World Cup Special: Maradona leads Argentines towards second triumph in the 13th edition of the World Cup

Brazil's squad enjoyed a passable season but was defeated by France in the quarterfinals.
2022-09-28 08:14:10

In preparation for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Sambafoot releases a compilation of all previous World Cup iterations. We shall discuss the thirteenth edition, which took place in 1986, this week.

The second time Mexico hosted the World Cup was in 1986. Between May 31 and June 29 of that year, 24 teams participated in the biggest football tournament in history.

The first round of the tournament would be placed in Colombia. However, the South American nation were unable to host the tournament due to severe economic issues. The Cup was offered to Brazil, the United States, and Canada by FIFA, the event’s organizer, but they declined.

FIFA approved Mexico’s request to host the event once again in 1983.

How was the 1986 World Cup?

In contrast to previous iterations, the 1986 Cup was once again contested with only one group stage during the first round of the competition. The top two teams from each group, together with the four best third-place teams, progressed from the 24 teams that were split into six groups of four.

Brazilian campaign was reasonable

The Brazilian squad were the heavy favourites to win the championship in 1982, but they fell short. Nevertheless, during the 1986 World Cup, coach Telê Santana and a number of outstanding players who had previously participated in the Cup had a second chance to contend for the championship.

Brazil lost in a penalty shootout to France in the quarterfinals despite having great talents like Zico and Sócrates on their team and having a strong start (winning all of their games in the group stage). See the results of our campaign below.

  • Brazil 1-0 Spain (group stage);
  • Brazil 1-0 Algeria (group stage);
  • Brazil 3-0 Northern Ireland (group stage);
  • Brazil 4-0 Poland (round of 16);
  • Brazil 1-1 France, and 3×4 on penalties (quarter-finals).

Maradona led Argentina to the title

Diego Armando Maradona was regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time and died away in 2020. He was already regarded as one of the greatest football stars in 1986, and he did not disappoint when he participated in the Cup.

Maradona had the most right-handed dribbles, opportunities created (27), and assists (5) throughout the tournament (53). The quantity of accurate dribbles set a previous record for all Worlds editions.

The Argentine star’s outstanding performance helped the nation win its second World Cup championship. 114,000 spectators watched the championship match between Mexico versus Germany at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City. The whole Argentina campaign is shown here.

  • Argentina 3-1 South Korea (group stage);
  • Argentina 1-1 Italy (group stage);
  • Argentina 2-0 Bulgaria (group stage);
  • Argentina 1-0 Uruguay (round of 16);
  • Argentina 2-1 England (quarterfinals);
  • Argentina 2-0 Belgium (semifinal);
  • Argentina 3-2 Germany (final).

Awards and Trivia 

Of course, Maradona won the award for the 1986 World Cup’s best player. With six goals scored, England forward Gary Lineker led all scorers.

Team of Stars

The team of the best players in the competition was formed by: Schumacher (Germany), Josimar and Júlio César (Brazil), Amoros, Tigana and Platini (France), Ceulemans (Belgium), Maradona (Argentina), Larsen (Denmark), Butragueño (Spain) and Lineker (England).


  • Maradona scored a goal with his hands in the match against England (2-1), in the quarterfinals of the competition. The goal became so famous that it is known in Argentina as “A Mão de Deus”;
  • For the second time in history (first time in 1978), the Brazilian team ended the competition undefeated and, even so, without the title;
  • Romualdo Arpi directed the final between Argentina and Germany and became the second Brazilian to achieve this feat (the first was Arnaldo Cezar Coelho in the 1982 edition);
  • The ball used in the matches of the 1986 World Cup, called “Azteca”, was the first developed in synthetic material.