Every once in a while a sporting event comes along that grows in stature the older it gets. Twenty-five years ago today one of the most famous football matches of all time took place in Mexico City as Argentina met England in the 1986 World Cup. I recently watched this match in its entirety to take you on a journey back to the Azteca Stadium.
Match – Argentina vs England, Quarter-Finals of the World Cup.
Date – June 22nd, 1986.
Attendance - 114,580
Background – A lot of the talk before this game was about the matchup in the 1966 World Cup quarter final at Wembley, a game that England won 1-0 and was best known for the sending off of Argentina skipper Antonio Rattin for ‘violence of the tongue’. Rattin was incensed and took 10 minutes to leave the pitch, starting a rivalry that remains today. The two teams had met three times since that game but not for six years when England won 3-1 at Wembley in 1980. The Falklands War of 1982 soon followed and only a World Cup could bring together these two teams on the same pitch at the time.
Argentina (3-5-2) – Nery Pumpido (River Plate), Jose Luis Brown (Atletico Nacional), Jose Luis Cuciuffo (Velez Sarsfield), Oscar Ruggeri (River Plate), Ricardo Giusti (Independiente), Hector Enrique (River Plate), Sergio Batista (Argentinos Juniors), Julio Orticoechea (Boca Juniors), Jorge Burruchaga (Nantes), Diego Maradona (Napoli), Jorge Valdano (Real Madrid).
England (4-4-2) – Peter Shilton (Southampton), Gary Stevens (Everton), Terry Fenwick (QPR), Terry Butcher (Ipswich Town), Kenny Sansom (Arsenal), Trevor Steven (Everton), Peter Reid (Everton), Glenn Hoddle (Tottenham), Steve Hodge (Aston Villa), Peter Beardsley (Newcastle), Gary Lineker (Everton).
Youngest player on the pitch – Trevor Steven (22).
Oldest player on the pitch – Peter Shilton (36).
World Class – Peter Shilton, Gary Lineker, Diego Maradona, Oscar Ruggeri.
Borderline and not fully appreciated by their countries – Glenn Hoddle, Jorge Burruchaga.
Not good enough at that level – Terry Fenwick, Peter Reid.
Players who’d perhaps be better today than then – Peter Beardsley, Julio Olarticoechea, Sergio Batista.
Players who would also still excel at that level today - Gary Steven, Kenny Sansom, Ricardo Giusti, Jorge Valdano.
Player who went on to get the most international caps - Peter Shilton (125).
Player who went on to get the most international goals – Gary Lineker (48).
Players who went on to manage their country – Glenn Hoddle (1996-1999), Diego Maradona (2008-2010), Sergio Batista (2010-).
Where are they now? – Notables include Enrique who is actually Batista’s current assistant coach with the national team and Valdano who last month lost his battle with Jose Mourinho and stepped down as Real Madrid’s Director General and President. Sadly, Cuciuffo is the only player who is no longer alive, after he was shot while hunting with a friend in December 2004. For England, Hoddle – who would lose to Argentina on penalties as coach 12 years later – is now running a football academy in Spain. Sansom, Steven and, most notably, Lineker all work in television; Reid manages Plymouth Argyle while Butcher is managing in Scotland for Inverness Caledonian Thistle.