Even though David Beckham put soccer back into the spotlight, there have always been some fantastic players of this often-overlooked sport.
Baseball and American football usually take center stage, but soccer has always been there.
Throughout the decade, 80s soccer made its mark with some great matches and legendary players.
1982 World Cup
Every four years, the world of soccer gets together for the World Cup – it’s sort of like the Super Bowl and World Series combined. There are a series of rounds and one final game to determine a winner.
The 1982 World Cup, held in Spain, was the year that the team count was expanded from 16 to 24, and included more teams from Asia and Africa. It was also the first time since 1958 that the Northern Ireland team qualified.
There was also a new format used in 1982. The first round was ‘round robin’ style, and included six groups with four teams in each group. A win counted as two points, and a tie was one point. In case of a tie, the total of goals, or goal difference, would be used to break that tie.
The second round included four groups with three teams, and the winner of each group made it to the knockout stage of the semi-finals.
Italy won the 1982 World Cup, defeating West Germany 3 to 1. They also did it in an unusual fashion; they were the only team to beat the powerhouse Argentina, and advanced through the first round with only ties – no actual wins. Poland clinched third place, followed by France in fourth.
1986 World Cup
The 1986 World Cup was held in Mexico, and three teams qualified for the first time – Canada, Iraq, and Denmark. Mexico also had an earthquake just months before the event that they had to deal with, but the stadiums held up and the game was on.
Like the 1982 World Cup, there was another change in format; the second round was made a knock-out round, rather than groups.
This year, the winner was the great Argentina team, beating West Germany 3 to 2. In third place was France, and coming in fourth was Belgium.
The World Cup is one of the most popular, but it’s not the only big competition. There are continental championships, which include the European Championship, the Copa America, African Cup of Nations, the Asian Cup, the CONCACAF Gold Cup, and the OFC Nations Cup. There are also domestic leagues and regular season matches.
80s Soccer Teams with Elite Players
Brazil has had a powerful team ever since a 17-year-old Pele made waves in 1958. Some of their best players in the 80s were Socrates, Zico, Eder, and Falcao.
Italy was another great team with legendary players like Paolo Rossi, Dino Zoff, Marco Tardelli, and Alessandro Altobelli.
West Germany, the team that made it to the final in both 80s World Cup events, also had some remarkable players – Karl Heinz-Rummenigge, Klaus Fischer, and Pierre Littbarski, among many others.
Argentina was another solid team with the great Diego Maradona, Jose Luis Brown, and Jorge Valdano.
Soccer is a great sport – if you’re up to the challenge. It’s 90 minutes of running that requires balance, endurance and some serious ball-handling skills.
There were plenty of athletes that made 80s soccer so much fun to watch – and they made it look easy.