Saturday, January 16, 2016

Maradona vs England (1980)

Diego Maradona dribbled past four English defenders on right wing. With the goalkeeper to beat, he shot.... and missed.  No, I was not imagining an alternative result of the 1986 WC quarterfinal match between England and Argentina in Mexico.  On May 13th, 1980, Argentina met England for a friendly match at Wembley stadium.  A year earlier, Argentina won the World Youth Cup in Japan.  Maradona was the star of the tournament.  In London that day, he was 19 years old.  The English players knew about his reputation as the next great player, but when he entered the field that day, they thought the short, Argentine was the mascot.  

Background: The Falkland Wars had not happened.  The rivalry between the two sides existed, but was not as intense.  Argentina was the reigning World Cup winner while England missed the previous, two World Cup Finals.  The match was a part of Argentina's European tour and England's preparation match for Euro 1980.  Kevin Keegan won two Ballon d'Or in 1978 and 1978. In two's time, he would play in the European Cup Final against Nottingham Forrest.  Liverpool was a top side in Europe.  Five of England's starting eleven came from Liverpool, perhaps the top side in Europe. Osvaldo Ardiles and Mario Kempes were not on Argentina's team.  


Diego Maradona was brilliant throughout the match.  In the first half, the moment came.  He dribbled past 4 defenders. With Ray Clemence to beat, he shot wide to the left.  I have been told that Maradona regretted about not dribbling past Clemence before shooting.   Six years later, he again dribbled past the English defenders.  With Peter Shilton,  he decided to cut to his right and dribbled past the keeper before shooting.  The 1986 goal was very similar to the 1980 miss.



Maradona swapped shirt with Keegan


England beat Argentina that day.  David Johnson scored two goals before Daniel Passarella answered back, but Keegan scored a brilliant goal to make it 3-1.  Argentina was the losing side, but Maradona made a big impression that day.






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