Diego Maradona – Argentina vs Belgium – 1982

20 05 2010

It is one of the most iconic football photographs of all time, an image that sums up the power Maradona held over mere mortals during his career, photographic evidence that one man is capable of single-handedly lifting an entire nation to World Cup glory. But in this age of football pragmatism, where we bestow the title of ‘Special One’ to the most negative coach in a generation, it seems as good a time as any to ask, what in God’s name were the Belgian defenders doing?

From a tactical point of view I think we can see that number six, Franky Vercauteren, is looking to track back and support his full back. From his position he’s trying to steer Maradona down the line and prevent him from coming aside and hurting them (as he did to the Belgians 4 years later). It is also possible to justify the position of the the follicly supreme number 10 Ludo Coeck, who is cutting off a route inside for Maradona. After that it is quite clear that tactics, formation and indeed common sense have gone out the window, they’ve all been replaced with the blind fear that only the great players can inspire in an opposition team.

This photo demonstrates perfectly a secondary effect that having a player like Maradona or Zidane has on a team. At the point this photo was taken fifty percent of the Argentinian side were umarked in vast tracts of the Nou Camp, ready to take full advantage of the situation created by the simpe presence of Maradona. There are few players at the upcoming World Cup who can have a similar effect, it is perhaps fitting then that Maradona will seek to use Lionel Messi to have a similar effect on the opposition in South Africa this summer.

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5 responses

24 05 2010
Wolfgang Wolf

I recall reading somewhere that this picture was taken after a free-kick, I presume within shooting range, and that the ball was actually laid off to Maradona instead of the shot being taken. The Belgian defenders in seeming disarray were actually reacting and breaking away from their wall. That would be one big wall mind you.
This could all be nonsense of course.

24 05 2010
theghostgoal

haha.. yes wolfie, i’m sure that is it. piece is very much tongue in cheek. i do prefer the theory that its some sort of tv gladiators style ‘run the gauntlet’ with john fashanu shouting awooga from the sidelines though.

25 05 2010
Wolfgang Wolf

The American lack of a sense of irony has rubbed off on me. Odd that such an iconic picture has such a mundane truth though.
I’d like to see Maradona do the gauntlet, after his antics recently I could see him doing well. Provided he could drive over the Gladiators in his car.

6 11 2010
Jero

Auch! As an Argentinian it is hard to say that wolfie is right: search in youtube for the video “watch?v=wVlur1I12wc”, minute 1:15, and you’ll see this image. Still, the “fear” that these players show in their expressions is amasing, and it does talk about Maradona’s abilities. Diego, the best in history!

30 04 2012
palir

gila kalian semua wkwkwk

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