Sunday 21 January 2018

World in awe as Maradona reaches peak of his talents


A tournament rich in attacking flair will forever be associated with one man -- the incredible Diego Armando Maradona.

The people of England may remember this Mexican summer for 'The Hand of God' incident which pushed Argentina into the lead in their quarter-final meeting. However, the rest of the world marvelled at the thrilling solo run, rich in skill and agility, which put the outcome beyond doubt. Another brace in the semi-final win over a fine Belgian side, and a key role as creator in the 3-2 victory over West Germany in the final elevated Maradona to legend status.

He truly had to be outstanding in a competition packed with entertainers. A French side inspired by Michel Platini progressed to the final four, while Denmark looked like world beaters in the group stage with the Laudrup brothers and chain smoker Preben Elkjaer prominent in a 6-1 destruction of Uruguay. Alas, a 5-1 thrashing at the hands of Spain, with Emilio Butragaeno scoring four, brought their dream to an abrupt end.

In the extreme temperatures, the South American sides were expected to thrive, yet the European nations performed with credit. They were good, but not good enough to overcome a true great at the peak of his powers.

The 15 titles in our fantastic collection

1. Germany 2006

2. Korea/Japan 2002

3. France 1998

4. USA 1994

5. Italy 1990

6. Mexico 1986

7. Spain 1982

8. Argentina 1978

9. Germany 1974

10. Mexico 1970

11. England 1966

12. Chile 1962

13. Sweden 1958

14. Switzerland 1954

15. Uruguay 1930

Irish Independent

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