2002 the ‘Goal of the Century
  • Mexico coincidentally reached the Quarter-Finals in the 1970 and 1986 World Cup only: when Mexico was the host country
  • This was the 2nd time Portugal qualified for a World Cup 20 years after their first World Cup in 1966, it would however take at least another 16 years before Portugal would qualify again (in 2002)
  • Iraqi defender Samir Shaker spat at the referee in the match against Belgium, he got the yellow card and 1 year suspension by FIFA and would never play for his country again
  • Portuguese players went on strike over prize-money and refused to train between their first and 2nd match
  • Host voting was from this World Cup on only handled by the FIFA Executive Committee (Exco) instead of the FIFA congress
  • TV announcers were confused during Round of 16 match England against Paraguay since there were 2 Gary Stevens on the English side, the two players Gary Michael Stevens and Gary Andrew Stevens are not related.
  • Shirt swapping  was once officially prohibited in 1986 because FIFA did not want players to bare their chests on the field
  • Azteca match ball is the first fully synthetic FIFA World Cup ball
  • Azteca match ball was a completely new model made of synthetic material in layers, no more leather balls were used in World Cups
  • Azteca match ball is fully waterproof
  • Azteca match ball is the first ball which featured a unique World Cup design: the triads were based on Aztec murals and architecture referring to the host country
  • First official World Cup franchise video game is World Cup Carnival based on the 1986 World Cup
  • In this World Cup the phenomenon Mexican wave appeared for the first time, which became popular worldwide after many people outside North America saw this on the screen, and therefore referred the phenomenon as Mexican Wave. See below an example:

World Cup 1986 FIFA Awards

  • Golden Ball: Diego Maradona (Argentina)
  • Silver Ball: Harald Schumacher (West Germany)
  • Bronze Ball: Preben Elkjær Larsen (Denmark)
  • Golden Boot: Gary Lineker (England) (6 goals)
  • Silver Boot: Emilio Butragueño (Spain), Careca (Brazil), Diego Maradona (Maradona) (5 goals)
  • Bronze Boot: Igor Belanov (Soviet Union), Preben Elkjær Larsen (Denmark), Alessandro Altobelli (Italy), Jorge Valdano (Argentina) (4 goals)
  • Best Young Player Award: Enzo Scifo (20 years old) (Belgium)
  • FIFA Fair Play Trophy: Brazil
World Cup 1986 FIFA Awards

Diego Maradona (Argentina)

World Cup 1986 FIFA Awards

Gary Lineker (England)


World Cup 1986 FIFA All-Star Team

2 countries are included for the first time: Belgium and Denmark. Only French player Michel Platini has been included before in an All-Star Team. Argentinian player Diego Maradona made its first appearance in an All-Star Team. What makes this All-Star Team interesting is the fact that of all the Argentinian players who won the 1986 World Cup, only Maradona is included.

Jean-Marie Pfaff (Belgium)Josimar (Brazil)
Manuel Amoros (France)
Júlio César (Brazil)
Jan Ceulemans (Belgium)
Jean Tigana (France)
Michel Platini (France)
Diego Maradona (Argentina)
Preben Elkjær Larsen (Denmark)
Emilio Butragueño (Spain)
Gary Lineker (England)

World Cup 1986 in Action

1986 FIFA World Cup Highlights

World Cup Mexico 86 Top 20 Goals

Hero – Official 1982 World Cup Movie Part 1

Hero – Official 1982 World Cup Movie Part 2

Hero – Official 1982 World Cup Movie (in Portuguese)

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