In the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, Gary Lineker won the FIFA Golden Boot award as top scorer in the competition with 6 goals from the 5 games England played.
In 1986 England, Scotland and Northern Ireland qualified for the World Cup Finals in Mexico. In the qualification group England and Northern Ireland were drawn together and both managed to qualify for the finals finishing ahead of Romania, Finland and Turkey. Gary Lineker scored a hat-trick in the 5 – 0 win over Turkey at Wembley, their penultimate group game.
In Mexico England were drawn with Portugal. Morocco and Poland. The World Cup didn’t start as Bobby Robson and England would have hoped, losing their first game to Portugal, conceding the only goal of the game with 15 minutes remaining. Their second game was against Morocco who had drawn with Poland in their first match. A scoreless draw left England bottom of Group F with Poland who had defeated Portugal 1 – 0 on top with 3 points. Morocco and Portugal had 2 points.
Going into the final round of games, all four countries were in contention but England had to win convincingly to have any chance of reaching the knock-out stages. Up stepped Gary Lineker and his first half hat-trick ensured England progressed to the last 16. England were two up after 14 minutes and Lineker completed his hat-trick in the 34th minute. Morocco topped the group having comprehensively defeated Portugal.
Round of 16
England had to play Paraguay who had finished second in their group with 4 points from a win and two draws. Against Paraguay, Lineker put England ahead after 31 minutes. Peter Beardsley added a second with just under an hour played and Lineker scored his second to secure victory in the 73rd minute.
The quarter-finals paired England with Argentina who had topped their group and defeated Uruguay in the previous round. This match was to become infamous for the “Hand of God” goal. Scoreless at the interval, in the 51st minute Diego Maradona jumped with Peter Shilton and used his hand to punch the ball into the net. Despite the protests of the England players the officials saw nothing wrong so the goal stood much to the anger of the England team and officials.
Four minutes later, Maradona set off on a run from inside his own half. it took him past four England defenders before he rounded Shilton to double the Argentine lead. An amazing individual goal.
With 9 minutes left Lineker reduced the arrears, his 6th goal of the Finals, but it wasn’t enough and England went out of the World Cup in very unsatisfactory circumstances.
Golden Boot for Gary Lineker
Gary Lineker finished as top scorer in the competition with 6 goals, one better than Maradona, Careca of Brazil and Spain’s Emilio Butragueño.
In 1986 Lineker was an Everton player having spent one season on Merseyside. His success in Mexico caught the attention of Barcelona, managed by Terry Venables. Lineker signed for Barcelona that summer for a fee of 2.8m.
Farewell to Pat Jennings
Scotland and Northern Ireland went out at the Group stages and Northern’s Ireland’s final match against Brazil on Pat Jennings’ birthday marked the end of his football career, having played in 119 games for his country.
1990 World Cup
By the 1990 World Cup, Gary Lineker had returned to England from Spain and was a Tottenham player. As England progressed to the semi-finals, Lineker scored 4 goals at the tournament to finish equal 3rd in the goalscoring charts in Italy. He scored England’s late equaliser against West Germany in the semi-final and his two penalties in the quarter-finals helped England past Cameroon. He also scored England’s opening goal at the World Cup after 8 minutes against the Republic of Ireland.
With 10 goals at World Cup finals, Gary Lineker is England’s leading scorer in the finals, 5 goals ahead of Geoff Hurst in second place.
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