1986 FIFA World Cup Mexico™

1986 FIFA World Cup Mexico™

31 May - 29 June

Mexico 1986

Argentina of '86 in numbers

Argentina's National Team poses prior the FIFA World Cup 1986 Final against West Germany
© Getty Images

We all know that Argentina won their second FIFA World Cup™ in Mexico; that their No10 decorated it with swashbuckling runs; that their No7 dispatched the winner in the Final. But Bilardo’s boys of ’86 created some offbeat stats along the way. Involving playing through the pain, letters and a backstreet sports shop, FIFA.com delivers them to you.

114,600 makes Argentina-West Germany the highest-attended World Cup Final in history. Its nearest challenger remains the 1970 decider, with 107,412 watching Brazil’s 4-1 victory over Italy at the same stadium. La Albiceleste’s last three matches at Mexico 1986 – all at the Azteca – drew capacity crowds of 114,000-plus. The only World Cup games with higher attendances were Brazil’s last four – all at the Maracana – at a 1950 World Cup they hosted. The concluding match of that tournament drew a record 173,850, though it was not actually a Final.

71 per cent of Argentina’s goals were scored or assisted by Diego Maradona – the second-highest by a player for a World Cup-winning team since 1962. The only other players involved in over 50 per cent were behind David Villa (75 per cent of Spain’s goals in 2010), Romario (64 per cent of Brazil’s in 1994), Paolo Rossi (58 per cent of Italy’s in 1982) and Pele (53 per cent of Brazil’s in 1970). Maradona’s five assists in a World Cup have been surpassed by only Pele (1970) and equalled by Robert Gadocha (1974), Pierre Littbarski (1982) and Thomas Hassler (1994).

60 metres from England’s goal is where Maradona received the ball en route to scoring what FIFA.com users voted ‘The Goal of the Century’ – and he did it in a mere ten seconds. El Pibe de Oro collected a Hector Enrique pass and combined acceleration, pace, footwork and bodywork to beat Peter Beardsley, Peter Reid, Terry Butcher, Terry Fenwick, Peter Shilton, Butcher again and slot the ball into an unguarded net.

57 per cent of Jorge Valdano’s goals during his 15-year international career came at the 13th World Cup. The Real Madrid forward netted four times in seven outings in Mexico, but only three in 16 other internationals.

50 caps is what Maradona became the eighth Argentinian to reach against Bulgaria. Rene Houseman, Ruben Gallego, Alberto Tarantini, Daniel Passarella, Osvaldo Ardiles, Jorge Olguin and Ubaldo Fillol had done so before him. At 25, he was the second-youngest Argentinian to complete the half-century, over a year older than Gallego had been.

38 football shirts is what a member of Carlos Bilardo’s backroom staff hurriedly bought from a backstreet sports shop in Mexico City just three days before Argentina’s quarter-final with England. Anticipating the searing heat in Mexico, the AFA had ordered their shirts to be made out of Aertex, a lightweight fabric with tiny holes for added ventilation, but only their first-choice, light-blue-and-white striped ones were. After struggling in a 1-0 win over Uruguay in the Round of 16 in dark-blue cotton shirts, Bilardo asked Ruben Moschella to go and find more suitable replacements. Moschella duly bought two sets of shirts, which they were deliberating between when Maradona walked in. “That’s a nice jersey,” he said pointing to one. “We’ll beat England in that.” Hastily-designed makeshift AFA badges were then sewn on, while silvery, American Football-style shirt numbers were ironed on to the shirts.

28 seconds is, astonishingly, all Jose Luis Brown spent off the field after dislocating his shoulder just after half-time in the Final. El Tata, who had thrown Maradona to the floor to head home the opener against West Germany, explained: “The pain was unbearable, but I told the doctor in no uncertain terms, ‘Don’t even think about taking me off.’ I bit a hole in my jersey, put my finger through it, and used it as a sling.” It was not the only serious injury Brown had to overcome to become a world champion. “I broke the meniscus and cruciate knee ligaments. I barely played in the two years before the World Cup. My knee would swell badly. The fluid would collect there. They would drain the fluid and it would bleed. That’s how it was at the World Cup.” The centre-back was a media-maligned inclusion in Bilardo’s squad, and only found out he would be playing on the day of their curtain-raiser due to Daniel Passarella’s inability to recover from injury. What a warrior!

13 letters is what makes Julio Olarticoechea the Argentinian with the joint-longest surname to play in a World Cup. The only other to boast a surname with over 12 letters is Roberto Abbondanzieri, who kept goal in 2006. The pair had four times as many letters in their surnames than 1962 defender Vladislao Cap and 1966 forward Oscar Mas. Olarticoechea, a non-playing substitute at Spain 1982, appeared in all seven of Argentina’s games at Mexico 1986, which helped him set the record for playing the most games at a World Cup without losing alongside Brazil winger Zagallo (12). El Vasco, indeed, participated in every Albiceleste game at Italy 1990 except the opening match and the Final, which they lost to Cameroon and West Germany respectively.

9 minutes is what Argentina were away from missing out on automatic qualification for Mexico 1986 when Ricardo Gareca bundled home an equaliser against Peru. El Tigre was then left out of the squad for the finals.

7 members of Bilardo’s 22-man squad played their club football outside Argentina. Passarella, Maradona and Pedro Pasculli were in Italy at Fiorentina, Napoli and Lecce; Marcelo Trobbiani and Valdano were in Spain with Elche and Real Madrid; Jorge Burruchaga was based in France at Nantes; and third-choice goalkeeper Hector Zelada played in Mexico – and, more specifically, the Estadio Azteca – for America.

5 members of Argentina’s squad – more than any other country – were graduates of the FIFA World Youth Championship, now known as the FIFA U-20 World Cup. Maradona inspired La Albiceleste to glory in its second edition in 1979; Nestor Clausen, Carlos Tapia and Jorge Burruchaga suffered first-phase elimination two years later; and Luis Islas kept goal in a 1-0 loss to Brazil, whose side included Jorginho, Dunga and Bebeto, in the 1983 final at the Azteca in which he would lift the World Cup Trophy.

3 Argentinians were exempted from being given squad numbers alphabetically. Daniel Passarella, Maradona and Jorge Valdano successfully requested the No6, No10 and No11 shirts. Sergio Almiron, a forward, became the third successive outfield player to wear the No1 jersey for Argentina at a World Cup after Norberto Alonso and Osvaldo Ardiles.

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