Stories

How to win the World Cup, by the men who've done it

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Jose Luis Brown

(Won with Argentina as a player in 1986, scoring in the final.)
 
Remember previous games don’t count
“We’d a suffered a lot in the qualifying round in order to get to the 1986 World Cup. We almost went out at home against Peru. An injury-time goal saved us. The press destroyed us. They even criticised Maradona. There was a campaign to have our manager sacked. But we were united as a group, and from that union, we knew we had the strength to overcome everything.”
 
The month before the cup is crucial
“The players finally meet, club competitions are over, and the mind is clearly pointing towards the World Cup. You train and live every day as team-mates. You start realising how you feel and you can quickly realise how far your team can go.”
 
Be aware of your limitations 
“But never feel inferior! I knew it would have been very hard for me to play if Daniel Passarella had been fit, but I trained with all my spirit because I knew I had to be ready. Passarella suffered hepatitis and I played all the games. Long before that, Bilardo made me watch videos of Stielike, who was an amazing sweeper. I lacked his panoramic vision and his technique, but I knew he lacked my will and passion.”
 
Believe that anything is possible
“A year before the World Cup, I got an injury with the national team and Espanyol didn’t want me. I spent the last months alone in Buenos Aires, training on the road. Was it hard? Definitely. Did I quit? Never. My desire to go to the World Cup kept me going. Once I was there, I wasn’t going to let myself be substituted. I suffered a dislocated shoulder in the final. I was in pain, so I played with my hand inside my shirt. Every time I approached the touchline, I’d see Bilardo with my number on the board, waiting for me to ask for substitution. Impossible. The only way I would have left the pitch is if I was dead.”