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World Cup 1986 June 5, 2006

Posted by samratsengupta in Football WC, Samrat.

I plan to post an account of all the five football World Cups that I have seen, starting from 1986. Would be essentially giving an overview from my personal perspective, not an event summary as such.  

So in this first edition I look into the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. 

I was a nine year old boy, used to play fooball regularly in the evenings with friends, the event was in the midst of my summer vacation in Calcutta. I was staying with my relatives then in a joint family, most of them were football fans,  and there were constant football discussions in the household. Some stayed up late in the nights to watch the games. I was also excited by this possibility, and used to go to sleep early and requested my "dadas"(elder cousins) and "meshos"(mother's sisters husbands) to wake me up during the matches.

The matches invariably were in the dead of the night. But Doordarshan was faithful in its broadcast albeit with its occasional "Rukawat ke liye khed hain" ("sorry for the interruption"), we were also able to get transmission from Bangladesh Television.

Alessandro Altobelli scored the first goal of this world cup, making it an unique record as he had scored the last goal of the previous WC also .
Two really surprising results were; one a drubbing of Uruguay by debutants Denmark 6-1
incidentally the Danes had the best group stage record as they also beat Germany and Scotland in their matches. Then the Danes got a taste of their own medicine as they got a thrashing of 5-1 vs Spain in 2nd round. With Butrageuno scoring four goals.

Another interesting highlight for me was the Brazilian Josimar scoring from near the halfline with a piledriver, the sheer speed and power beat the GK, it was not the sort of cheeky shot that with which Ronaldinho conned Seaman in the last WC. Josimar's shot had fascinated me as I thought it was impossible to score from that range, and when we used to play in the evenings, I used to try and use all the strength that my 9 year old legs could muster, to aim at the opposing goal from the middle of the pitch.

2nd round:

The highlight was Belgium vs USSR with Belgium winning 4-3, it was a rollercoaster of a match, lead kept changing alternately, finally Belguim triumphed in the extra time, I remember the players were exhausted and literally dropping off in the searing heat of Mexico, but the passion was there to be seen. The Russian Belanov scoring a hatrick in the losing cause.
West Germany labored win over Morocco 1-0 was one of the most boring matches ever.


The QFs had two memorable matches Brazil vs France, and England vs Argentina. Bra- Fra, was the best match of this WC, two highly talented and entertaining teams. The Brazilians stamped their superiority in this match, it was a joy watching the ballet like moves of Socrates, Zico and Careca. But the French GK Joel Bats was amazing, made spectacular saves, France also had some good counterattacks courtesy the inimitable Platini and Jean Tigana. Brazil's loss in the tie-breaker was a catastrophe for Calcuttans, suddenly I could sense that the zest for the WC reduced in the household and the neighbourhood.  

Eng vs Arg, was a fast paced match, one could feel the intensity in the proceedings, it was a rough match also (years later I came to know about the Falklands tension). Diego's  world famous goals, though for opposite reasons, would ensure immortality for this game. 

As usual the most drab match involved Germany and Mexico, won in the tie-breaker by Germans. I don’t know why I support the Germans, because their style is not that eyecatching, call it efficient and well-oiled at best, but maybe because of their perseverance, and “can do” attitude, they always believe in themselves. Another reason for which I liked the Germans, was that in 86 one of their club teams called Bochum had come for the Super Soccer series, I watched one of their games with my father in the Nehru stadium in Delhi, and I was hooked to football and Germany. After that I proclaimed myself as a German fan.

In the semis a flat and emotionally drained performance by France resulted in them getting clinically beaten by Germans. While Maradona single handedly demolished the Belgians, and scored a spectacular goal similar to his goal of the century, leaving half-a dozen befuddled Belgians in his wake.

I awaited the Final match  keenly, I was supporting Germany ardently. Rest of family were all behind Argentina. This match I saw in Delhi, as summer vacations had ended by then. I still remember the setting, I was so excited that I was standing behind the sofa for the entire duration, jumping up and down, with my parents and sister sitting in front. When Germany pulled back to 2-2 in the second half, I was ecstatic. The last goal which was set up by a beautiful through ball by Maradona, left me distraught.  

Overall perspective about the 1986 WC was that it was an average sort of WC, normal distribution curve of some good and bad matches and most average. Quality was affected by the high altitude and also the heat due to the day matches( to make it prime time in Europe), crowd support was at a peak. Teams mostly favoured the defensive approach and it reaped benefits; the ill effects of which could be seen more prominently in the next edition i.e. Italia 90.    



1. Tadatmya - June 5, 2006

Nice personal touch, Samrat. Now I know where that great enthu for the sport in you comes from. I have similar memories of tennis, watching Grand Slams with my father, and marvelling at the Beckers, Edbergs, Grafs, and later, Samprases, disliking the Seleses and Sanchez-Vicarios. My first WC viewing happened during Italia ’90, with the Arg-Cameroon match and Milla’s heroics. Looking forward to your description.

2. Sinfully Pinstripe - June 5, 2006

My first memory of football itself (not including MohunBagan vs. EastBengal, which is much bigger than just a game, and hardly anything to write home about as a sporting spectacle either), was of the second goal by God against England. I had discovered a game, and found a superhero. For life. Never supported any team but for Argentina ever since. Was really young then. Remember the France-Brazil match. Mom was supporting France, and Dad Brazil… it was war at home. I was an easy victim to the charms of the game, I think.

Great post. Brought back some fond memories.

3. DesiPundit » Archives » World Cup 1986 - June 6, 2006

[…] Samrat shares his memories as a football-crazy nine-year-old watching the World Cup 1986. […]

4. Samrat Sengupta - June 6, 2006

Thanks Tadatmya and Si.Pi, I also had a nice time jotting down those hazy early memories.
Another nostalgic football article that I had written earlier on my own blog


5. Abhishek - June 6, 2006

“I was standing behind the sofa for the entire duration, jumping up and down, with my parents and sister sitting in front.”

am cracking up imagining what a picture that would have made, though I totally understand. Happens to me all the time.

6. occarypreeshy - November 16, 2007

Two new studies show why some people are more attractive for members of the opposite sex than others.

The University of Florida, Florida State University found that physically attractive people almost instantly attract the attention of the interlocutor, sobesednitsy with them, literally, it is difficult to make eye. This conclusion was reached by a series of psychological experiments, which were determined by the people who believe in sending the first seconds after the acquaintance. Here, a curious feature: single, unmarried experimental preferred to look at the guys, beauty opposite sex, and family, people most often by representatives of their sex.

The authors believe that this feature developed a behavior as a result of the evolution: a man trying to find a decent pair to acquire offspring. If this is resolved, he wondered potential rivals. Detailed information about this magazine will be published Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

In turn, a joint study of the Rockefeller University, Rockefeller University and Duke University, Duke University in North Carolina revealed that women are perceived differently by men smell. During experiments studied the perception of women one of the ingredients of male pheromone-androstenona smell, which is contained in urine or sweat.

The results were startling: women are part of this repugnant odor, and the other part is very attractive, resembling the smell of vanilla, and the third group have not felt any smell. The authors argue that the reason is that the differences in the receptor responsible for the olfactory system, from different people are different.

It has long been proven that mammals (including human) odor is one way of attracting the attention of representatives of the opposite sex. A detailed article about the journal Nature will publish.

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