Argentina – World Cup preparations

Preview

What was the status of the reigning World Cup champions early autumn 1988?

Graced by the best footballer in the world, national coach Carlos Bilardo stayed close to the idea of building a strong unit around Diego Maradona. Bilardo had a primarily defensive philosophy, and had been successful in forging a team that gave maximum freedom to the genius of Maradona. With the latter consolidating his position in world football since 1986, Argentina looked like a solid contender for the title in Italia'90.

Since the triumph in Mexico in 1986, Argentina had however also experienced heartbreak as they finished the Copa América in 1987 on home soil in a disappointing fashion, crashing out 1-0 to Uruguay in the semi-finals. Bilardo's team eventually finished 4th in that competition. Friendly results in 1988 had so far not suggested much improvement either.

In the following, we describe and analyse the performances of Argentina's national team in the period autumn 1988 – end of 1989, which, in lieu of qualifiers, were limited to friendlies and the Copa América.

Match reports and analyses

Friendly
12.10.1988: Spain 1-1 Argentina
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Friendly
09.03.1989: Colombia 1-0 Argentina
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Friendly
13.04.1989: Ecuador 2-2 Argentina
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Friendly
20.04.1989: Chile 1-1 Argentina
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Copa América

02.07.1989: Argentina 1-0 Chile (played in Goiânia, Brazil)
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04.07.1989: Argentina 0-0 Ecuador (played in Goiânia, Brazil)
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08.07.1989: Argentina 1-0 Uruguay (played in Goiânia, Brazil)
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10.07.1989: Argentina 0-0 Bolivia (played in Goiânia, Brazil)
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12.07.1989: Brazil 2-0 Argentina (played in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
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14.07.1989: Argentina 0-2 Uruguay (played in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
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16.07.1989: Argentina 0-0 Paraguay (played in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
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Friendly
21.12.1989: Italy 0-0 Argentina
Line-up (3-5-2): Pumpido - Ruggeri, Simón, Monzón - Giusti, Basualdo (Troglio 40), Batista, Burruchaga, Olarticoechea - Maradona (c), Dezotti (Caniggia 70)
Stale mate in a game where battles were rife and chances at a minimum

Friendly
17.01.1990: Argentina 0-2 Mexico (neutral ground in Los Angeles, USA)
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Friendly
28.03.1990: Scotland 1-0 Argentina
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Friendly
03.05.1990: Austria 1-1 Argentina
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Friendly
08.05.1990: Switzerland 1-1 Argentina
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Friendly:
22.05.1990: Israel 1-2 Argentina
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