In Mexico 1986, the French football team of Michel Platini triumphed over the great Brazilian team of Sócrates, in Guadalaraja (Mexico) in the quarter-finals of the World Cup (1-1 , 4-3 tabs). Pelé himself described it as the "match of the century".
First of all, it's a match that is told through its many adventures: the clarity of Careca's goal, the early switch that sends Amoros to the right and puts Fernandez back in the middle, Zico's penalty saved by Bats (74th), the two Brazilian uprights (32nd and 70th), the gross, unsanctioned foul by Roberto Carlos on Bellone (115th), the missed shot on goal by Platini, the rebounds on that of Bellone, the conclusion of Luis Fernandez…
THE BEAUTY OF THIS FOOTBALL
Both teams adopt the same disposition – not tactical, but philosophical. They rely only on themselves to win, on their immense individual and collective qualities. They agree to play, to play the game, not to close it. They are constantly exposed, each opportunity on one side opening the possibility of an opportunity on the other. For the French, it will be the end of a huge generation, without succession: four dark years begin. In retrospect, we see it decline live. His two greatest talents suffer, Michel Platini from tendonitis (he plays under anti-inflammatories), Giresse from his thirty-three years (still brilliant against Italy, he quickly disappears against Brazil). They exchanged only six passes during the 83 minutes played together.
Sócrates is also flushed, Zico is also injured, reduced to the role of joker. These players will none the less make the offering of passes as so many strokes of genius. Zico barely entered the game, on the action of the penalty; Platini a few minutes from time, stopped from the central circle, to launch Bellone between the two central defenders. Vision, execution.
It has been rightly said that, on that day, the "Carre Magique" had moved back a line: Battiston, Bossis, Tigana and Fernandez make it up. And it is still to ignore the performance, destined to become legendary, of Joël Bats. Not enough to take away from the panache of the group, each outfield player, except Battiston, having shot on goal.
THE END OF ROMANTIC FOOTBALL
This match celebrates less the beauty of France of the Hidalgo-Platini era than the beauty of the meeting between this France and this Brazil. Some great matches are the result of a total opposition of style, this one is the result of harmony between two teams.
France's talented midfield showed even more so during the round of 16, like 1982 to contemplate the seleçao of those years in all its splendor.
Brazil and France will win other World Cups than this one, breaking with a philosophy that the “stakes” of modern football will no longer allow. For both selections, June 21, 1986 is the end of the romantic illusion, pushed as far as possible – until the penalty shootout. The final will be won in a completely different style by Maradona's Argentina.
This is what makes the legend of this match, well beyond what can be seen in its recording, even beyond what objectively establishes it as exceptional – the coincidence of the sporting issue, of quality of acting and dramatic intensity.
It has everything for an historic match, the ultimate expression of a way of conceiving football before a complete change of era, the last one before the tactical, athletic and above all economic revolution that is advancing.
A football disappeared in Guadalajara. Don't regret it, but remember it.
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