When Butragueno broke Danish hearts

18 Jun 2020
  • Spain beat Denmark 5-1 on this day in 1986

  • Emilio Butragueno scored four of La Roja's goals

  • Butragueno: "It was more than I ever could have dreamed of"

The Round of 16 at the 1986 FIFA World Cup™ will forever be associated with the name of Emilio Butragueno and a shock 5-1 scoreline. The striker scored four goals for Spain against Denmark to put the match beyond the reach of the tournament’s dark horses and fire his country into the last eight.

"That was the highlight of my career," the man who made more than 460 appearances for Real Madrid later recalled. "We got through to the Round of 16, where we came up against Denmark, who were one of the best teams around back then, one of the favourites.

"They were the better side in the first half, but we got back into the game thanks to an error on their part. They took the initiative again but we just hit them on the counter. I scored four goals, which was unheard of and something I’d never envisaged doing in a World Cup. It was more than I ever could have dreamed of," he added, still seemingly in disbelief.

"I felt a bit strange. I wasn’t a great goalscorer but I got lucky that day and won two penalties. I just saw it as a one-off. I swapped jerseys with Michael Laudrup at the end, and I’ve still got his shirt at home. My father, who was in the stands with my future wife, was ecstatic. He was over the moon but I was pretty relaxed about it," he said.

Butragueno ended the tournament as the second-highest goalscorer, although Spain’s dream of becoming world champions came to an end in a penalty shootout with Belgium in the next round.