81 days to go: Caniggia sees off A Seleção

The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ is getting closer – 81 days to go!

In less than three 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.

81 - The number of minutes on the clock in the Round of 16 encounter between Argentina and Brazil at Italy 1990 when Diego Maradona collected possession in midfield, spun, drove towards goal – leaving three opponents in his wake – and picked out Claudio Caniggia to his left. El Pájaro took the ball in his stride, rounded goalkeeper Claudio Taffarel and fired into the empty net.

This solitary strike sealed victory for Argentina, who had only scraped through to the Round of 16 as one of the best third-placed sides and had been on the ropes against the pre-tournament favourites. As Caniggia admitted to ESPN, "We could've gone two or three goals down in the first half. At half-time, [coach Carlos] Bilardo just told us to try to stop giving the ball to the guys in yellow."

Created in breathtaking fashion by Maradona and finished with aplomb by Caniggia, this goal is one of the most fondly remembered among the Argentinian fans because, in the former forward's words, "no one was expecting us to beat that Brazil team." Buoyed by this win, La Albiceleste went on to reach the Final, in which they lost to West Germany.

On the flip side, defeat was an extremely tough pill to swallow for the much-fancied Brazilians. "It doesn't get any bigger or more glorious for a football player than to score a goal like that one at a World Cup," Caniggia added.