The world’s best in 1986
Diego MARADONA Argentina: b. 1960 THE most gifted footballer since Pele, whose ability for creating headlines off the pitch is surpassed only by astounding performances on it.
In 1982 he was sent off for a disgraceful kick on a Brazilian opponent as Argentina crashed out before the semi-finals.
But in Mexico in 1986 he was simply unstoppable as Argentina triumphed. An outrageous handball goal and a dazzling solo effort past six defenders put paid to England, and he produced another sensational zig-zag dribble in the semifinals against Belgium.
When West Germany recovered from 2-0 down in the final, it was Maradona’s first-time through-pass which set up Argentina’s winner.
Four years later he inspired an ordinary and highly-negative Argentina side to the final, finishing it in tears as West Germany won with a penalty.
At USA 94 he was back, seemingly slim and sharp, despite a series of drugs problems, only to be sensationally kicked out of the tournament after testing positive for a cocktail of amphetamines.
Sensationally named coach of
Argentina in November 2008. Gary LINEKER England: b. 1960 CLINICAL goalscorer second only to Bobby Charlton in the all-time England goalscoring records with 48 from 80 caps. Missed chance to equal the record when he tamely chipped a penalty straight at the goalkeeper in a friendly against Brazil.
Fast off the mark and calm under pressure, he often passed the ball into the net rather than blasted it. The majority of his goals came from close-range.
Saved England in the 1986 finals when he scored a hat-trick against Poland. Further goals against Paraguay and Argentina saw him finish top scorer with six goals.
At Italia 90 he was coolness personified in scoring two penalties to see England past Cameroon and then equalising late on against West Germany in the semi-finals.
Never won a domestic league title at club level. International career ended when he was controversially substituted by then-coach Graham Taylor in a disastrous European Championship in Sweden in 1992.
Likeable, known as Mr. Clean for his record of never having been Rudi VOLLER Germany: b. 1960 A REAL goal poacher who was inspirational in West Germany’s surprisingly strong showing at the 1986 finals in Mexico.
Not particularly big, but strong on the ball and super-efficient at dispatching half-chances, as he showed when scoring late in the final against Argentina to make it 2-2.
Managed 43 goals in 84 appearances for West Germany, helping them to victory in the 1990 World Cup in Italy with three goals in the opening stages.
He was then sent off against Holland together with Frank Rijkaard for fighting, with the Dutchman spitting full in Voller’s face as they trudged off the pitch.
Returned in time for the final against Argentina, and craftily won the penalty that clinched the cup for the Germans.
Managed Germany successfully after retirement, leading the national team to the 2002 World Cup final where they were beaten by Brazil.