Argentina vs United States

France vs Algeria

England vs Morocco

Denmark vs West Germany

vs Australia

Brazil vs Spain

Italy vs Scotland

Mexico vs Tunisia
1986 FIFA World Cup Last 16
Part 2

Unlike other World Cups which had the luxury of having two games a day in the same time zone, that luxury wasn't here in the United States which meant games would have to be played across different time zones. This would've been a headache for broadcasters in Europe with games being played late into the evening which live broadcasts would get low numbers and only highlight shows the following day would show parts of said games.

That said, this did seem to fit more for the America which by this point many felt was done on FIFA's part to attract great interest in the game Stateside which to their credit worked a treat as mass interest in the tournament had been gaining with larger crowds becoming more apparent with records in crowd size looking to be broken once again and with the host nation through the last 16, there was hope that World Cup mania would reach more dizzying heights, all the stood in the United States' way was the champions Argentina.

Despite raising a few eyebrows at reaching the second round, many didn't feel that the USA had it in them to take on Argentina and that the reigning champions would take care of the hosts with the big question being by how many. That said, it was the biggest game the United States soccer team had been in since the 1930 Semi-Final, though considering the circumstances of the type of teams then that could be questionable though not many really cared for that as large TV audiences across America tuned in to watch their team lock horns with Argentina.

From the get go as many expected, Argentina never gave the hosts much of a chance and the large crowd in Pasadena that were backing the Americans feared that at this rate, it was a question of when Argentina would score first and all eyes on their star man, Maradona. Argentina would to no one's surprise would take the lead in the 34th minute though not by Maradona but rather Pasculli who broke through after some bad defensive work from the United States. How many more were to follow?


The Argentine team, playing in their away kit, prior before their game with the United States
Despite bombing the Americans with wave upon wave of attacks, the Americans held their ground to keep the score down at 1-0 though by balance of play, Argentina should've been up by three goals which went to show the vast difference in terms of play between the two nations. The champions would end up getting another goal in the 49th minute thanks to Ruggeri which in the end knowing they didn't want to humiliate the hosts, took their foot off the pedal for the rest of the game which ended at 2-0 for Argentina who progressed to the last eight.

Though it was a loss, the United States team wasn't too bothered by it as they had nothing to lose and the fact they had done better than what many even in their own country had expected them to do would lead American soccer into a hopefully more fruitful future in years to come and FIFA's hopes of getting big Stateside could be led to believe to have been a success. Who knows what the future lay in America? [1]

Later that day saw Yugoslavia play Australia and from the get go not many knew who would get the better of each other as they were both level in terms of play, however from the size of crowd there, many were there for the Socceroos with many of their fans having made the journey from Down Under and poor Yugoslavia being looked on as a 'Commie' team by some members of the hawkish American public even though it was complicated to explain out Yugoslavia.

That all said, the game that followed proved to be something of a sluggish affair with both sides looking more interested in trying to cancel each other out and no action, let alone goals, happened in their first half with many wondering just when exactly things would pick up for the second half. Only thing of note was in the opening few minutes of the first half in which Australia had a glorious chance to take the lead in which they fired it over the bar, hopefully that wasn't a sign of things to come.


One Aussie player looks on after they miss a chance to take the lead
Things didn't get better in the second half as it looked like that neither side knew how to get the better of each other up until the 79th minute when Yugoslavia won a free kick which prove to be what was needed to help get which was the goal that helped Yugoslavia take the lead and ultimately the winner in an otherwise dull and poor match and the may Australian supporters in Pontiac were left annoyed at falling at the last 16 yet again [2].

For Yugoslavia, the back up team as they were known would carry on with their unlikely run into the Quarter-Finals and being such an unknown team which had gotten here in bizarre circumstances, no one in the American public quite knew how the team was going to perform...then again, everyone loves a good underdog story. For Australia, they now had to begin the long trip home...

The following day saw another two games with one of them being France vs Algeria, a match with the African side taking on their former colonial master in a match that likely had more in it than that of the French. That being said, after Algeria's great run in Spain, some felt that they could pull off 'another Germany' [3] by beating a big name team and no better than it being France.

However hopes of a big upset were dashed right within ten minutes when France scored and it was felt that more goals were to follow, though credit to the African team for not giving up so easily and would keep the French at bay to deny them many chances to score up right up when half time came about with the French still leading by such a slender lead which the Algerians could get back at them if they had a lucky break.


French players celebrate taking the lead in the first half
Algerian hopes to get back at the French would end in failure as the second half would see France punish Algeria in quickfire that saw them go 3-0 up and were pretty much already set for the Quarter-Finals. Algeria though would get a goal back near the the end which would proved to be only just a consolation goal which would see Algeria dumped out of the 1986 World Cup.

In the end, the result was perhaps what many expected and after all the build up with the history of the two nations being highlighted, it was a bit of an anti-climax seeing how many France won the game by. People now began asking questions as to if this French side could go one-step better and go all the way to win the World Cup this time round?

The next game after that would prove to be a mouth-watering clash with Brazil and Spain and both sides saw them get a large support thanks to many Brazilians and Spanish living in the area and thankfully for them and many others they would be treated to a thrilling game which many felt was the best game of the last 16. While Brazil were seen as favourites as always, Spain were no push other team even when Brazil scored first, Spain came back to get a goal back before Brazil again responded with another goal to end the first half 2-1.

Through the second half, the game was quite a end to end game with both sides really put on a show for the crowd though it would see Spain get a good goal chalked off for some unknown reason which was felt to be bias in favour of Brazil which would have given them the goal needed to get back in the game. Before long, Brazil scored near the end and that might've been the end, or was it?


Brazil vs Spain in the Last 16
A minute later after Brazil scored, Spain did just that and suddenly the game became a mad scramble to the finish as it did look like that Spain might have enough in them to pull off another goal to take the game into extra time, alas that wasn't the case and despite their best efforts, Brazil held on to get the their victory they wanted and once again Brazil were in the last eight as always.

Many Brazilian supporters celebrated well into the day and after what had happened in Spain with a team that many felt should've won the cup now felt that they would be more luckier this time round, or would they...?

Next day saw the two British teams left to play their games with England taking on Morocco first and despite many tipping England to win the game, they would prove to really underestimate the African side as Morocco looked rather comfortable out there and England looked to be on the back foot with many thinking that Morocco looked more comfortable in the heat than the English were.

England struggled in the Denver heat and the feeling was to many that this game would see a big upset if Morocco could find a goal here but yet the African side couldn't seem to find a break through in the first half and it would be the English that went in at half time feeling more relieved that they had survived that onslaught in the first half and had to regroup to try and figure out a plan to win the game.


England vs Morocco in the first half
England did play better in the second yet despite this they were now the team that couldn't seem to find the break through and this would end up seeing the game go into extra time after the score remained stuck at 0-0 in what was looked on as a stuffy and poor game. Thankfully in the end for England it would be Gary Lineker that helped get the goal that would send England through to the next round and put an end to Morocco's run [3].

Despite the victory, many in the English press were left unimpressed by the game and suspected that based on that game alone that England didn't have it in them to go on and go all the way in this World Cup. Would things get better for England next? Time would tell later on...

When it was seen that Italy would face Scotland in the round of 16, no one gave poor Scotland a chance against Italy, even though their bad performance at the last World Cup and being a team in transition did make many wonder if Scotland could take on the Italians and try and get an unlikely victory as their last victory had been in 1965 [4]. With that, Italy looked like a team determined to win didn't seem to handle Italy's waves of attacks and surely a goal would come soon.

However Scotland seemed to play anti-football in which they spent most of the game trying to cancel out Italian attacks in what many felt was part of a plan to take the game all the way to penalties and win from then. A flawed an rather ugly plan to say the least but so far after the end of the first half, it seemed to work as the first half ended 0-0 and Scotland were starting to feel they could do it.


Strachan in the second half right before...
In the second half, Scotland started to show some promise on the counter attacks which did trouble the Italian defence yet Italy seemed able to hold as the game went into the final minutes of injury time. Then it happened. Right in the last minute, Scotland won a corner kick in which Italy looked set to clear it, instead a mix up in the box saw Strachan get his head on it and hammer it home into the back of the net to win the game for Scotland and come up with perhaps one of the most strangest celebrations for a goal ever [5].

The defeat was a shock for Italy and they accused the Scots for not really playing and not deserving to go through, though some Scots simply said that Italy were bad losers and for Scotland it was felt that if it worked against Italy, why can't it work to take them all the way...?

The final day of last 16 games started off with West Germany taking on a dark horse Danish side in which despite being looked on as a cult team, not many gave them a chance against the Germans who were expected to go through to the next round. However things wouldn't go to many people's thoughts as Denmark would get a penalty right before the end of the first half which gave them an unlikely lead, though it could be said that West Germany had underestimated them.

West Germany did all they could to try and get back in the game yet despite their best efforts, Denmark seemed to have right where they wanted them and the mostly American crowd in Kansas City started cheering for the Danes as they played not only really well they felt, but also being the underdog side. But surely the favourites would get the better of the underdog team in the end, right?


A Danish sending off in the second half
In the end, things got worse for the West Germans as Denmark would get another goal in the 62nd minute and now the big shock of yet another early exit for the Germans looked like a real possibility. The Germans tried all they could and yet despite a sending off for the Danes in the second half, it counted for little for the Germans as they dumped out of the World Cup by little Denmark [6].

Though they had done better than the disastrous World Cup team of before, it was still a bad loss to take and many harsh questions would be asked to see if following their World Cup victory in 1978 that they had gotten worse since then? Or was that many teams around them had gotten better with football's new global appeal? What matter was though that Denmark were in the last eight for the first time.

The last round of 16 match saw Mexico take on Tunisia in what was actually their first World Cup meeting in 20 years in which Mexico beat the Tunisians that time [7]. Mexico had the largest away support at this World Cup and that large support would help this Mexican side take on the African side who despite trying to make things difficult for the Central American side, Mexico would score first in the 34th minute.

Poor Tunisia tried everything they could to get back into the game and yet despite getting the support of several American supporters who were cheering them on in the hope that they would somehow beat their arch rival, Mexico scored another goal in the second half which ultimately proved to be what Mexico needed to help them make it to the last eight for the first time since 1970.


Mexican players celebrate after getting the victory they needed to go through.
It was rather sad to see that with Tunisia gone, no African side would reach the last eight this time round though the Mexicans didn't care who's supporters celebrated well into the night in the hope that they would be the team that would go all the way and try and win the World Cup at long last. With that though, there were now eight teams left who were feeling that they had a chance to get their hands on the cup, question was...who?

1986 13.png

Final results of last 16 of the 1986 World Cup

  • [1] Fair to say is that US soccer is going to get bigger earlier here than OTL.
  • [2] The last 16 is pretty much what Mexican supporters feel in which they can't seem to break through that.
  • [3] The game is like OTL, though ends with an England victory in extra time.
  • [4] As OTL's 1966 WC qualifying .
  • [5] You should remember his goal victory with West Germany in OTL for that! ;)
  • [6] Pretty much same game as OTL.
  • [7] ITTL at least.
There we are then, some results you expected and some you didn't, next round as follows:

Argentina vs France

England vs Denmark

Yugoslavia vs Brazil

Scotland vs Mexico

So who's who then? You know the drill, until then catch you later!
France. I reckon Les Bleus will want revenge.

England. The Germans underestimated the Danes - I doubt England will make the same mistake.

Brazil. It's Brazil...

Scotland, I think. But Mexico would love to reach the semis on American soil...
Argentina vs France


England vs Denmark


Yugoslavia vs Brazil


Scotland vs Mexico


More of a wish-list than a prediction perhaps.
1986 FIFA World Cup Quarter-Final
Part 3

Football fever was gripping the United States, even if they had gone out in the last round. However that didn't mean that the American public didn't have more to pick from and the first of the Quarter-finals would be Argentina taking on France in what was a rematch of the final in the last tournament [1]. Many did suspect that this would be a revenge match that France will want it more than the reigning champions.

France though would struggle though in the start as Argentina caused problems with Maradona taking an early lead for Argentina and that seemed to set Argentina on their way to look for more goals. However Platini would get a goal back for France five minutes before the break and that in itself would cause the game to turn on it's head with the score level at the break and from that goal no one knew how the game would end up in the second half.


The second half saw France come out of the traps looking for another goal and were clearly the better team in the second half more likely to score with Argentina unable to get out of their half and many were starting to feel that France were indeed going to get their long awaited revenge on the Argentines. However despite looking better, they just couldn't seem to find a breakthrough and in the end, it would be a killer counter against the run of play with Argentina get a sudden goal from Valdano in the 79th minute to give Argentina the victory to take them into the last four and France bewildered and dismayed at how they had let the game slip away from them.

Though many will say that Argentina were lucky to win the game and France deeply unlucky not to win, the truth was that the French team may have had all the best chances yet they had failed to make their chances matter and had no one to blame for themselves for their failure to win. For the victors, they could look on with joy that they were another step closer in the hope of defending their honour...


Platini looks on dismayed after the loss to Argentina

Later on that day in Kansas City, the ever experienced England were up against the underdog yet cult team of Denmark. Though the English supporters had been quite glad that they wouldn't have to face West Germany following the Germans' humiliation to the Danes, some were wary that this Danish team were a likely dark horse and they had to be careful when facing them. Plus there was also the problem that England in the victory over Morocco had been very poor with many saying they were lucky in that. Without doubt, England had to be much better here.

A large number of English supporters had made the journey to Kansas while meeting up with many English immigrates living in that part of the States, but also there were a number of Danish supporters who were loving the adventure they were on for their first ever World Cup. Denmark in the opening part of the game did look quite good holding off English attacks, however when Lineker scored for England in the 31st minute, that would mark the downfall early on for poor Denmark.


John Eriksen during the game with England
England looked like a team that were out to cause chaos for Denmark yet the Danes managed to keep the English out in a first half that might've seen the winning team go three goals up if it weren't for the defence looking more solid. It couldn't last forever for in the second half, England would add to their lead, while not letting up, with Beardsley getting the second in the 56th minute and finally with Lineker getting his second and England's third in the 73rd to complete the victory over the Danes and progress to the last four.

The game was an answer to England's critics that they couldn't really play but while they enjoyed the moment of reaching the last four, much congratulations went for the Danes who in their first World Cup appearance had done a better job than what most nations had done whenever they first played at a World Cup [2]. Plus much international interested went in for Denmark and while out there, the Danish team had time to visit the Walt Disney Animation Studios were one certain Hans Christian Andersen tale was going to get adapted for the future...but that is another story [3]!


English players celebrate after their rout over the Danes

The following day saw the other two Quarter-Finals with first Yugoslavia playing the ever fancied Brazil in which pretty much everyone expected to win whenever they played a game of football. Combined with many thousands of Brazilian supporters in Pontiac as well as a Partisan American crowd who still thought of Yugoslavia as a 'Commie' team even though they had gone when the rest of Warsaw Pact countries hadn't, then again with Cold War feelings in the air what was one to expect? To say it wasn't easy for them would be an understatement.

Nonetheless Yugoslavia decided to go out there and prove everyone that they wanted to go out and win but it would be Brazil that struck home the first goal in the 17th minute and that was pretty much a deserved lead as Brazil had tormented the Yugoslavians from the start and a goal rush was expected to fall upon Yugoslavia. However Brazil couldn't get another goal in the second half and Yugoslavia weren't going to go down without a fight...


The Yugoslavian team prior to the game with Brazil
Brazil would come out into the second half looking rather ropey and not knowing what to do and this would pounced upon by Yugoslavia who managed to get a shock equaliser and from then on, Yugoslavia would play on the defence for the rest of the game while Brazil tried everything to get the winner yet failed as the game ended after 90 minutes with it now going into extra time, a period of play which saw nothing happen other than Yugoslavia playing some gritty yet ugly football seeming more interested in not losing that winning. Thus after a gruelling game, the game went to penalties and it would rare thing to see Brazil play in such a moment in a World Cup.

This was what Yugoslavia wanted as this was perhaps the only way Yugoslavia were going to win and they shock everyone when they held their nerve to win 4-3 on penalties and dump Brazil out of the World Cup and end their American Adventure [4]. Many felt that Yugoslavia didn't deserve the victory though on the plus side, several American investors were starting to look into Yugoslavia in investing in business trade in which seemed well timed with the country's economy in a poor shape in that time and maybe might help them in the future...[5].


The moment before Brazil's last penalty which would lead them to defeat

The last Quarter-Final would see Scotland taking on the heavily backed Mexicans in which saw them have a huge support than rivalled the always ever well supported Tartan Army. That said, the United States-Mexican rivalry could be felt with Mexicans looking forward at the prospect at winning the cup on American soil while the American locals were backing the Scots in the hope that they were send the Mexicans packing, plus the Scots got a warm welcome in East Rutherford with a pipe band formed from many Scottish expats living in that area of the United States.

Despite the grand hopes that the atmosphere of two passionate set of fans could be translated onto the pitch, what followed however would be one of the most tiring, gruelling and despairing games of football ever in a World Cup with neither getting a single shot on goal in the first half alone. It was unclear if Mexico had underestimated Scotland, the Scots looking uncomfortable in the heat or if the latter had planned to do 'a Yugoslavia' and take the game all the way to penalties. Ether way it was a truly awful game full of tackles and embarrassing missed chances to break the deadlock.


The Mexican team before the game with Scotland
Scotland's plan, if they had even planned it to begin with, had managed to take the game all the way to the penalty shootout which had seen the game end 0-0 in which would be a game so bad that anyone would have trouble to make a highlights program about it and it made the last Quarter-Final with Brazil and Yugoslavia look good. Scotland's plan worked as they easily defeated the Mexicans 4-1 on which was their first shoot out in a World Cup and thus, Mexico's penalty taking was one of the worst anyone had ever seen [6].

It was unclear who deserved the victory more, though there was no question as to who the American soccer fans felt more delighted for seeing their rivals crash out and they and the Scottish supporters celebrated well into the night and there was another important thing in which that victory would see Scotland play in the last four for the first time in exactly 20 years and some felt it was a long time coming [7]. Could they do it...?


Scottish players celebrate after their victory over Mexico

With that, four remained in what looked like quite a strange looking Semi-Final line up in which had defied many pundits' many choices such as Brazil and Mexico with the only thing they could sheepishly say that football was a funny game and that the World Cup could see anything happen. Maybe America's 'can do' attitude had inspired some teams to defy the odds and go for it? Who knows what lay in store...

1986 14.png

Final results of the 1986 Quarter-Finals

  • [1] As seen ITTL's last WC.
  • [2] Denmark do a bit better here ITTL than in OTL WC.
  • [3] For the Disney fans, you should know what film I'm talking about! ;)
  • [4] Brazil go out on penalties like in OTL, only to Yugoslavia here.
  • [5] With American interest in other countries who are willing to promote themselves out Stateside, mainly for tourist and business trade, butterflies await Yugoslavia!
  • [6] Pretty much the same bad loss as OTL for Mexico.
  • [7] At least ITTL.
There we are, some shock results there I imagine but many countries had developed football in many ways than one and much butterflies have taken place. Anyway, last four list as follows.
Argentina vs England

Yugoslavia vs Scotland
Now then, I think we have eyes on one certain game, though it won't go exactly the same way...until then, catch you later!
1986 FIFA World Cup Semi-Finals
Part 4

When it was seen in the last four of who would be playing, pretty much everyone said that whoever in the game with Argentina and England would be ultimately the victors to win the cup. Plus it would be a rematch of the madcap Semi-Final from before between the two, as well as falling on the 20th anniversary of that game, and it was all set to be truly exciting game. It would turn out to be a memorable game but perhaps in not quite the way people would've thought.

The opening half would see both teams exchange chances in what was quite a tight game that look to go either way with the best chance came to England in the 13th minute when Beardsley but he failed to make he chance count. In the end, the first half remained goalless and nothing of note in the game and was overall a bit of a anti-climax for those hoping for goals, things though were about to pick up though...


England vs Argentina during the Semi-Final
Six minutes into the second half, Maradona cut inside from the left and played a diagonal low pass to the edge of the area to teammate Jorge Valdano and continued his run in the hope of a one-two movement. Maradona's pass was played slightly behind Valdano and reached England's Steve Hodge, the left midfielder who had dropped back to defend.
Hodge tried to hook the ball clear but miscued it. The ball looped off his foot and into the penalty area, toward Maradona, who had continued his run. England goalkeeper Peter Shilton came out of his goal to punch the ball clear. Maradona reached it first with his outside left hand and the ball bounced into the goal. Referee Ali Bin Nasser of Tunisia said he did not see the infringement and allowed the goal much to the fury of the English and that moment would be forever known as the 'Hand of God'.

Four minutes later would come again from Maradona and would be known as the goal of the century in which Midfielder Héctor Enrique passed the ball to Maradona inside his own half. Maradona then began his 60-yard, 10-second dash towards the English goal, passing four English outfield players: Peter Beardsley, Peter Reid, Terry Butcher (twice) and Terry Fenwick. Maradona finished the move with a feint that left goalkeeper Shilton making him fall, before slotting the ball into the net to make the score 2–0 to Argentina.


The infamous Hand of Goal moment

As bad as this was for England, they didn't give up though and nearly ten minutes before the end, Lineker scored and it would get better as right on the death of the game, he would come again and fired in England's unlikely equaliser from a header that would drag the game into extra time in what was now a classic encounter filled with wonderful goals, controversy and drama [1]. Extra time would see both teams play it out in the hot Californian heat in which both became exhausted from the heat and right up into the final moments of extra time, it looked like penalties were looming, then Argentina won a free kick and it would be Valdano who would connect his foot with the flying ball which a sweet volley which saw it slam into the back of the net and left the English heartbroken that they had lost the game right at the death [2].

Despite feeling exhausted, Argentina had made it to the final and their players took great delight at getting yet another over the English, though it was quite a close call in which anything might had happened had the game gone to penalties. England couldn't believe their bad luck and falling the Semi-Final stage yet again in what seemed like their glass ceiling at the World Cup. Would they ever get to the final again and win? For now though, this was Argentina's victory to enjoy and they became the team that everyone expected to win the tournament now, question was who would it be?


One happy Maradona after the final whistle

The following day saw the two most unlikely teams to have reached this far in the World Cup, Scotland and Yugoslavia, and while it looked like a good underdog story on the surface, both had pretty much scraped their way through by knocking out teams that pretty much many felt should've been at this stage more than these two who's anti-football ideas had not been what many wanted to see.

Both were playing in their away kits and the game would turn out to be quite an open and positive game in which was a far better contrast to what they had shown in the knockout stage and a good chance in the first fifteen minutes by Sturrock for Scotland which hit the crossbar and it was Scotland that were actually looking the more positive team when it came for chances yet despite this the first half ended 0-0.


Scotland and Yugoslavia, in their away kits, during the Semi Final
Scotland's failure to take the game by the neck in the first half would come back to haunt them as the second half would see Yugoslavia starting to come out and attack more and a killer blow would come in the 63rd minute when Katanec blasted home a rocket of a shot that went into the back of the net and gave Yugoslavia a shock lead and Scotland spent the rest of the second half trying to get an equaliser but Yugoslavia went back into their 'tried and tested' routine of defending to hold onto the lead which despite the Scots doing everything they could to find a goal, a good chance falling for Nicol in the 87th minute which was hit the post, Scotland failed to get a goal and Yugoslavia had shocked everyone to reach their first World Cup final.

While it was on one hand a true against all the odds story regarding Yugoslavia who had now done better since what they did in 1962 [3], many didn't give the Yugoslavs a chance in hell that they could take down Argentina and win the cup. Nonetheless across Yugoslavia, many celebrated this great achievement while in Scotland, the reaction was of heartache that they had come so close yet so near and even though there was a third-place match with England to play for, it really wasn't a game they wanted to play even if they could get bragging rights over England. For the rest of the world, a mismatch final was about to take place [4].

1986 15.png

Final results of the 1986 World Cup Semi-Final results

  • [1] Up until the equaliser, the game is pretty much like OTL with the POD being that Lineker actually gets the late goal he misses in OTL that would've taken the game to extra time.
  • [2] The ending is pretty much like Platt's goal against Belgium in 1990, though it's Argentina who get the victory here so the game is somewhat either more or less controversial ITTL depending on your view.
  • [3] As with OTL, Yugoslavia made it to the Semi Finals in 1962.
  • [4] In case you are wondering, Yugoslavia are doing something of a 1992 Denmark in which they got invited and made it to the final despite the odds. Things are going to be different in future updates regarding UEFA qualifying.
Well then...bit of a strange and whacky update that sees results that perhaps you weren't quite expecting, but then again it's alternate history in which strange things seem to happen! But we are getting close to 1990 now and what are you hoping we see for football ITTL as in what would you like to see happen which I will take in consideration such as seeing an African team reaching the final or more Asian sides reaching the knockout stages.

The final update of 1986 will be up soon and stay tuned for that!