World Cup 2018: Messi, Ronaldo out and Spain v Russia buildup – live!

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Some great emails coming in on the question of most exciting World Cup tournaments.

Garry Byrne writes:

Mexico ‘86. The Azteca stadium in glorious sunshine; Diego Armando Maradona; Denmark topping their group; Lineker’s hat-trick versus Portugal; Diego Maradona; Butragueño dismantling Denmark single-handedly; that Brazil-France quarter final; Maradona; that goal; and perhaps the best final in years played out in front of a record crowd. Those were the days. I guess nostalgia ain’t what it used to be..

1986 – watching the World Cup as a 20 year old on a 14-inch black & white television. In Maradona’s World Cup (as it later came to be known), 2 matches stood out for me and even 32 years hence, makes me tingle when I recall. First was Russia Vs Belgium, where despite a heroic hat-trick by Igor Belanov, Belgium won 4-3. The other stand out for me was Brazil vs France where some of the absolute stalwarts of the game missed their penalty (Socrates and Platini included), including one by Zico for Brazil at normal time, after coming on as a substitute!!! And then, there was “hand of God” and possibly the greatest field goal the World has ever seen by Maradona. What matches, what memories!!!!

As a 9 year old in Dublin, wearing my O’Neills Brazil kit, captivated by Socrates and Eder screamers v Russia. I was hooked, scrapbook meticulously updated before my dad read the paper. Tears when Rossi killed the dream. So many highlights, Armstrong, Boniek, Maradona red card, Algeria cheated, France cheated, Tardelli celebration. I’m watching my 11 year old son go through the same infatuation without the scrapbook.

Another terrific profile is this from Sid Lowe, on Spain’s “accidental” manager, Fernando Hierro.

Related: Fernando Hierro – Spain’s emergency manager with a pastoral touch | Sid Lowe

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Written by Richard Parkin
This news first appeared on under the title “World Cup 2018: Messi, Ronaldo out and Spain v Russia buildup – live!”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.