From May 31 to June 29, the 13th World Cup was held in Mexico. After a qualifying process that involved 121 countries, the FIFA World Cup final saw 24 teams compete. Mexico was automatically qualified as the host country.


The 13th World Cup was supposed to be held in Columbia, but the country’s economy was in such bad shape that it wanted to pull out of the big event. The United States and Canada both agreed to be the host country, but Mexico was selected instead. A divisive decision, given that Mexico had previously hosted the game, and just recently (1970); money played a major role in the result.

Mexico’s hosting rights were jeopardised, however, when a massive earthquake struck Mexico City eight months before the tournament, killing thousands of people. However, the nation managed to complete the event according to schedule.

Enzo Francescoli, Michel Platini, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Gary Lineker, Hugo Sánchez, Michael Laudrup, and Diego Maradona were among the tournament’s most awaited players. Diego Maradona’s World Cup turned out to be his, and maybe no player has ever risen above any other players in a World Cup tournament like he had in 1986.


A playoff phase followed a pool phase of six groups (two teams from each group and four third-placed teams advanced). The use of a knockout phase after a group phase rather than a second group phase restored the 1970 and other earlier tournaments’ setups.

Cities and arenas

Twelve stadiums in eleven cities hosted the 1986 World Cup. The largest stadium was Estadio Azteca, which had a capacity of 114 600 people and was also the first venue to host two World Cup finals).


Two groups rounds were practised until the extension of 24 teams was introduced in 1982. A new format was used in 1986, with 16 of the 24 teams progressing from the groups to the knockout stage. As a result, despite no wins and just one loss, two teams (Bulgaria and Uruguay) advanced to the knockout round.

After all, it was Denmark, not Argentina, who made the greatest impression in the group round. They won both of their group games in their first World Cup final, thanks in large part to the team’s offensive, which included Michael Laudrup and Preben Elkjr. After a 1-5 loss to Spain in the knockout round, the saga came to an end unexpectedly.

The home side, helped by a raucous crowd and Real Madrid striker Hugo Sánchez, will save the country before the Quarter-final against West Germany.

The quarter-final match between Brazil and France, which France eventually won after a penalty shoot-out, was one of the highlights of the competition. In the next match, France will see West Germany’s willingness to perform at its finest where it matters most. West Germany was the underdog in the final against Argentina’s Maradona.


Argentina, Italy, Bulgaria, Mexico, Paraguay, Belgium, the Soviet Union, France, Brazil, Spain, Denmark, West Germany, Morocco, England, and Poland all advanced to the knockout stage from the group stage.

The matches in the Round of 16 were won by Argentina, West Germany, France, England, Mexico, Belgium, Brazil, and Spain.

The Quarter-finals were won by Argentina, West Germany, France, and Spain.

Argentina and West Germany advanced to the final after winning their respective semi-finals. In the third-place contest, France defeated Belgium, while Argentina defeated West Germany 3-2 in the final.

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