This week’s edition of History In The Making remembers Maradona’s historic performance against West Germany in the 1986 World Cup Final.
In 1986 Argentina beat West Germany in the World Cup Final in the famous Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. This was Argentina’s second World Cup triumph having previously won the tournament in 1978.
This final is regarded as one of the greatest, after a tournament that will forever be remembered for Diego Maradona’s infamous ‘Hand of God’ against England in the quarter finals.
The Argentina team were inspired by Maradonna’s brilliance throughout the tournament and he was at the focal point of everything they did. West Germany were an extremely organised team with a lot of young players but had a more difficult route to the final.
Argentina were the favourites going into the final and lived up to that billing during the early stages of the match. The opening half belonged to Argentina. They dictated the pace, their passing was sharp and Maradonna was on form despite the efforts of Lothar Matthäus who was given the unenviable task of marking him. They opened the scoring midway during the first half with a goal by José Luis Brown, who funnily enough is of Irish ancestry.
The second half was full of action and goals. First Argentina increased their lead through a brilliantly worked goal by Jorge Valdano. It all seemed to be going their way until West Germany scored two goals within a six minute period.
Goals from Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Rudi Völler squared the match two apiece. Both goals came as a result of set pieces and allowed West Germany back into the game. But the euphoria didn’t last long as Argentina took the lead once again through Jorge Burruchaga, after a simply sublime ball from Maradona.
This goal spelled the end for West Germany and their hopes of winning the tournament for another four years. Argentina were not to be denied and after the final whistle blew it was fitting that the player of the tournament, Maradona, was the first to hold the trophy aloft.
Of course he was the Argentine captain so he would have been the first man to pick up the trophy anyway but he was the leader in that Argentina team and the main reason that they were victorious.
These two teams would go on to meet again in the following World Cup final in Italy; a far more dull affair with West Germany winning with the only goal of the game.
On Sunday, Argentina will face Germany once again in the final of the World Cup which has been taking place in Brazil for the past month. It will be the first time that two teams have contested the final against each other three times. After such a superb tournament let’s hope that these two giants will put on a spectacle to match.
Peter Lee, Pundit Arena.