52 days to go: Batista's red mist
The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ is getting closer – 52 days to go!
In less than two months' time – on 14 June, to be precise – the 21st FIFA World Cup™ kicks off at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium, as the hosts take on Saudi Arabia.
That leaves us plenty of time to enjoy a countdown. Between now and the start of the World Cup, we will take a closer look at a different statistic from the history of the tournament each day.
52 the number of seconds that had elapsed when Uruguay defender Jose Batista was sent off in his side’s final match in Group E at the 1986 FIFA World Cup Mexico™, against Scotland. It was and remains to this day the fastest ever sending off in the history of the competition.
Both teams were gunning for a place in the Round of 16 when they met at the Estadio Neza, with the Scots awarded a throw-in just a few seconds into the game. Arthur Albiston took it, finding team-mate in Gordon Strachan in space. Strachan took a touch only to be felled by Batista from behind, with French referee Joel Quiniou wasting no time in showing the Uruguayan the red card.
“I wanted to die,” Quiniou later recalled. “It wasn’t my intention to end up in the Guinness Book of Records.” The match ended in a goalless draw, which was enough for Uruguay to advance to the next round. Batista has always been remembered for that tackle, however.