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What is Diego Maradona's record in World Cups?

7:11 AM WAT 29/03/2022
Diego Maradona 1986
Maradona has appeared in four World Cup editions in his playing career...

Diego Maradona became the youngest Argentine to play for the national team when he made his debut at the age of 16 against Hungary on February 27, 1977.

Soon he grabbed headlines once again as coach Cesar Luis Menotti left him out of the 1978 World Cup squad as the tactician felt he was too young to play in an event of that magnitude. However, in the 1979 FIFA World Youth Championship, he was simply unstoppable and scored six goals in six appearances to guide Argentina to the trophy.

In the 1982 World Cup, Maradona made his first appearance in the marquee event in a 1-0 loss to Belgium. The match was played at the Camp Nou and he could not play well. In the next outing against Hungary, he regained his mojo and scored a brace to fire his team to a 4-1 win. The Albicelestes advanced to the second group stage and were clubbed with Italy and Brazil. Maradona once again failed to live up to expectations and Argentina lost both the matches. Against Brazil, he was given the marching orders after he lost his temper and fouled Batista.

In the next edition of the World Cup in 1986, Maradona was named as the skipper. In this tournament, he established himself as one of the legends of the game scoring five goals and providing as many assists. In the very first match against South Korea, he assisted thrice to demolish the Asian side 3-1. His first goal came in the next match against Italy in a 1-1 draw.

The quarterfinals against England remains one of the most controversial games in World Cup history. This match was also politically significant as it was played against the backdrop of the Falklands war. Maradona scored both the goals in a 2-1 win to propel Argentina to the semifinals. The first became notoriously popular as the 'Hand of God' as it was scored with his arm and not with the head. He described the goal as "a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God". Whereas the next went on to become the 'Goal of the Century' as he dribbled past five English defenders before beating Peter Shilton in goal with a slight feint.

In the semifinal, he once again dazzled the stage and scored two goals to beat Belgium. Meanwhile, in the final against West Germany, he beat Lothar Matthaus, to set up Jorge Burruchaga who scored the winning goal.

He was involved in 10 of the 14 goals Argentina scored, attempted or created 52% of all Argentina’s shots during the finals and embarked on 90 dribbles, more than three times as many as any other player. He was also fouled 53 times, winning almost twice as many free-kicks as any other player.

Nonetheless, Germany got their revenge in the 1990 World Cup final as they beat Argentina 1-0, courtesy of a penalty scored by Andreas Brehme. Although Maradona provided two assists in the tournament, he did not score a single goal and even went on to miss his shot in the tiebreaker against Yugoslavia in the quarterfinals.

The 1994 World Cup was his last appearance on football's grandest stage. However, he played just two matches before he was sent back home after failing a drug test. Incidentally, his goal in the first match against Greece was the last that he would score for Argentina. Whereas, the next match against Nigeria was the last time that he played for his country.

Year

Matches

Goals

Assists

1982

5

2

0

1986

7

5

5

1990

7

0

2

1994

2

1

1

Total

21

8

7