World Cup Countdown: Classic goals
For many Mexico 1986 was the perfect World Cup. Not only did you have Maradona in his pomp (brilliantly summed up with his two goals against England) but you also had likes of Rummenigge, Scifo, Socrates, Francescoli, Elkjaer and Platini in their prime and performing. Also Scotland, England and Northern Ireland made the trip over the Atlantic to Mexico to pique the interest of the home nation supporters (unsurprisingly Scotland were home before the postcards…again).
With a population well over 100 million, Mexico is a football daft country and in 1986 they hosted their second finals (first in 1970) despite suffering a disastrous earthquake the year before.
Mexico had eeked their way through a tough group with close wins against Belgium and Iraq and a 1-1 draw with Paraguay setting themselves up with a winnable last 16 draw with Bulgaria. Hugo Sanchez was the team’s main star but it was Manuel Negrete that was “El Tri’s” main creative influence.
In 34th minute Negrete collected a high pass before laying the ball off to his team-mate. The ball was returned at perfect height leaving Negrete to thunder an acrobatic shot past the hapless goalkeeper. Although the goal would be upstaged days later by Maradona it is still remembered as one of the World Cup’s best ever goals.