World Cups Past - The 1980's

Published: May 13, 2014 12:18pm EDT
By Jason Bardwell, Sports Writer for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated May 13, 2014 @ 12:18pm EDT

 

The final countdown to the World Cup has now begun and we are little over a month away now from the kick off in Brazil on June 12th. The USA will take the field against Ghana four days later at the Arena das Dunas, Natal. Drawn in a group which also include Portugal and Germany it is vital Klinsmann’s team hit the ground running. 

Over the next few days I will look at the United States participation in all the World Cups throughout the history of the competition dating back to the 1930's. Obviously there was no World Cup’s in the 1940's with the ones scheduled for 1942 and 1946 cancelled due to the Second World War. 

Last week, I looked at the World Cups through the 1960's and 1970's which didn’t involve the US side. England did host, and win, the 1966 World Cup and this week I will wrap up the look back. Today I will take on the 1980's in Spain and Mexico which were both again devoid of any US participation. 

Tomorrow I will focus on the return of the US National team in Italy 1990 and the hosting of the 1994 World Cup in America itself before the French World Cup of 1998. Finally, on Thursday, the World Cups in the 2000's including Japan and Korea in 2002, Germany in 2006 and, of course, the most recent South African tournament in 2010.
 

 

1982 WORLD CUP - SPAIN:

Back to Europe and a slight change was made to the tournament. More teams were entered and this saw twenty four teams participate, breaking down into six groups of four. The top two placed teams in the initial groups will move to the second stage and make up four groups of three. It is from this group that teams go straight to the Quarter Final stage as the top teams of each group progressing. 

Poland, West Germany, Italy and France progressed to that stage with the Italians beating the Germans to lift their third World Cup. The Juventus striker Paolo Rossi was the tournaments best player and golden boot winner.  

With the winning of this World Cup by Italy they joined Brazil, and were the first European side, on three occasions. Also it must be noted that the format allowed Italy to progress despite mot winning a single game. 0-0 in the opening game against Group 1 winners Poland before a 1-1 against Poland and 1-1 against Cameroon, who actually ended up level on points and goal difference with Italy, but had scored a goal less. They also did this with 40 year old goalkeeper and team captain Dino Zoff, who was the oldest player to lift the trophy. 

 

1986 WORLD CUP - MEXICO: 

Back to Mexico in a switch of World Cup host countries. Initially it was meant to be held in Colombia but that country officially resigned from the commitment in 1982, due to economic restrictions. Mexico was selected the following year, giving them three years to prepare.    

The second round used in the 1982 World Cup was withdrawn and instead the six groups of four played for the top two sides progressing automatically to the round of 16. Joining them were the top four third placed sides to make the numbers correct.

Mexico progressed top of their group but were eventually eliminated at the Quarter Final stage by West Germany. The USA did not make the competition but England were this time joined by Scotland and Northern Ireland although only England progressed. 

Gary Lineker, Peter Beardsley, Bryan Robson, Terry Butcher and Peter Shilton provided a strong spine for the England side and, despite losing the opening game against Portugal, would go on into the tournament. 

A 3-0 last game against Poland, with a hat trick from Gary Lineker, saw the three lions leapfrog their opponents into that all important second place, although Poland did still make it through as the second best third placed side. The last 16 match saw England again win 3-0, this time against Paraguay, to see them progress to the Quarter Finals, and a match with Argentina. 

The opening goal in that game is referred to as the ‘Hand of God’ and probably has had more attention over the years. However wrong that goal was there is no denial on the skill and awe for the second goal, a few minutes later, the goal of the century.

Argentina would go on to lift their second trophy after beating Belgium in the Semi Final before beating West Germany in the Final. Argentinian Maradona was awarded the player of the tournament while Englishman Gary Lineker won the Golden Boot with six goals.

On a side note, this tournament was the first to see the ‘wave’ from the crowd. This is why it is now known as the Mexican wave and can be seen in stadiums all across the world and across multiple sports. 

 

NEXT UP:

Come back tomorrow where I will look at the 1990 World Cup which saw the return of the US National team, the 1994 World Cup taking place in the USA and, of course, the 1998 World Cup in France.


 

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Jason Bardwell
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