FIFA World Cup Today Matches

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27 years rewind: How Maradona and Bilardo silenced their critics

27 years rewind: How Maradona and Bilardo silenced their critics
Diego Maradona

Triumphant Diego Maradona | ©



It has been 27 years since Argentina won the World Cup, and none of its most esteemed players in recent memory have ever been able to repeat their mind-boggling win in the 13th FIFA World Cup.

Former Argentina national team player and later, head coach, Diego Maradona created a buzz when he controversially captained La Albiceleste in the 1986 Mexico tournament. Initially perceived as an unintelligent replacement for the more favored Daniel Passarella, Maradona was able to defy the oddest of the odds when he drove the Argentine squad to FIFA victory and bagged the “Golden Ball” award as the tournament’s most valued player. His “Hand of God” goal and “Goal of the Century” accolades were just a few of the positive monikers that were thrown to him shortly after his team’s winning moment and onwards.

Like his captain player, team coach Carlos Bilardo also received negative reception from the Argentine supporters when he replaced Cesar Luis Menotti in the position. The latter was heavily loved by his people due to his charisma and knack for spearheading a fluid, attacking play. Whereas Bilardo, with skeptics punching his name all over his personhood, preferred a more practical and defensive model. Along with his decision of having Maradona take charge of his team, Bilardo’s tactics painfully received pre-judgment from the angry Argentine audiences even before the tournament started to take off.

While Argentina’s final conquest was a match won over West Germany, it was in their quarterfinal round against England—with the background of the Falklands War—that made the greatest impact in the news waves, and ultimately, in the country’s entire football history. Maradona owned the goals in the team’s 2–1 score, but both goals were obtained in different instances. The first goal was via an unpenalized handball (hence, “Hand of God”) while the second goal followed a 60-meter dribble past five England players and the goalkeeper (The Goal of the Century).

Argentina is set to play in the 2014 World Cup in their neighbor country, Brazil. Although most eyes are focused on La Roja and Selecao, La Albiceleste are hoping that a scene as magnificent as the Maradona-Bilardo event would happen again.

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