Silver Road and Golden Stripes, Yet Another Football TL

Quarter-Finals 1985-86
The upper bracket part of these Quarter-Finals was settled quickly. France continued to beat down their rivals Brazil, with a convincing victory at home in Paris, before holding a 0-0 draw in Rio. Similarly, West Germany destroyed Spain at home in Munich, scoring five goals to Spain's only one, before also holding a draw during the return leg.
Italy also qualified, scoring two goals with East Germany unable to answer in Rome, and they would be unable to respond in Leipzig either, as Italy kept the game tied at all times, with a third and last 0-0 draw during the return phase. The Scandinavian confrontation between Denmark and Sweden was much more open, with both teams winning their home leg, however Denmark managed to score during their game in Sweden, whereas the Swedes failed to do so in Copenhagen, sending Denmark through to the Semi-Finals.


French and Brazilian players in action during the return leg of their confrontation
Semi-Finals 1985-86
France would finally be stopped by West Germany, who after losing time and time again during the 80s, finally stopped the curse of not making it to the final (bar their ill-fated encounter with England two years back) by eliminating France in two strikes, one away, and one at home.
Italy wouldn't be able to make it to the final and try and strike down West Germany as they'd done in 1982. Their ineffective offense combined with a strong danish defence made for a locked down game in Milan, while at home Denmark managed to score two early on, while Italy reacted very late and saw the final fade away. The Danes therefore made their first ever Nations League final, where they'd face a German squad hungry for another title.


West Germany open up the scoreline in front of their home crowd as French players look on, disappointed
Final 1985-86
Both halves of the final of the 1985-86 Nations League would closely resemble one another. Shortly after taking to the pitch, the German squad was overpowered by the quick attacks from the danish squad. The Danes managed to score early on thanks to Laudrup being able to sneak his way into the box, delivering a perfect ball to Berggreen who scored first. The Mannschaft then took control over the game, and soon after Rummenigge found Matthaus who managed to net a goal, scoring in Hogh's left part of the net. The Mannschaft then controlled, but despite two attempts by their captain Rummenigge, didn't manage to press their advantage further, leaving a tied game at half-time.
It wasn't long in the second half to see Denmark take control once more, but this time the Mannschaft wouldn't let the Danes through easily. It would be a corner kick that would give Denmark the advantage, with Olsen's corner finding Lerby, who sent a header flying past Schumacher. The Mannschaft would be startled once again, and retook control. However, it would be a misplay by Denmark that would enable the Germans to tie it back up, with Danish captain Morten Olsen fumbling and tugging a little too hard on Voller's shirt, giving a penalty over to Germany. Brehme took it and sent his team to overtime, as the Mannschaft wasn't able to score another before the final whistle.
Denmark decided to play for time, growing increasingly tired, while the Germans tried to push forward, without success. The last big occasion of the game would come when HoneB's attempt from twenty metres would hit the post at the 115th minute. With no team managing to take the upper hand, things went to penalties. The Germans struck first, with Voller scoring. However, Danish striker Berggreen would miss his shot, sending it flying over Schumacher's bar. All three next shots for each team were uneventful, Laudrup, Larsen and Olsen answering Berthold, Rummenigge and Matthaus' goals. Then came the last strike, with Dieter HoeneB taking to the spot. The German forward only had to score to give his team the title, but his shot was parried by Hogh. In a cruel twist of fate however, Hogh deviated it too high and the ball went into the net anyways, giving West Germany their first title in ten years.


Denmark and West Germany in action during the first stages of the game

Jesper Olsen scores his penalty, as Dieter HoneB gets ready to strike his own right afterwards

German forward Rudi Voller hoists the trophy up into the Mexican night sky
1985-86 Stats & 86-87 Intro

Winners: West Germany - 5th title
Top Scorer: Michel Platini (FRA) - 5 goals

1986-87 Participants:
Europe: England (32), Soviet Union (28), West Germany (32), Spain (31), Netherlands (15), Italy (31), Denmark (4), Sweden (18), East Germany (21), France (17), Romania (8)
South America: Brazil (32), Argentina (32), Chile (4), Uruguay (20)
North America: Mexico (9)

Final Location: Estadio Monumental, Buenos Aires
Bracket Order
West Germany v Argentina
England v Chile
Soviet Union v Mexico
Netherlands v Sweden
Spain v Romania
Denmark v France
Italy v East Germany
Brazil v Uruguay
FIFA Cup 1985-86
Hungary v Senegal 1-2 / 0-2
Ireland v Cameroon 2-0 / 0-0
Scotland v Peru 1-0 / 1-0
Norway v Egypt 1-1 / 1-3
Paraguay v Iran 2-1 / 1-1
Poland v Colombia 1-1 / 0-2
Wales v Honduras 1-0 / 1-1
Uruguay v Greece 2-0 / 0-0
Switzerland v Algeria 2-0 / 0-0
Belgium v Libya 4-0 / 0-0
Chile v Israel 2-0 / 2-3
Bulgaria v Zaire 0-1 / 0-1
Morocco v Kuwait 2-1 / 7-3
Portugal v Australia 0-0 / 2-2
Austria v Ivory Coast 1-1 / 0-3
Northern Ireland v South Korea 1-0 / 2-3

Senegal v Ireland 0-1 / 0-2
Scotland v Egypt 2-0 / 1-2 aet
Paraguay v Colombia 2-0 / 0-3
Wales v Uruguay 1-0 / 2-0
Switzerland v Belgium 0-2 / 0-2
Chile v Zaire 1-0 / 3-1
Morocco v Portugal 1-0 / 0-2
Ivory Coast v Northern Ireland 0-3 / 0-1

Ireland v Scotland 1-1 / 0-1
Colombia v Wales 2-3 / 0-0
Belgium v Chile 3-0 / 1-1
Portugal v Northern Ireland 2-0 / 1-1

Scotland v Wales 3-2 / 0-2
Belgium v Portugal 2-0 / 1-1

Wales v Belgium 1-1 / 0-4
Winners: Belgium - 1st title

1986-87 Participants:

Europe: Czechoslovakia (2), Yugoslavia (5), Ireland (15), Scotland (8), Wales (13), Hungary (10), Belgium (5), Bulgaria (16), Austria (9), Portugal (8), Poland (3), Switzerland (13), Northern Ireland (16), Norway (5), Greece (15)
South America: Colombia (5), Paraguay (16), Peru (16)
North America: United States (1), Honduras (7)
Africa: Morocco (14), Egypt (16), Cameroon (10), Ivory Coast (5), Algeria (11), Ghana (13), Libya (4)
Asia: South Korea (13), Iran (15), Iraq (9), Kuwait (9)
Oceania: Australia (13)

Bracket Order
Austria v Cameroon
Paraguay v Iraq
Northern Ireland v Algeria
Morocco v Ivory Coast
Hungary v Peru
Belgium v Libya
Bulgaria v Honduras
Wales v Norway
Colombia v Ghana
Poland v Greece
Scotland v Kuwait
Yugoslavia v Egypt
Czechoslovakia v Iran
Switzerland v Australia
Ireland v USA
Portugal v South Korea
Round of 16 1986-87
This edition of the Nations League started off with the rematch of last year's final between West Germany and Argentina. Despite the Mannschaft being the higher seed however, they still had to concede the loss to Argentina, who after losing in Germany, won at home and qualified on away goals. Similarly, two other first seed teams would be knocked out in the upper bracket, with England disappointing yet again and being eliminated by Chile on away goals while Mexico also squeezed past the USSR to secure their first Quarter-Finals since the 60s. The Dutch did run into some problems with the Swedes, but managed to hang on to their lead.
The lower bracket was the opposite of the top half. Where three seed 1 teams had been knocked out, three seed 1 teams qualified. Spain defeated Romania with great difficulty, while Denmark shattered France easily, winning both at home and away. Italy qualified on away goals against East Germany, while Uruguay managed to defeat Brazil, the last seed 1 team, in Fortaleza, before holding onto the draw and moving on to face Italy in the Quarter-Finals.


West Germany and Argentina battle it out during the return leg of their confrontation that saw Argentina triumph 2-0 over the Mannschaft

Spain's Emilio Butragueno scores his team's third and final goal against Romania, securing an all important victory in Barcelona
Quarter-Finals 1986-87
For the underdog teams in the upper bracket, the road would stop in the Quarter-Finals, but Mexico and Chile wouldn't go down without a fight. Chile wouldn't even be beaten, and would only be ousted on away goals by their neighbours Argentina. Mexico would hold a draw against the Dutch, but would eventually fall in Utrecht as the Oranje would bring them down, but not before Mexico had scored two goals of their own.
In the lower bracket, Denmark wouldn't be able to take their revenge against Spain who ousted them during the World Cup and would now oust them at the Quarter-Final stage of the Nations League with two wins. Uruguay would also join their Argentinian neighbours in the Semi-Finals, a single goal scored in Montevideo against Italy securing their spot in the next round.


Denmark and Spain in action in Copenhagen during the return leg of their Quarter-Final matchup (0-1)
Semi-Finals 1986-87
The battle between world champions Argentina and a newly rising Dutch squad was quite anti-climactic. If the first game was close despite no team scoring, the second saw the Dutch completely annihilate Argentina in a truly one-way game. The second semi-final was much more action-packed, but was also anti-climactic. The crowd in Sevilla would be pleased with eight goals scored during the home leg of Spain versus Uruguay, and even more so with the six their home team scored. The return leg was a formality for Butragueno's squad, who only held a tie against the Albiceleste to advance to the final.


Dutch players in action during the return leg of their confrontation against Argentina (3-0)
Final 1986-87
The finals headed to Buenos Aires where the crowd was firmly in Spain's camp after the Netherlands had just ran over the Albiceleste a few weeks past. The Oranje were met with whistles on the pitch, but that did not stop them from shining on the pitch very quickly. After less than five minutes of play, Ruud Gullit found an opening to deliver a cross to Van Basten, who headed in the Dutch's first goal. The Dutch continued to find occasions, but this time the Spanish defense managed to get it under control, and even deliver a blow of their own, with Michel running a counter-offensive to provide Butragueno with the ball. The Spanish striker dribbled Rijkaard and shot through Van Breukelen to set Spain level before half-time.
The Dutch didn't falter with the equalizer, and soon after the start of the second half, Zubizarreta had to go with two decisive saves, but didn't manage to stop Erwin Koeman's strike from hitting the back of his net. Spain didn't throw the towel just yet, and managed to create several chances, including Butragueno shooting for goal, only to see his shot parried by Van Aerle into a corner kick. Said corner kick was then taken by Michel who enjoyed a second assist as Camacho headed in another equalizer, enabling Spain to go all the way to extra time.
Spain held on for a good half, but already it was clear that the Roja was completely tired while the Dutch still had reserves, with the Spanish not managing to be dangerous. The Oranje on the other hand continued to strike at the Spanish goal, and were finally rewarded as Van Basten slammed in his second goal of the game seven minutes after the start of the second half of extra time. Wouters sent in the death blow for Spain a few minutes later, right before the final whistle, giving the Netherlands their second silver star.


Spain's Emilio Butragueno celebrates scoring his first half equalizer

Van Basten gives the Netherlands another advantage in extra time

Frank Rijkaard (left) and Marco Van Basten (right) celebrate winning their first ever international trophy


1986-87 Stats & 87-88 Intro
Good showing from the dutch. Already had a song for their defeat prepared :)
Not this time! The Oranje finally show up.

Good old Calderé overshadowed by Butrageño in the pic... but he's there...
That's what happens when you play in the shadow of superstars I guess.


Winners: Netherlands - 2nd title
Top Scorers: Emilio Butragueno (ESP) & Antonio Alzamendi (URU) - 5 goals

1987-88 Participants:
Europe: Netherlands (16), Soviet Union (29), West Germany (33), Italy (32), Sweden (19), Spain (32), Romania (9), Yugoslavia (25), England (33), France (18), Czechoslovakia (28), Ireland (1)
South America: Brazil (33), Uruguay (21), Argentina (33)
North America: Mexico (10)

Final Location: Olympiastadion, Munich
Bracket Order
West Germany v Ireland
Soviet Union v Yugoslavia
Spain v England
Italy v Argentina
Netherlands v France
Brazil v Mexico
Sweden v Uruguay
Romania v Czechoslovakia
FIFA Cup 1986-87
Austria v Cameroon 3-1 / 0-2
Paraguay v Iraq 2-0 / 1-2
Northern Ireland v Algeria 2-1 / 1-1
Morocco v Ivory Coast 2-2 / 2-1
Hungary v Peru 2-1 / 0-2
Belgium v Libya 3-1 / 2-0
Bulgaria v Honduras 2-1 / 1-1
Wales v Norway 2-1 / 0-1
Colombia v Ghana 3-2 / 2-4
Poland v Greece 2-1 / 2-0
Scotland v Kuwait 1-0 / 3-1
Yugoslavia v Egypt 2-1 / 2-1
Czechoslovakia v Iran 4-0 / 1-1
Switzerland v Australia 1-2 / 1-1
Ireland v USA 1-1 / 0-0
Portugal v South Korea 1-1 / 1-2

Cameroon v Paraguay 2-2 / 1-1
Northern Ireland v Morocco 2-3 / 0-2
Peru v Belgium 0-0 / 1-2 aet
Bulgaria v Norway 4-1 / 0-1
Ghana v Poland 2-0 / 0-2 aet 3-4 pen
Scotland v Yugoslavia 3-4 / 2-3
Czechoslovakia v Australia 4-1 / 2-1
USA v South Korea 2-1 / 0-2

Paraguay v Morocco 1-2 / 0-1
Belgium v Bulgaria 1-3 / 0-2
Poland v Yugoslavia 1-1 / 1-2
Czechoslovakia v South Korea 4-1 / 4-2

Morocco v Bulgaria 3-1 / 1-1
Yugoslavia v Czechoslovakia 3-0 / 1-2

Morocco v Yugoslavia 0-2 / 0-4
Winners: Yugoslavia - 1st title

1987-88 Participants:

Europe: Denmark (13), Belgium (6), Poland (4), Scotland (9), Wales (14), Bulgaria (17), East Germany (1), Portugal (9), Hungary (11), Switzerland (14), Austria (10), Greece (16), Northern Ireland (17), Norway (6), Finland (1), Israel (16)
South America: Colombia (16), Paraguay (17), Chile (16), Peru (17)
Africa: Egypt (17), Cameroon (11), Morocco (15), Ivory Coast (6), Zambia (6), Algeria (12), Malawi (1)
Asia: South Korea (14), Iraq (10), Iran (16), Saudi Arabia (2)
Oceania: Australia (14)

Bracket Order
Paraguay v Algeria
South Korea v Greece
Portugal v Egypt
Hungary v Iran
Switzerland v Ivory Coast
East Germany v Saudi Arabia
Bulgaria v Iraq
Belgium v Cameroon
Poland v Peru
Australia v Morocco
Colombia v Norway
Denmark v Finland
Wales v Northern Ireland
Scotland v Zambia
Austria v Malawi
Chile v Israel
Round of 16 1987-88
There were less surprises than the usual during the first round of this edition of the Nations League. In the upper bracket, the stronger team won every time, even the defeat of seed 1 team Spain seeming normal as the English team was reated to be stronger here. West Germany made quick work of first timers Ireland, the Soviets doing the same to Yugoslavia, while Italy smashed Argentina as well.
The lower half of the bracket was marked with much closer games, and most notably the speedy exit of the Dutch titleholders, beaten at home in Rotterdam by an until then unimpressive french squad led by Jean-Pierre Papin. After holding a draw in Paris, the french qualified for the second round, where they would meet Brazil who only advanced over Mexico on away goals. Sweden also passed over Uruguay, but the Celeste nearly brought it back in Montevideo, with Sweden narrowly avoiding elimination thanks to two late goals, while Czechoslovakia barely beat Romania.


Italy and Argentina in action in Milan's San Siro Stadium

The Romanian goalkeeper looks on as Czechoslovakia score the winning goal of their confrontation in Brno
Quarter-Finals 1987-88
The Quarter-Finals were much closer than the Round of 16 matches. Both top bracket matches concluded with teams passing on away goals, World Cup finalists West Germany being upset by the Soviet Union after the Soviets scored one in Bonn without conceding one in Moscow, while England and Italy battled it out twice, with England's two goals in Naples proving crucial for them to advance.
The bottom half didn't see any team advance on away goals, but the margin for both winners was extremely small. France upset Brazil 3-1 at home, but were defeated in Rio de Janeiro. However, the Brazilians failed to score the goal that would've sent them to overtime, sending an unlikely French squad to the final. Meanwhile, Sweden were defeated by Czechoslovakia after drawing at home, eliminating them from the competition despite a strong showing.


Soviet players make sure to not let anything through during their return leg against West Germany to secure a semi-final appearance