Malta – ranked 32nd. This season was probably the best ever in the history of Hamrun Spartans. It was also the sorry end of the great 4-years spell of Rabat Ajax. Invisible in the lower echelons were clubs like

Naxxar Lions and
Vittoriosa Stars.
Mosta won the Second Division championship and was happily promoted. Back: S. Muscat, M. Chircop, S. Cuschieri, E. Tabone, J. Degiorgio, M. Ciantar, R. Borg, G. Muscat, P. Vella II, C. Schembri. Seated: L. Deguara, E. Buhagiar, P. Vella I, J. Attard (coach), A. Gatt, J. Busuttil, M. Muscat. Inset: I. Galea, F. Sant.
Birkirkara ended 2nd in the Second Division and also earned promotion.
First Division was more interesting at the bottom than at the top. But what is ‘bottom’? The Maltese First Division was tiny, the smallest in Europe – just 8 teams. Thus, almost everybody was in danger of going down. Four teams were considered candidates for the title before the start of the season – half the league! Reality was different.
Tarxien Rainbows was last, pretty much expected – they got just 3 points, absolute outsiders. But the other relegated team was considered a title contender before the start of the season – Rabat Ajax, the reigning champions and going through great spell already for 4 years. Internal troubles, however, brought them down – they finished 7th with 12 points and plummeted down to Second Division. Interestingly, they finished with positive goal-difference: 21-13. Only two teams had it better.
Up the table, it was mostly battle for survival and teams took places mostly according to the moment they managed to get themselves together.
Hibernians escaped by a point – they ended 6th with 13 points.
Slightly better, Zurrieq and Valletta FC, considered both title contenders before the start of the season, managed to climb up, but no more than fighting each other for second place. They finished with 16 points each and Zurrieq had far better goal-difference. But goal-difference did not count and play-off was staged – perhaps experience was the decisive factor here: Valletta FC prevailed 2-1 and got silver medals.

The champion was decided rather early – Hamrun Spartans were strong from start. To a point, it was surprising performance – Hamrun Spartans were not considered among the favourites before the opening of the season. It was fantastic run of the underdog: 11 wins, 3 ties, not a single loss, 25-6 goal-difference, 25 points. Overwhelming superiority and well deserved title, which was their 5th.

Perhaps it was lucky signing of imported player – the English striker Barry Galagher proved a formidable addition to the squad. He spent years in the lower English leagues, but was great for Maltese club.
Hamrun Spartans, invigorated by Galagher, reached the Cup final as well, where they met Sliema Wanderers. The final almost enraged fans, because it was scheduled on Sunday morning and lacked entertainment. The Spartans quickly got 2-0 lead and after that mostly kept the Wanderers at bay. Yet, their opponents tried to turn the game around and managed to score a goal in the second half. But no more and Hamrun Spartans won 2-1 and got the Cup. It was their 3rd.
Not sure, but possibly that was the Hamrun Spartans squad which won a double, their first. Fantastic season indeed, in which they did not lose any games and were vastly superior to all opponents.


Europe, according to UEFA’s club ranking. Luxembourg – last, 33rd. Two teams battled for the title, nothing more.
US Rumelange finished 2nd in the Second Division and earned promotion. Rather dramatic – clinched the spot on 1 goal better goal-difference.
Aris Bonnevoie won the Second Division championship with 34 points and returned to top flight.
Two outsiders in the top league – CS Petange was last with 10 points and FC Wiltz 71, also with 10 points, a place above on better goal-difference. Both relegated. CA Spora Luxembourg got bronze medals with 30 points, but that was their maximum – they had nothing to do with the title. Avenir Beggen eventually lost the fight, settling on 2nd place with 35 points.
Jeunesse d’Esch/Alzette finished first after 17 wins, 4 ties, and single loss. 64-14 goal-difference, 38 points and 20th title! Great achievement.
Avenir Beggen met CA Spora Luxembourg at the Cup final and completely destroyed the number 3 team in the country: 6-0.
Avenir lost the championship, but won its 3rd Cup.

Copa America final

The final. Chile never won Copa America and very much wanted to get it at last. Uruguay had a chance to equalize the record of Argentina, if winning the title for 9th time. The stakes were high. But it the 1980s and South America… high stakes practically predetermined the match, which immediately followed the pattern of the whole championship. Little football was played, it was just vicious battle.

The peace ended right here – at the picture of captains and referees before the start. The great Brazilian Romualdo Arppi Filho officiated the final and he followed his motto “I always tell the players – you play, I judge’, and he was often criticized for that – this final was no exception.
There was no football at all – the great finalists went into kicking each other from the start of the game and never stopped. The Chileans were livelier at first and looked more dangerous. But they also displayed some naivety – they kicked the Uruguayans quite openly.
The Uruguayans were crafty – they perfected dirty play long time ago: it always looked a borderline, may be they really played for the ball, but missed it in the last moment and kicked Chilean shin instead. Nevertheless, Arppi Filho had to blow the whistle twice in a single minute.
Football was hardly played at all – if a player was brought down already and managed to try some pass in front of the net, a whole bucket of players was there fighting for it by every possible mean. Eventually, the Chileans got some chances to score in the first half, but missed the net. But it was largely ugly kicking opponents – the Uruguayans just equally kicked every Chilean in sight, Chileans focused on Francescoli. It was so blatant and provocative, that even Arppi Filho run out of options to stay blind – he had no chance, but to red card Eduardo Gomez in the 14th minute. What else he can do? Francescoli was kicked about 4 times in succession in less than a minute.
Yes, Arppi Filho had to be blamed: the ugliness was clear from start, but he only registered fouls and did not yellow-card anybody, nor he warned anybody. The brutality only escalated and the rather late expulsion of Gomez did not help – Francescoli was already greatly provoked, the Chileans saw that and continued to kick him at every moment he got the ball. And after another serial kicking Francescoli snapped in the 27th minute and tried to retaliate. However, what followed only added to the ill spirit of the game: Francescoli was red-carded for what seemed to be arguing with the referee. Now it looked like Uruguay was wrong by the official… he permitted the provocative hunt, expulsion of Gomez was done reluctantly, just because there was no other way at the moment, Francescoli was steadily kicked around after that without even a warning to the culprits, and at the end he – and not the guilty Chilean – was out of the game as if Arppi Filho wanted to restore equal numbers of both teams. Nothing was done to pacify the opponents and bring them back to playing some football – on the contrary, it looked rather as signal by the referee to continue the slaughter. And both teams did just that.
It was, however, familiar and may be even preferable set-up for Uruguay – and they did not miss their rare opportunity to score in the 56th minute. Bengoechea did not miss the chance. In the second half Uruguay looked a bit more dangerous than Chile.

The war continued to the end – and in the 88th minute the Uruguayan captain Perdomo and the Chilean Fernando Astengo were red-carded. Perhaps the picture shows the only difference between the teams: Perdomo still claims innocence and Astengo is somewhat resigned – caught in middle of the crime, guilty as charged. Both teams ended with 9 men on the pitch, but frankly the game should have been abandoned may be around the 35th minute. Then again… stopping the game would have been impossible: no matter how violent, it was the final of a ‘new’ Copa America, promoting it’s ‘modern’ formula and image. It was… lose-lose situation. So, the terrible thing finished on time and Uruguay won.

The warriors got the cup and the medals – Perdomo and Francescoli as well, no matter they have been red-carded.

Team Uruguay did its round of triumph, looking not happy, but exhausted.
Chile finished second. Forth time second, but once again they were unable to win. Given the poor quality of the final, it is hard to tell how good this vintage was – certainly, there was talent and promise for the future (Ivan Zamorano), but it was not a great squad. Yet, they eliminated Brazil and if anything, at least they did not look weaker than the final winners.
Champions! It depends how one looks at it – on one hand Uruguay defended its 1983 title and equalized Argentina at their own turf: now both countries were the most successful in South America with 9 titles each. Well, wait a minute… that was what some periodicals wrote in Europe at the time. In reality, Uruguay won its 13th title and no longer sharer the record with Argentina, which had won 12th times, lastly in 1959. Let stick to records as established now… Uruguay was number one team in South America and managed to eliminate 1986 World Champions on the way. It was also great to see much criticized and may be to a point improvised squad, led by temporary coach win. On the other hand… nothing so great. The whole championship was a disappointment. In terms of quality of the game, not only nothing new was showed, but it was particularly violent championship even by South American standards. Uruguay was no exception, ending the final with 9 men and red-carded were no others, but the prime stars of the team – ‘Prince’ Francescoli and captain Perdomo. Ugly was ‘old’ Uruguay at the 1986 World Cup and ugly was the new one in 1987. Yes, they were great fighters, very skilled in the art of killing opponents with borderline tackles, which were hard to really call deliberate. Yes, they possessed another great skill: to fight a war without losing their cool, preserving their tactical organization, but the plain fact was Uruguay fought a lot and played very little. It was so much in their blood, that young or old, experienced or not, the Uruguayans player were capable to prevail in such wars and use to their advantage whatever minimal opportunity availed. Thus, they scored and Chile did not – in the 1980s it was already clear that football became a matter of using single opportunity, scoring one goal by hook or crook, and victory was yours. Credit to coach Fleitas and the players for managing to be closely knit collective, to stay focused, to give their best to the very end, but the champions were not a great team. No exciting new name emerged and Franescoli did not shine as he did 4 years earlier. That is the more objective conclusion, but still it was great to see small country coming on top and at least at home it was a moment of triumph.

Copa America 3rd place

The 3rd place match. Argentina – Colombia. This was new, introduced in the new Copa America format in time when 3rd-place games lost their appeal. And even more so in this case, for Argentina lost the big derby and playing for less than the title… well, only 5000 attended, compared to 75 000 in the semi-final against Uruguay.
Even Maradona was unable to get bigger interest and support… and rightly so: Colombia was leading 2-0 by the 28th minute.
There was another hero already – Pibe Valderama.
He was known in South America, of course, but at this tournament the world really ‘discovered’ him – with inevitable mistakes, as the French one here, calling him Delgado and Paraguayan.
Valderama did more than Maradona on top of everything – he could be seen defending at the goal line trying to prevent Caniggia from scoring. Meantime Hiquita did not make stupid mistakes and all Argentine efforts amounted to single goal by Caniggia in the 85th minute. Thus Argentina lost again. Symbolicly, heavy fog fell down in the last minutes, as if to pull curtain down on Argentine shame.
Bilardo constantly talked and warned the public that his team was tired, not ready, had injured players, and whatever else excuses, but it was no good: Argentina was not happy, the country wanted victory and it was greatly humiliated by the Uruguayans. May be Bilardo made a crucial mistake by not calling experimental squad, but he was not such a coach on one hand and on the other – Argentina was hosting Copa America, so nothing by victory counted. At the end – disgrace.
Colombia was more than pleasant surprise: there was talented bunch of young players, coached by equally young Francisco Maturana. They were just emerging, in a building process yet, but pushing ahead. Third place hardly mattered anymore, but it was achievement for them, getting noticed and getting confident. Colombia was pleasant and inventive team, conducted by the elegant and imaginative magician Carlos Valderama.
And at the end he – not Maradona – was named the best player of the championship. Rightly and deserving so.

Copa America 1/2 finals

The semi-finals. Chile – Colombia. Tough match, ending scoreless. Chile prevailed in extra time.
Colombia had chances to score first, but Chile quickly responded.
The game was fairly equal, though.
Seemingly, Chile had more opportunities and may be Valderama did not shine too much, but Colombia missed better scoring chances and just for that perhaps had reasons to be sorrier at the final whistle. In overtime drama unfolded in the unpredictable football way. Colombia got a penalty in the 103rd minute and Bernardo Redin scored it – it looked just result, given the great chances Colombia missed during regular time. A few minutes later Rene Higuita turned around the table, making two big mistakes in the 106th minute and in the 108th minute. Fernando Astengo and Jaime Vera scored for Chile and than Hiquita perhaps killed Colombian last chances with long solo attack, started back in his penalty area and never reaching the Chilean penalty area – attractive and entirely useless effort, born from frustration. It was a pattern of the flamboyant goalkeeper, a very costly pattern. Chile won and reached the final.
Uruguay. As Copa America holders, they entered the tournament only at the semi-finals and it was against the 1986 World Champions Argentina. The South American classic derby.

1- Jorge Fernando Seré Dulcini (Danubio Futbol Club Montevideo)
2- Gonzalo Lizardo Díaz Cúneo (Montevideo Wanderers Football Club)
3- Nelson Daniel Gutiérrez Luongo (Club Atlético River Plate- Buenos Aires / Argentina)
4- Obdulio Eduardo Trasante (Club Atlético Peñarol Montevideo)
5- José Luis Pintos Saldaña (Club Nacional de Football Montevideo)
6- José Enrique Peña (Montevideo Wanderers Football Club)
7- Antonio Alzamendi Casas (Club Atlético River Plate- Buenos Aires / Argentina)
8- Gustavo Matosas Paidón (Club Atlético Peñarol Montevideo)
9 Enrique Raúl Baez (Montevideo Wanderers Football Club)
10- Enzo Françescoli Uriarte (Racing Club de Paris / France)
11- Ruben Sosa Ardaiz (Real Zaragoza / Spain)
12- Eduardo Pereira Martinez (Club Atlético Peñarol Montevideo)
13- Oscar Aguirregaray (Club Atletico Defensor Montevideo)
14- Alfonso Enrique Domínguez Maidana (Club Atlético Peñarol Montevideo)
15- José Batlle Perdomo Texeira (Club Atlético Peñarol Montevideo)
16- Pablo Javier Bengoechea Dutra (Montevideo Wanderers Football Club)
17- Erardo Coccaro (Club Atletico Progreso Montevideo)
18- Mauricio Silvera (Club Nacional de Football Montevideo)
19- Walter Pelletti (Montevideo Wanderers Football Club)
20- Gustavo Dalto (Danubio Futbol Club Montevideo)
21-Eduardo Da Silva Diaz (Club Atlético Peñarol Montevideo)
22- Héctor Tuja (Club Atletico Defensor Montevideo)

Coach: Roberto Fleitas
As reigning South American champions, Uruguay entered the tournament directly at the semi-finals. After the 1986 World Cup Uruguay was going through complete renewal of its team – new coach, new players. Very few of the World Cup squad, which was based on the team winning Copa America in 1983 remained. The mood was not good – Antonio Alzamenfi, one of the few survivors, recalled heavy atmosphere surrounding the team: severe criticism of the team, mostly based on the 1986 World Cup performance and extending to the new team, seen as inferior to the previous one. At the last test before going to Buenos Aires, in which Uruguay played against Argentinos Juniors, the team was loudly booed. It looked like that not only the people were not behind the national team, but actually wanted it to fail. There was also a sense that the general public was more interested in the clubs than in the national team. But Alzamendi was quick to add that the roster was very much together, young players looking up and listening to the few old stars and the moral was high despite criticism. Playing against Argentina boosted moral, as it always did. It was curious situation – as much as the new Uruguayan team was criticized, it was also expected to win; as much as the fans were indifferent, even hostile, they were going to support the team and real would come only if the team lost. To lose was terrible never mind that objectively speaking Argentina hosted the game, her team pretty much intact, and the Uruguayan one at best just starting a rebuilding process. Alzamendi pointed out exactly that the Uruguayan character was such and playing against Argentina was mobilizing force and ‘real players’ will come out against the arch-enemy. In purely sporting matters, Alzamendi and his teammates knew that Argentina was missing half of the regular team, which won the World Cup, Maradona was playing with injury and that of other players were tired after their grueling European season.
Naturally, the semi-final Argentina – Uruguay was the biggest event of the 1987 Copa America. Estadio Monumental was full to the brim – 75 000 attended: not just the most attended at the tournament, but there was no other game coming even remotely close. The final, for example, attracted 55 000 people less!
It was dramatic clash, but was it any good is hard to tell now. Such derbies are tough always.
Certainly there was no mercy, but was it an ugly game? No cards were shown, which tells nothing – it was the 1980s football, short of murder no cards were ever given.
Maradona was denied scoring opportunities even from free kicks.
And if photos suggest Argentine superiority to the points of scoring a goal here, it was not that – with time, Uruguay got the upper hand – at least according to Alzamendi, who counted about 9 Uruguayan better scoring positions. Himself he scored one of those in the 43rd minute. A goal Argentina was unable to return. Argentina was out and no matter what Bilardo was saying well before Copa America started, the result was taken badly – losing to the arch-enemy at home? There is no excuse! Uruguay triumphed and the mood changed instantly as well: a new, inexperienced team just eliminated reigning World champions at their own home, Maradona and all! Following what happened on the pitch – mostly ugly tackles and bloody fouls – the public went into fighting on the stands.

Copa America Group C

Group C. The weakest group – Paraguay, Colombia, and Bolivia. They played in Rosario and nobody was interested… only 8000 attended the group matches, most of them Paraguayans. Attendance was quite low in the whole championship, but the anti-record belonged to this group: only 1000 bothered to watch Colombia – Bolivia.

1-Luis Galarza (Club The Strongest- La Paz)
2 Romer Antonio Roca  (Club Oriente Petrolero- Santa Cruz de la Sierra)
3-Miguel Noro (Club Blooming- Santa Cruz de la Sierra)
4-Felix Vera (Club Jorge Wilstermann- Cochabamba)
5-Rolando Coimbra (Club Blooming- Santa Cruz de la Sierra)
6-Eduardo Villegas (Club The Strongest- La Paz)
7- Marciano Saldias (Club Oriente Petrolero- Santa Cruz de la Sierra)
8-Milton Melgar (Club Atlético Boca Juniors -Buenos Aires / Argentina)
9-Federico Justiniano (Club Destroyers- Santa Cruz de la Sierra)
10-Carlos Borja (Club Bolívar Independiente Unificada-Lapaz)
11-Wilson Avila (Club Oriente Petrolero- Santa Cruz de la Sierra)
12-Marcos Barrero (Club Jorge Wilstermann- Cochabamba)
13 Mauricio Ramos (Florida)
14-Rolly Paniagua (Club Blooming- Santa Cruz de la Sierra)
15-Alvaro Peña (Club Blooming- Santa Cruz de la Sierra)
16-Oscar Ramírez (Club Oriente Petrolero- Santa Cruz de la Sierra)
17 -Víctor Hugo Antelo (Club Oriente Petrolero- Santa Cruz de la Sierra)
18-Carlos Arias (Captain) (Club Bolívar Independiente Unificada-Lapaz)
19-Gaston Taborga (Club Blooming- Santa Cruz de la Sierra)
20 Silvio Rojas (Club Blooming- Santa Cruz de la Sierra)

Coach: Nito Osvaldo Vega (Argentina)
Outsiders nobody worried about – good, bad, it was just their own concern.


1-Rene Higuita (Corporacion Deportiva Club Atletico Nacional- Medellin (Itagüí))
2-Luis Perea (Corporacion Deportiva Independiente Medellín)
3-Nolberto Molina (Corporacion Deportiva Club Atletico Nacional- Medellin (Itagüí))
4-Luis Herrera (Corporacion Deportiva Club Atletico Nacional- Medellin (Itagüí))
5-Carlos Mario Hoyos (Asociacion Deportivo Cali)
6-Ricardo Pérez (Corporacion Deportiva Club Atletico Nacional- Medellin (Itagüí))
7-Anthony De Avila (Corporacion Deportiva America-Cali)
8-Leonel Alvarez (Corporacion Deportiva Independiente Medellín)
9-John Jairo Galeano (Corporacion Deportiva Club Atletico Nacional- Medellin (Itagüí))
10-Carlos Valderrama (Captain) (Asociacion Deportivo Cali)
11-Bernardo Redín (Asociacion Deportivo Cali)
12 Mario Jimenez (Deportes Quindío)
13-John Jairo Tréllez (Corporacion Deportiva Club Atletico Nacional- Medellin (Itagüí))
14-Alexis Mendoza (Corporacion Popular Deportiva Junior- Barranquilla)
15-Sergio Angulo (Asociacion Deportivo Cali)
16-Jorge Porras (Corporacion Deportiva America-Cali)
17-Mario Coll (Corporacion Popular Deportiva Junior- Barranquilla)
18-Gabriel Jaime Gómez (Club Deportivo Los Millonarios- Santafé de Bogotá)
19-Arnoldo Iguarán (Club Deportivo Los Millonarios- Santafé de Bogotá)
20-Alexander Escobar (Corporacion Deportiva America-Cali)

Coach: Francisco Maturana
Now, Colombia had some already noticed young stars – Valderama and Higuita – but tradition worked against them: not among the favourites.

1-Roberto Fernández (Asociacion Deportivo Cali / Colombia)
2- Juan Bautista Torales (Club Libertad- Asunción)
3-Rogelio Delgado (Club Olimpia- Asunción)
4-Justo Jacquet (Club Cerro Porteño- Asunción)
5-Cesar Zabala (Club Cerro Porteño- Asunción)
6- Jorge Guasch (Club Olimpia- Asunción)
7- Julio Cesar ‘Romerito’ Romero (Fluminense Football Club- Rio de Janeiro / Brazil)
8-Gustavo Adolfo Benitez (Club Olimpia- Asunción)
9- Roberto Cabaňas (Corporacion Deportiva America-Cali / Colombia)
10-Adolfino Cañete (Asociacion Deportiva Union Magdalena – Santa Marta / Colombia)
11- Ramon Angel Hicks (Centre D’Esports Sabadell Fútbol Club / Spain)
12- Raúl Navarro (Nacional)
13- Virginio Caceres (Club Guaraní- Asunción)
14- Librado Rodriguez (Atlético Colegiales)
15 -Marcelino Blanco (Sol de América)
16- Ramon Eurelio Palacios (Club Libertad- Asunción)
17-Buenaventura Ferreira (Club Guaraní- Asunción)
18-Felix Torres (Club Sol de América- Asunción)
19-Gabriel González (Club Cerro Porteño- Asunción)
20-Jorge Nunes (Club Olimpia- Asunción)
21- Rafael Bobadilla (Club Deportivo Los Millonarios- Santafé de Bogotá / Colombia)
22- Carlos Colarte (Sol de América)

Coach: Silvio Parodi
With memories not so bad from the 1986 World Cup and led by Romero and Cabanas, Paraguay was the likeliest winner of the group, but the team was getting old and without strong younger generation.

In front of 2000 Paraguay and Bolivia finished 0-0.
Bolivia finished the tournament as expected: Colombia beat them 2-0 – only 1000 attended. Three players were red-carded. Suddenly Paraguay had to win by 3 goals in order to qualify, but the aging team was unpleasantly surprised.
Paraguayan efforts were fruitless.

‘Pibe’ Valderama shined.
Arnaldo Iguaran scored a hat-trick. In the 50th minute the game was over, Paraguay was eliminated and Colombia was the pleasant surprise of the championship already.
1. Colombia 2 0 0 5-0 4
2. Bolivia 0 1 1 0-2 1
3. Paraguay 0 1 1 0-3 1

Copa America Group B

Group B. Brazil, Venezuela and Chile played in Cordoba.

1-Cesar Baena (Caracas Fútbol Club)
2-Rene Torres (Estudiantes de Mérida Fútbol Club)
3-Julio Quintero (Portuguesa Fútbol Club -Acarigua)
4-Pedro Acosta (Sport Marítimo -Caracas)
5-Hector Rivas (Sport Marítimo -Caracas)
6-Jose Nieto (Unión Atlético Táchira -San Cristóbal)
7-Franco Rizzi (Sport Marítimo -Caracas)
8-Nelson Carrero (Sport Marítimo -Caracas)
9-Hebert Márquez (Sport Marítimo -Caracas)
10 Carlos Maldonado (Unión Atlético Táchira -San Cristóbal)
11-Wilson Arreaza (Caracas Fútbol Club)
12-Daniel Nikolac (Sport Marítimo -Caracas)
13-Ildemano Fernández (Estudiantes de Mérida Fútbol Club)
14- Iván Isea (Sport Marítimo -Caracas)
15-Zdenko Morovic (Sport Marítimo -Caracas)
16-Pablo Mendoza (Deportivo Italia-Caracas)
17- Robert Ellie  (Caracas Fútbol Club)
18-Asdrubal Sánchez (Estudiantes de Mérida Fútbol Club)
19 -Angel Castillo (Deportivo Italia-Caracas)
20-William Méndez (Unión Atlético Táchira -San Cristóbal)
21 -Gerardo Ferrebus (Caracas Fútbol Club)
22 -Rodolfo Carvajal (Estudiantes de Mérida Fútbol Club)

Coach: Rafael Santana (Spain)
The pariahs of South America. Unknown team coached by an European and that was all to be said.

1- Roberto Antonio Rojas (captain) (Club Social y Deportivo Colo Colo-Santiago)
2- Patricio Reyes  (Corporación de Fútbol Profesional Universidad de Chile-Santiago)
3- Ricardo Toro (Club Deportivo Palestino-Santiago)
4-Orlando Hormazábal (Club Social y Deportivo Colo Colo-Santiago)
5- Luis Abdón Roodriguez (Corporación de Fútbol Profesional Universidad de Chile-Santiago)
6-Jaime Pizarro (Club Social y Deportivo Colo Colo-Santiago)
7- Ivo Basay (Corporación Deportiva Everton -Viña del Mar)
8-Eduardo Hernán Gómez (Club de Deportes Cobreloa –Calama)
9-Juan Carlos Letelier (Club de Deportes Cobreloa –Calama)
10-Jorge Contreras (Union Deportivo Las Palmas / Spain)
11-Fernando Astengo (Grêmio Foot-Ball Porto Alegrense / Brazil)
12- Marco Antonio Cornez (Corporación de Fútbol Profesional Universidad de Chile-Santiago)
13-JaimeVera (Club Social y Deportivo Colo Colo-Santiago)
14-Ruben Espinoza (Club Deportivo Universidad Católica-Santiago)
15- Osvaldo Heriberto Hurtado (Club Deportivo Universidad Católica-Santiago)
16-Ivan Zamorano (Club de Deportes Cobresal -El Salvador)
17-Sergio Salgado (Club de Deportes Cobresal -El Salvador)
18-Patricio Mardónez (Club Deportivo Universidad Católica-Santiago)
19-Patricio Martínez (Club Deportivo Universidad Católica-Santiago)
20-Héctor Puebla (Club de Deportes Cobreloa –Calama)
21-Hugo Rubio (Club Social y Deportivo Colo Colo-Santiago)
22- Mario Ignacio Osben (Club de Deportes Cobreloa –Calama)

Coach: Orlando Aravena
Improving squad, but coming out of considerable slump. Ivan Zamorano was in the team – a testimony of new talent, but he was still too young, only a talented reserve and appeared once as a substitute for 10 minutes.

1-‘Carlos’ Roberto Gallo (Sport Club Corinthians Paulista- São Paulo)
2-‘Josimar’ Higinio Pereira  (Botafogo de Futebol e Regatas- Rio de Janeiro)
3-’Geraldão’ Dutra Pereira (Cruzeiro Esporte Clube- Belo Horizonte)
4-Ricardo Roberto Barreto da Rocha ‘Ricardo Rocha’ (Guarani Futebol Clube)
5- William Douglas Humia Menezes ‘Douglas’ (Cruzeiro Esporte Clube- Belo Horizonte)
6- Nelson Luis Kerchner ‘Nelsinho’ (São Paulo Futebol Clube- São Paulo)
7- Luís Antônio Corrêa da Costa ‘Müller’  (São Paulo Futebol Clube- São Paulo)
8-‘Raí’ Souza Vieira de Oliveira (Botafogo Futebol Clube- Ribeirão Preto – São Paulo)
9- Antônio de Oliveira Filho ‘Careca’ (Captain) (Societa Sportiva Calcio Napoli / Italy)
10- Carlos Eduardo ‘Edu Marangon’ (Associação Portuguesa de Desportos – São Paulo)
11-’Valdo’ Cândido Filho  (Grêmio Foot-Ball Porto Alegrense)
12- José Carlos Da Costa ‘Ze Carlos’   (Clube de Regatas Flamengo- Rio de Janeiro)
13- Jorge de Amorim Campos  ‘Jorginho’ (Clube de Regatas Flamengo- Rio de Janeiro)
14- ‘Ricardo’ Raimundo Gomes (Fluminense Football Club- Rio de Janeiro)
15-’Júlio César’ da Silva  (Montpellier-Herault Sports Club / France)
16- Carlos Caetano Bledorn Verri  ‘Dunga’ (Club de Regatas Vasco da Gama – Rio de Janeiro)
17- Eduardo Antonio dos Santos ’Edu Manga’ (Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras- São Paulo)
18- Paulo ‘Silas’ do Prado Pereira (São Paulo Futebol Clube- São Paulo)
19-‘Romário’ de Souza Faria (Club de Regatas Vasco da Gama – Rio de Janeiro)
20- Francisco Ernandi Lima da Silva ’Mirandinha’  (Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras- São Paulo) and recently trasnsfered to Newcastle United Football Club / England)
21- Sergio Donizeti Luiz ‘João Paulo’  (Guarani Futebol Clube)
22- Reginaldo Paes Leme Ferreira ‘Regis’ (Club de Regatas Vasco da Gama – Rio de Janeiro)

Coach: Carlos Alberto Silva
Transitional team, certainly. Carlos Alberto Silva was only provisional coach. The famous veterans were out, replaced by young players, but it was still very early stage of the new cycle. Romario, Dunga, Rai were included, but perhaps Mirandinha was considered the next big star – he was just transferred to Newcastle United. The newcomers were only a potential and since Carlos Alberto was the Olympic team coach, the youngsters seemingly were included largely to test and toughened them for the 1988 Olympic games – the key players of the national team were solid stars like Careca, now made the team captain. However, the new Brazil toured Europe recently and left very positive impression. Naturally, a favourite.
Brazil – Venezuela.
Predictably, Venezuela was no match and Brazil dominated.
The difference of class was too big, no matter what the Venezuelans tried.

Muller either disappointed or there was no need to keep him playing the whole game – Romario replaced him in the 66th minute.
It was just Brazil and at the end the result was 5-0. No Brazilian scored more than one goal, but Careca scored, Romario scored, and even Venezuela scored a goal – unfortunately, Zdenko Morovic contributed to the big loss scoring in his own net.
Chile – Venezuela.
Venezuela was expected to lose and it did. This time they scored in the net of the opposition, not in their own, but that was all. In the 24th minute Pedro Acosta equalized from a penalty and Venezuela preserved the tie until the 70th minute. Then Chile scored its second goal and ten minutes later made it 3-1. Two players were red-carded.
Brazil -Chile.

Brazil was the favourite and at least photos show superiority and artistic one at that.
That seems just right – Brazil scoring. But it is a save…
Photos are misleading – it was not Brazil scoring, but Chile. First Ivo Basay gave Chile the lead and the first half ended with that. In the second half Chile scored 3 more goals – Basay scored his second and Juan Carlos Letelier scored twice as well. Brazil… scored a red card. Nelsinho was out of the match in the 57th minute. It was huge surprise – it was only the second victory of Chile against Brazil in the history of Copa America and the first one was in the long gone 1956. Brazil did not lose a game by 4 goals in Copa America since 1917. There was quite a lot to consider and reconsider about the future of the Brazilian team and in the same time Chile suddenly appeared to be a new mighty jewel. Basay was instant hero and Ivan Zamorano played his 10 minutes in the tournament replacing Basay – Chile looked bigger than they were: consider the cheek – substituting the great star with unknown youngster and that against Brazil!
1. Chile 2 0 0 7-1 4
2. Brazil 1 0 1 5-4 2
3. Venezuela 0 0 2 1-8 0

Copa America Group A

Copa America. The 33rd Copa America was dubbed ‘reconquest’ of the tournament – for the first time in decades it was played in its original format: in one country. It was a big effort to boost the tournament into bigger and commercially successful event, so it was to be televised in other continents for the first time and the time-frame and organization, akin to the World Cup and European finals, would be more attractive to fans at large.
Mascot was introduced at this tournament: Gardelito. The symbol of tango, Carlos Gardel, was used, unifying tango with football, a nice touch. However, the South American predicament did not leave much room for maneuvering: the only real change was making participation mandatory. But the structure was the same and there was no other realistic option – there were still 3 groups of 3 teams each and current Copa America holders directly qualified to the semi-finals along with the group winners. The tournament was played in June and July – in the middle of South American winter, which may have been convenient for TV and foreign-based clubs, but in Argentina it was to be cold, rainy, and muddy. Three cities were designated to host the tournament: Group A in Buenos Aires, Group B in Rosario, and Group C in Cordoba. Cordoba was hosting one of the semi-finals, Buenos Aires the other, and the final was to be played in Buenos Aires. Anyhow, that was not all – Copa America had its own logic, a bit mystifying one. Often teams were made of youngish players, some stars did not participate at all, there was a sense of experimenting and most often the tournament really signaled the beginning of new cycle for a national team. This issue was no exception.
Group A. Argentina, Peru, and Ecuador. The hosts – current World champions – were naturally the favourites.

1-Raul Roque Alfaro (Club Atlético River Plate- Buenos Aires)
2-Sergio Daniel Batista (Asociacion Atletica Argentinos Juniors- Buenos Aires)
3-Claudio Paul Caniggia (Club Atlético River Plate- Buenos Aires)
4- Oscar Alberto Dertycia (Instituto Córdoba)
5-Jose Luis Brown (Brest Armorique Football Club / France)
6-Hernan Edgardo Diaz (Club Atlético Rosario Central-Rosario)
7 -Juan Gilberto Funes (Club Atlético River Plate- Buenos Aires)
8- Oscar Román Acosta (Ferro Carril Oeste)
9-José Luis Cuciuffo (Club Atlético Vélez Sársfield -Buenos Aires)
10- Diego Armando Maradona (captain) (Societa Sportiva Calcio Napoli  / Italy)
11-Jose Alberto Percudani (Club Atlético Independiente Avellaneda)
12-Dario Andres Sivisky (Club Atlético San Lorenzo de Almagro- Buenos Aires)
13- Oscar Alfredo Garre (Ferro Carril Oeste)
14-Ricardo Omar Giusti (Club Atlético Independiente Avellaneda)
15-Luis Alberto Islas (Club Atlético Independiente Avellaneda) (goalkeeper)
16-Julio Jorge Olarticoechea (Asociacion Atletica Argentinos Juniors- Buenos Aires)
17 Pedro Pablo Pasculli (US Lecce / Italy)
18- Sergio Javier Goycoechea (Club Atlético River Plate- Buenos Aires) (goalkeeper)
19-Oscar Alfredo Ruggeri (Club Atlético River Plate- Buenos Aires)
20-Carlos Daniel Tapia (Club Atlético Boca Juniors -Buenos Aires)
21-Jorge Walter Theiller (Newell’s Old Boys)
22- Jorge Osvaldo Bartero (Club Atlético Vélez Sársfield -Buenos Aires)

Coach: Carlos Salvador Bilardo
Bilardo was not optimistic and tried to damp high expectations: he warned his team was only half-ready, players were missing, some were not fully recovered from injuries, they were tired from their tough seasons, especially the European-based, and he wanted to try some new players in view of 1990 World Cup. What he was not saying was that perhaps neither he, nor his team was taking Copa America very seriously after winning the World Cup and generally lacked motivation. Maradona was coming to play – and he was the big advertisement banner of the tournament – but he was not in great shape and not fully healthy after an injury. Some key players were unable to participate because of injuries (Valdano, Burruchaga, Enrique, Pumpido), some were not released by their clubs (Pasculli and Borghi, whose case was almost ironic: Milan did not let him go because of the so-called Club Mundialito – an unofficial summer tournament invented in Italy, which never fulfilled its original expectations and was at its last issue. Milan did not use Borghi in official games, but now… crucially important for some friendlies. Pasculli was not released by Lecce, but Bilardo kept him in the roster and did not call replacement.) As for new blood – the real young additions in view of still distant future were Caniggia, Dertycia, and to a point Percudani. It was a team neither here, nor there – not really experimental, yet, not not the regular Bilardo’s team. No matter what was said, Bilardo was not a coach given to experiments and big changes: he preferred older, experienced, and well known to him players. The result was quite an illusion: the squad was practically made of the World champions, thus looked formidable and Bilardo could hardly convince anybody that he was looking for the future and because of that, current results would not matter. Effectively, only Caniggia and Percudani played of the youngsters.

1- César Chavez (Club Universitario de Deportes-Lima) (goalkeeper)
2-Percy Olivares (Club Sporting Cristal-Lima)
3- Martín Duffoo (Juventud La Palma)
4-Leonardo Rojas (Club Universitario de Deportes-Lima)
5-Pedro Requena (Club Universitario de Deportes-Lima)
6-Javier Chirinos (Club Universitario de Deportes-Lima)
7-Cesar Loyola (Club Sporting Cristal-Lima)
8-Eduardo Malasquez (Club Universitario de Deportes-Lima)
9-Franco Enrique Navarro (Club Atlético Independiente Avellaneda / Argentina)
10-Julio Cesar Uribe (Corporacion Deportiva America-Cali / Colombia)
11-Jorge Hirano (Club Bolívar Independiente Unificada-Lapaz / Bolivia)
12-Jose González Ganoza (Club Alianza Lima) (goalkeeper)
13 Jorge Arteaga (Club Sporting Cristal-Lima)
14 Juan Reynoso (Club Alianza Lima)
15 Jorge Cordero (Unión Huaral)
16-Jorge Olaechea (Asociacion Deportivo Cali / Colombia)
17-Luis Reyna (Club Universitario de Deportes-Lima)
18-Cedric Vázquez (Deportivo San Agustin)
19-Eugenio La Rosa (Asociacion Atletica Argentinos Juniors- Buenos Aires / Argentina)
20-Roberto Martínez (Deportivo San Agustin)
21-Jose Del Solar (Deportivo San Agustin)
22- José Anselmo Soto (UT Cajamarca)

Coach: Fernando Cuéllar
Clearly, there were no stars of the class of Chumpitaz, Cubbillas, Sotil, and the Peruvians knew it. It was inferior team to the golden generation of the 1979s, an objective reality and thus the main effort was to combine decent squad. There were classy players – Uribe, Oblitas, La Rosa – but not enough.

1-Hector Chiriboga (LDU (Liga Deportiva Universitaria) de Quito) (goalkeeper)
2-Luis Mosquera (Club Deportivo El Nacional- Quito)
3-Kléber Fajardo (Club Sport Emelec- Guayaquil)
4-Wilson Macías (Club Deportivo Filanbanco -Guayaquil)
5 Edgar Germán Dominguez (Club Deportivo Filanbanco -Guayaquil)
6-Luis Enrique Capurro (Club Deportivo Filanbanco -Guayaquil)
7-Fernando Baldeón (Club Deportivo El Nacional- Quito)
8-Alex Darío Aguinaga (Sociedad Deportivo Quito)
9-Lupo Senen Quiñónez (Barcelona Sporting Club- Guayaquil)
10-Hamilton Emilio Cuvi (Club Deportivo Filanbanco -Guayaquil)
11-Geovanny Mera (Club Deportivo El Nacional- Quito)
12-Carlos Luis Morales (Barcelona Sporting Club- Guayaquil) (goalkeeper)
13-Pablo Esteban Marín (Club Deportivo Cuenca)
14-Ney Raul Avilés (Club Sport Emelec- Guayaquil)
15- Urlín Canga Quintero (Club Sport Emelec- Guayaquil)
16- Juan Carlos Jacome  (LDU (Liga Deportiva Universitaria) de Quito)
17- Pietro Raúl Marsetti  (LDU (Liga Deportiva Universitaria) de Quito)
18-Galo Fidean Vasquez (Barcelona Sporting Club- Guayaquil)
19-Jose Jacinto Vega (Barcelona Sporting Club- Guayaquil)
20 Carlos Milton Enriquez  (Sociedad Deportivo Quito)

Coach: Luis Grimaldi (Uruguay)
Modest team, as usual.
Argentina – Peru. It set the the painfully familiar tenor of the tournament: tough clashes, ugly tackles, little football.
Violence took place quickly.
Well, it was the football of the 1980s with additional South American touch.
It was hard to imagine not only somebody prevailing, but imagining football played – it was more rugby.
Dramatic, surely, but perhaps more on still photos than in the real moving game. Uribe and Batista were red-carded in a matter of five minutes time. Maradona opened the result in the 47th minute, but Reyna equalized 10 minutes later and that was that: Argentina 1 – Peru 1.
Argentina – Ecuador. Ecuador was too weak for Argentina, but still the World champions had trouble and secured victory only in the second half.
Conditions were not helpful either – it was very wet pitch.
All ended well – Caniggia, so far coming as a substitute, opened the result in the 50th minute and later Maradona scored 2 more goals, the first from a penalty. 3-0 and Argentina very likely reached the semi-finals.
Peru – Ecuador. Little could be said about this fixture…
It was still more battle than anything – Vazquez (Peru) was sent off in the 83rd minute and by that time Ecuador was leading 1-0. La Rosa finally equalized in the 87 minute and that was it – both team going home after 1-1.
1. Argentina 1 1 0 4-1 3
2. Peru 0 2 0 2-2 2
3. Ecuador 0 1 1 1-4 1


The big event of the year was the 33rd issue of Copa America.
It was a return to abandoned format in new way – a sign of the increasing commercialization of the sport, but also modernization and reaching new audience: for the first time Copa America was televised to Europe and North America. In purely football terms… nothing new and little excitement. If that was the highest point of the year, the lowest was also in South America and tragic one at that: the death of the whole Alianza (Lima) team in airplane crash.


Debut. Sotil’s unhappy story ended in 1986 and in the same year started another story with unhappy end. Again, bright beginning – Andres Escobar Saldarriaga debuted this year for Atletico Nacional.
Like Sotil, Escobar debuted at 19 and immediately was noticed. Like Sotil, he quickly became national team player. Like Sotil, the newcomer was blessed with good teammates – one of them the flamboyant goalkeeper Rene Hiquita, already known to the world. Only Sotil was a striker and the Colombian – central defender.
Escobar was unusual case not only for South America – he did not come from the working class, but from the middle class – and not just from middle class, but form upper middle class: his father was banker. The son was highly educated as well and technically did not need to play professional football, having much better options with other professions. But football is football and even father Darrio Escobar was not immune to its charms: he founded organization giving young boys the opportunity to play football instead of living on the streets and had no objections to his own sons becoming professional players. Which they did and Andres and Santiago played together for Atletico Nacional. This was not the best time in Colombia and particularly in the city of Medellin – it was the time of the drug cartels and political violence, a time of practically civil war and general violence and lawlessness. In terms of football, it was the time Colombia was blessed with talented generation of players, gradually lifting up Colombian football from its relative obscurity. Escobar was not only part of the improvement, but unusual part too: in the brutal football practiced in the 1980s and the general brutality of Colombian life in the same decade, he was rather odd – he played clean football, eventually earning the nickname El Caballero del Futbol (The Gentleman of Football) and he was tireless advocate of good causes and things Colombian. As far as it is known, Escobar had nothing to do with corrupt practices and drug cartels – staying clean in such atmosphere was really a heroic task, may be possible only because of Escobar’s family background: he did not need money from playing football, he had other options in life, unlike the typical professional footballer coming from poverty. Plenty of talent too, so Andres Escobar quickly established himself – practically in his very first season and by 1988 he was playing for the national team as well. Bright talent and positive example as well – and all that came to end in most gruesome way on July 1, 1994. But that is still far ahead in the future – in 1986 a new star emerged, something to enjoy.