Gary Lineker's 1986 World Cup in pictures: "Look at those nut-huggers Barnso is wearing..."

Gary Lineker 1986

England might not have walked away with the World Cup in 1986, but it was a fruitful tournament indeed for its free-scoring striker.

The Three Lions' Group F was actually a particularly low-scoring one, the four teams – Morocco, Poland, Portugal and England – perhaps sapped by the heat of Mexico.

England finished second behind Morocco with one win, one draw and a defeat (to bottom side Portugal, of all sides), eventually coming through the group after two goalless games to Lineker's hat-trick against Poland. He got another pair in the last 16 against Paraguay, and a sixth goal against Argentina – albeit a consolation thanks to Diego Maradona's infamous exploits.   

After claiming the Golden Boot, Lineker signed for Barcelona for £2.8m. 

"Not a grey hair in sight! I look at this and think that I'd have been a better player if I'd bulked up. I would like to have been stronger. That's what they do to young forwards now – get them to the gym."

"Robson looks like he's doing a Paula Radcliffe here! He's also got a great perm. It was some kind of fitness exercise I guess."

"This is Ray walking off after throwing the ball at the referee. He was so disappointed after that game. It was very hot and he'd just got frustrated."

"This is Robson having his shoulder put out again. He was so unlucky with injuries. He could have made all the difference in the later games."

"Bobby meeting some local kids – they all loved him. He was naturally good with people wherever he went, and it helped with the atmosphere of being at a World Cup."

"I was happy with that one. I had a feeling I'd beat the keeper. I chested it, and took it on the half-volley, left-footed. It flew in. The atmosphere was poor: that bit of the ground in the background was the only area that was full. Monterey was a quiet, strange place. It was blazing hot and we were so drained afterwards."

"I was suddenly surrounded by press, doing lots of interviews after games. I'm pitchside with Jim Rosenthal of ITV here. You don't really get an impression of all the madness going on back at home, but things like this, getting mobbed, give you an inkling."

"I think he's being arrested for impersonating a police officer here! Peter is a really nice guy and he got on with everyone. He was great to be around – and what a partnership we had, the best I ever had."

"I was off the pitch getting treated at the time, I'd had an elbow in the throat. Peter assumed my position and scored. I was pleased but gutted, it should have been me! I could have had hat-tricks in consecutive World Cup games!"

"This is the third goal against Paraguay, and my second. It made me top scorer in the tournament. The atmosphere was a bit better here because we were in the knock-out stages. I'm still a bit disappointed I didn't get a hat-trick though!"

"I've always been a sun-worshipper, and I get out in it whenever I can, but it was totally ridiculous in Mexico. Look at those nut-huggers Barnso is wearing! He couldn't get into those these days – not with his belly..."

"This is taken at the Azteca before the Argentina match. It was a great stadium and the one place where we had a really superb atmosphere. The mood in the camp was great, unlike some of the haircuts."

"The best goal I've ever seen, and on an absolutely terrible pitch, too. It's the only time as a player where I've felt like I ought to clap. I just thought 'Wow'. If there was ever a man who dragged a team to win a World Cup, it was him in 1986."

This feature originally appeared in FourFourTwo magazine. Subscribe (opens in new tab)

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