My love for sports in general and football(yes, football and not soccer) in particular started with the World Cup held in Mexico in the year 1986. Now, I was a little kid at that time – maybe just reached the age wherein I can start making memories!
I grew up with my two elder brothers – the eldest one being quite a sports fanatic. As he was 8 years older to me, in 1986 he was big enough to understand most of the nuances of the game. He was the the one who helped me create memories of that World Cup – by constant discussions about his favorite teams, favorite players and buying all the editions of SportsStar and Sports World.
Maradona and Argentina
Though I have religiously followed every World Cup after that, I cannot help but walk down memory lane and cherish the small memories I made way back in 1986. My love for Maradona started then and it still remains intact, even after witnessing and hearing about his outrageous antics and tomfoolery. For me, the World Cup 1986 is synonymous to Maradona and Argentina. Everyone recalls the “Hand of God” goal, but I remember him dribbling past 5 English players and scoring what is considered the “Goal of the Century”. That match made me a lifetime follower of Maradona and supporter of Argentina. My memories of the 1986 World Cup is dominated by Argentina and Maradona.
Another name which etched a mark in my hazy memory is Michel Platini, the skipper of the French national team. He was my younger brother’s favorite. My brothers and their friends used to discuss about the World Cup day in and day out. It is their passionate discussions which gave me the idea who were contenders for the best player in the World Cup. My foggy mind still remembers the quarter-final match in which France defeated Brazil in a penalty shootout. That must be the first penalty shootout I watched – though I don’t remember anything other than Careca, Platini and the match result!
Gary Linekar awarded the Golden Boot
The very young and handsome English player Gary Linekar was another player whom this 5 year old was totally in love with! He scored 6 goals in the tournament, along with a hattrick and was the Golden Boot winner of the World Cup.
The Other Favorites
Along with Argentina, there were two other teams I was rooting for(do not ask me the reasons) – Germany and Denmark. I still remember the name of the Danish players like Michael Laudrup, Jan Molby, Preben Elkjaer, Frank Arnesen and Morten Olsen. However, they had to leave the tournament after a disappointing defeat of 1 – 5 against Emilio Butragueno’s Spain.
When we talk about the German team of that World Cup, the names of Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Rudi Völler, Andreas Brehme and Lothar Matthäus come to my mind. They played an exceptional tournament to reach the finals. After a thrilling match and a score of 2-2 till the 84th minute, they were defeated by Argentina by a goal by Jorge Burruchaga from a brilliant pass by Maradona!
The pictures of Maradona holding the cup and kissing it still seems so fresh in my mind! How can I forget to mention the ‘Mexican Wave‘ which became a phenomenon after the 1986 World Cup! I might have created a lot of fond memories when the Football World Cup is concerned. Still, the blurry memories of the 1986 World Cup hold a special place in my heart and mind. Those cherished memories take me back to the time when I was growing up and finally starting to comprehend the good and entertaining things in life!
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