Top 10 Greatest World Cup Performances of All Time

Discussion in 'The Beautiful Game' started by Bavarian14, Jul 26, 2018.

  1. Bavarian14

    Bavarian14 Member

    Bayern München
    Jun 1, 2017
    Nat'l Team:
    India
    Name them.

    Please note that this is overall world cup performance not a single match
     
  2. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Club:
    Nottingham Forest FC
    My view is buried somewhere on the Messi 14 vs Maradona 86 thread I think!

    But given 1958 is hard to assess well, with limited full game footage and player highlights, I'd probably go with 7 definites and then 10 options to pick the other 3 from (but putting Pele 1958 in as a definite anyway).

    Definite choices (in chronological order):
    Pele 1958
    Garrincha 1962
    Eusebio 1966
    Jairzinho 1970
    Pele 1970
    Johan Cruyff 1974
    Diego Maradona 1986

    Possible choices (ditto):
    Didi 1958
    Just Fontaine 1958
    Raymond Kopa 1958

    Franz Beckenbauer 1966
    Bobby Moore 1966
    Mario Kempes 1978
    Roberto Baggio 1994
    Gheorghe Hagi 1994
    Romario 1994
    Zinedine Zidane 2006

    I've bolded the 3 I tend to think I might include.
     
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  3. Sexy Beast

    Sexy Beast Member

    Dinamo Zagreb
    Croatia
    Aug 11, 2016
    Zagreb
    Club:
    --other--
    Nat'l Team:
    Croatia
    It's a suspicious list when majority candidates occupy the same 20 years period. In theory, it should be much more spreaded, dont you think? What do you think why that's not the case?
     
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  4. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Club:
    Nottingham Forest FC
    It's a fair question.

    Theory A would say nostalgia I guess lol (either for the old World Cups, or even alternatively in the rating of players in general).

    But Theory B would say the best players of more modern times did not quite bring their best to a World Cup. Ronaldo was injured a bit even going into the 1998 WC I think, and ended it playing the Final after his 'episode'. Maybe I still think he can be deemd the best player that year, but it was not as might have been expected based on 1997/98 at Inter Milan (or 1966/97 at Barcelona). Bergkamp was a bit interrupted by carrying an injury into the WC that year too, and Zidane got himself sent off in an early game. Del Piero is another example. Then there is Ronaldinho and Kaka in 2006, and in 2014 Messi has been much discussed but it was not prime Messi in every respect most agree. And there is also the probability (even with more teams involved and more 'easy' games in theory) that unlike at club level, it is now harder to shine at World Cup and International level than previously. Maybe that should be factored in, but still hard to say recent individual World Cups are among the most impressive ever I think. Although Hazard or Mbappe showed signs of being worthy of being in the mix this year, if they'd played as well in every game as they did in their best ones, so it's feasible it can happen soon again I think.

    Pre 1958 is hard to analyse but nothing absolutely jumps out regarding individual claims I think, even judging by what is written and allowing for era-adjustment. I'm not sure Giussepe Meazza quite matched his best form overall for example. Ademir in 1950? maybe it's possible but would be speculation on my part I guess.
     
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  5. Sexy Beast

    Sexy Beast Member

    Dinamo Zagreb
    Croatia
    Aug 11, 2016
    Zagreb
    Club:
    --other--
    Nat'l Team:
    Croatia
    If i may propose 3rd hypothesis:

    It was easier to influence a game before as an individual, they stood out much more opposed to current era where there is a huge emphasis on a team and its team spirit.
    That aligns with my belief that football evolved over years.

    As of lack of pre 58 players i am not sure how to explain that, it can be simply down to your preferences.
    What about Puskas 54?

    I also think that, to some extand, there is some truth in both of yours theories.
     
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  6. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Club:
    Nottingham Forest FC
    Sure, yeah, that can come into the equation, and like I say unlike at club level (where there are opposing factors that might more than compensate if looking at the output of players playing for top clubs for example) I do think at International level, especially in tournaments that it's reasonable to think about that.

    1954 is even a bit harder to analyse than 1958 (but 1958 does seem to have a few stand-out candidates anyway), but I tend to think that although goal stats don't tell the full story, Sandor Kocsis might be more in the equation than Puskas overall, but the Hungarians were the stand-out team in general anyway. Juan Schiaffino was said to have played very well for Uruguay, and from the winning team from Germany Walter and Rahn could have their claims I guess. Maybe if I could see a few 'Sandor Kocsis vs' videos from that World Cup I'd have a better idea on how close I might consider him to be (for the latter stages at least there are such videos for Kopa/Fontaine/Didi/Pele from 1958, but the narrative from the time speaks for their cases too I think - sometimes a few very good candidates can emerge from the same World Cup and I'm seeing 1966 and to an extent 1994 a bit like that too of course).
     
  7. Edhardy

    Edhardy Member+

    Sep 4, 2013
    Nairobi, Kenya
    Club:
    Juventus FC
    I have a few questions.
    1) Is it really possible that in the 5 world cups that have been played in this century so far there's been only one candidate?
    2) If Zidane in 2006 is there, shouldn't Pirlo and Cannavaro who were arguably better also be there?
    3) Messi was not at his best in 2014, and that's a fair point, was Pele? Still on Pele, was he at his best in '58? He missed the group stages (played one match, I think) and his best match was against a 10 man France following an injury, back when substitutions were not allowed, no? And was he better than or more influential than Didi in '58

    My definites

    Garrincha '62
    Cruyff '74
    Maradona '86

    After that it gets very marginal IMO, I'd agree with most of your choices and add
    Rivaldo, Kahn, Ronaldo '02
    Pirlo, Cannavaro '06
    Messi, James, Robben '14
    Modric, Hazard '18

    As honourable mentions from this millennium.
     
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  8. Bavarian14

    Bavarian14 Member

    Bayern München
    Jun 1, 2017
    Nat'l Team:
    India
    "The greatest Brazil team of all-time was the one in 1970, with Tostao, Rivellino, Gerson and Pele all wearing the number 10 shirts for their clubs. In the 1970 World Cup we spent more than six months together. That's why it worked."
    - Pele said in a recent interview

    Players nowadays hardly get 1 month to prepare for the World Cup
     
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  9. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Club:
    Nottingham Forest FC
    I think it's feasible for only one top 10 candidate (although I named 17 players in all I know) yeah, given the things I said about the best players not shining as much as feasibly they could have based on club form.

    I know the Zidane mention would be an arguable one, and there is debate (like with Messi 2014) about if he was really the best player that year overall. But I guess I'd see Pirlo for example as more among the field of players who did really well in a World Cup myself, as opposed to a main candidate for top 10. I know his role might go under the radar a bit more (and certainly not show on the basic stats sheet as much) compared to a Jairzinho, but I don't know whether I'd think of his 2006 WC as being above say Giresse from 1982 or Neeskens from 1974 so if I don't include them then I don't really make the case to myself to include him either if you know what I mean.

    It'd help to see Pele's full games vs USSR and Wales but he did have impressive and key moments to assist and score crucial goals in those games, and I think his semi-final performance was indeed a great, if a little bit inconsistent, one, and it's impressive what he did in the Final itself too. I think performing like that in the final games always counts for a lot more than in the earlier games anyway though (not to say I think Messi played as well in the earlier games, even accounting for the point Sexy Beast made about difficulty in standing out so much).

    I don't think your calls are unreasonable in terms of not being far away, but then like I say I'd be adding more from earlier years too. Ronaldo from 2002 seems a particularly close call for me though probably, even though it wasn't him at his absolute best either that time for obvious reasons and the Castrol stats rating seemed to give a very generous result for him probably (but maybe reflected his good efficiency despite the odd missed chance including in the Final). We'll never know how James would have done if Colombia had got to the semis I suppose, but he had scope to improve his World Cup even further.
     
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  10. msioux75

    msioux75 Member+

    Jan 8, 2006
    Lima, Peru
    Some mentions by WCs

    1930 - Nasazzi, Stábile, Castro (I guess Nasazzi saw few action in most games, so maybe G.Stábile gets 1st place, even he didn't played well at the final)

    1934 - Meazza, Monti, Nejedly, Orsi (maybe any of the italians. Probably Planicka and not Zamora, due to the amount of matches)

    1938 - Leonidas, Piola, Sarosi, Foni (I think the clear 1st place was Leonidas)

    1950 - Zizinho, Ademir, Schiaffino, Ghighia, Varela (many good performances, also Basora, Ramallets)

    1954 - Kocsis, F.Walter, Rahn, Hidegkuti, Schiaffino (another strong tournament with good performances)

    1958 - Didi, Kopa, Fontaine, Pelé, Garrincha (another strong WC)

    1962 - Garrincha, Masopust, Sánchez (first clear candidate)

    1966 - Eusebio, Moore, B.Charlton, Beckenbauer

    Interesting resume from 1970-2010
    http://www.bigsoccer.com/threads/top-5-individual-performance-in-wc-history.857945/page-27


    My definite choices (chronological):
    Garrincha 1962
    Cruijff 1974
    Maradona 1986

    Candidates (chronological):
    Leonidas 1938
    Ademir 1950
    Kocsis 1954
    Didi 1958
    Pele 1958
    Eusebio 1966
    Jairzinho 1970
    Beckenbauer 1974
    Falcao 1982
    Thuram 1998
    Cannavaro 2006
    Forlán 2010
     
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  11. Sexy Beast

    Sexy Beast Member

    Dinamo Zagreb
    Croatia
    Aug 11, 2016
    Zagreb
    Club:
    --other--
    Nat'l Team:
    Croatia
    What am i missing about Rossi 82, why not HM?
     
  12. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Club:
    Nottingham Forest FC
    Speaking for myself only, I wasn't really naming HMs originally, but possible top 10 candidates (given how close the calls might be, and especially because 1958 is a bit uncertain).

    If I'd started naming HMs then yes Rossi 1982 might have come to mind, as a similar sort of call to Ronaldo (either in 1998 or in 2002) from my perspective. And for all World Cups combined, I'd think of him among the players in a top 20 list certainly, given his play and impact in 1978 too (actually a bit more involved and mobile, and helpful re: team play and setting up goals, compared to 1982). In 1982 he obviously was key vs Brazil and generally did well in the second half of his World Cup, but he did have a slow and not impressive start (it could be said Roberto Baggio had somewhat of a similar pattern in 1994 though I know, but I feel he did a bit more individually in scoring his goals for example, quality wise).
     
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  13. msioux75

    msioux75 Member+

    Jan 8, 2006
    Lima, Peru
    As @PDG1978 said, Rossi was decent only at Group Phase and then great from KO rounds.

    Similar pattern had Baggio-94, Kempes-78, Zidane-98.

    A contrary pattern: from more to less. Messi-14, Cubillas-78, Maradona-82
     
  14. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    First of all, good list by PDG (better than others outside this thread, which I'll not name).

    Research shows that the 1966 and 1970 World Cups (I guess this is also true for 1958 and 1954 in particular) were way more open than everything that came after.

    More shots, way more long distance shots, more dribbles from deep positions (since even the best have a 1/4 fail rate, it's risky). Also a higher goals per game.

    The heat and humidity of 1982 and 1986 was also conducive to some attacking play, esp. in midfield.


    Secondly, let's deconstruct some of those.

    Pele 1958: Edhardy already said something about it. Furthermore, e.g. Sweden, Soviet Union and England played with significantly weakened teams.

    Didi 1958: how does he compare against Xavi or Pirlo?

    Kopa 1958: until the semi final Brazil match he had an easy route and was least impressive (and not productive) against Yugoslavia, the strongest opponent he played until Brazil.

    Garrincha 1962: incredibly wasteful, with zero playing intelligence. The 5 goals are a huge outlier in his career. Imho a very, very overrated performance in terms of playing quality.

    Beckenbauer 1966: two goals against one of the very weakest teams in World Cup history (per Elo rating); one extra goal because of a Yashin howler; goal against 9 men Uruguay (that was chasing the game and trying to score a goal).

    Cristiano Ronaldo would get panned for that.


    I'd say Hazard was really good in about five matches, but yes some goals or assists were maybe lacking.
    Some of the very best performances were not equally great in every game (including Maradona, Cruijff) but yes for ex. Cruijff vs Germany still created four/five good chances and was fouled several times (6 registered fouls in the first half alone; not to mention the unregistered ones like the scene where he nutmegs Vogts).
     
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  15. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Club:
    Nottingham Forest FC
    Yes, sorry, the words I used were really more applicable to Mbappe out of the two, and indeed Hazard with a key impressive individual goal or two might then seem to have a case vs a Roberto Baggio of 1994 due to better consistency and overall influence for example, and therefore be in the mix for consideration as per my post.
     
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  16. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    Yeah, what would you say as Baggio his best game? Against Spain I think?
     
  17. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    It was back then also unusual, especially for the European teams. Despite that some of them arrived well prepared, shipping tankers full of fresh water to Mexico (true fact!).
     
  18. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    For the last 20 years I'd say Robben should definitely be in consideration. The kicker and FF ratings align in that he was in two different tournaments (2010 and 2014) among the very best players. There are literally only a handful players for which the same applies (consensus per FF and kicker ratings).
     
  19. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Club:
    Nottingham Forest FC
    Yeah, maybe the group stage with lack of playing time (fitness related, and I guess he still ended up with as many minutes played overall or close, as Laudrup/Elkjaer 1986, James 2014, Hagi 1994 etc) and the 'memorable for wrong reason' Casillas save after Sneijder played him in the Final might go against him a bit for 2010. Not trying to be negative of course, but just sometimes I know when you quote me you want me to say something and I guess this is what came to mind as an idea! But most notable players within those 20 years including him prominently - sure, it seems reasonable to me yeah.

    To reply re: Baggio here too, and I'd say maybe the Bulgaria game, but I wouldn't quibble with the idea his Spain one could be regarded better potentially, as he had to leave the pitch early vs Bulgaria and maybe his general play was a bit better vs Spain.
     
  20. msioux75

    msioux75 Member+

    Jan 8, 2006
    Lima, Peru
    Yeah, for 2014 I should mentioned him.

    James also had a very good tournament, but Robben gets the edge (for me) since he played the latter stages of the tournament.
     
  21. Bavarian14

    Bavarian14 Member

    Bayern München
    Jun 1, 2017
    Nat'l Team:
    India
    Wasn't it established in an earlier thread that Romario 94 was marginally better than Baggio 94?
     
  22. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    Thanks. Bulgaria would be my #2 for that reason, and Spain #1. Yes, he was also subbed out in the group stages of course but then for other reasons (he wasn't good in the group stage, sometimes even among the worst of his team).

    I think the last 20 years we've seen performances that are about as good/better than Romario and Baggio, but obviously their goals in the KO stages does them a favor.

    Romario was in some matches outplayed by his team-mate Bebeto and if we look at him against Netherlands and Italy (probably the two best opponents he faced) then he isn't very outstanding. I think both Bebeto and Bergkamp played actually better in the Netherlands match, and in the Italy match he certainly wasn't among the better ones on the pitch (missing a sitter, even), though he did play better than (injured) Baggio in the final. I think you'd probably agree that his successor Ronaldo was a bit more involved in actions and play, too.

    Baggio against Spain was a genuinely great game all-around, but other matches were variable in quality. As you say, that he advanced to the final and he got the timing of the moments right does separate him from James Rodrigues in the end (or vice versa: a quarter final exit despite scoring prevents a higher placement of James as you say).

    I'm sure Romario and Baggio (Stoichkov to a lesser extent, which is not totally fair) will be tied to the World Cup for some time, but lesser icons weren't really worse I think. The OPTA statistics are also far from outstanding for both Baggio and Romario (we both have noticed that previously), in the way for ex. Hazard sticks out.

    N.B. funnily, the interesting fivethirtyeight 'döppelgangers' tool gives Bergkamp 1998 as most similar player to Baggio 1994 (you've made that comparison many times too, though Baggio did progress one stage further in the end, and scored two more goals - including one penalty - but three fewer assists). Romario 1994 shows a match with Krankl, Careca and Eto'o.
     
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  23. Vegan10

    Vegan10 Member+

    Aug 4, 2011
    The disadvantages for top Europeans was distinguishable. England had upon arrival to Mexico their food burned down, only allowed to consume what was given to them by Mexican authorities. The hotel prior to the Brazil game was a nightmare because Mexicans were meddling in order for the British to not get any proper rest.

    The Europeans really had no chance to win against a more fitter and prepared Brazilian side.
     
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  24. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Club:
    Nottingham Forest FC
    Yeah, I suppose I remember Romario/Bebeto as a little bit akin to Cole/Yorke at Man Utd in some ways, in terms of combinations between them. In the non-traditional, pragmatic, Brazil team, the onus was on them to combine to create their chances I suppose. Romario wasn't heavily involved in general I suppose, but maybe dropped deep a bit more than he would for Barcelona at the time, and the goal vs Sweden where he ran with the ball and toe-poked (in a quality way) the goal into the corner is an example of it working. The finish vs the Dutch was an example of how efficient/precise his scoring could be too, but he also did miss some chances in the World Cup didn't he....

    France Football showing more variability (with higher peaks) in the game ratings of Hagi and Baggio is fair overall I think, as Romario didn't have signature games so much but was effective in a cumulative way.
     
  25. DFTB24

    DFTB24 Member

    Jul 16, 2014
    Maradona 1986 #1, and it may stay this way for a long long time, maybe forever.

    The legend of the one-man team has fallen long ago after the great revolution that emerged in world football on the importance of team play (today) especially with the development of defensive and tactical methods in particular, but because every rule has its own exception this myth did not completely disappear in Maradona case here.

    Maradona 86 is the best individual performance (in every way) in World Cup history, that's very true. He significantly had been very much involved in every 'single' game, was much more decisive than anyone else of any WC tournament. By himself-alone he had easily a 'hand' about 75% for team excellence and he managed to do this in a spectacular fashion.

    But it's OVERRATED


    Without any complication, only need customizable enough in some detail-focused and so therefore the picture getting closer more and more.

    First of all, there are three important things (or four) to keep in mind when dealing with the player's performance at World Cup.
    a) the team he played with.
    b) the teams he played against.
    c) at what age for the tournament year (highest peak time in most cases around 25-27 years old, enough experience on the field with more testosterone, which is the golden age in humans age in general as well, blossoms and pretty flowers).
    And the least important criteria (but still important);
    d) the place of the tournament is America or Europe (depends on the player's continent and his environment within the climate and the atmosphere around him, location and climate are very much important too, extra factor that create respectable gap because it works on both sides together a huge advantage for you and 180-degree reflection a disadvantage to other outsider opponents).

    Maradona 86
    Perfect timing, 26 is the perfect age (reached clearly a highest career peak, for example his compatriot & all-time rival Messi would suits him perfectly if tournament has been held in 2012 so missed the train but that's life), and the World Cup were held in America continent, Mexico (a great place for Argentina players/Argentina fans, he felt more like home).

    Maradona did not play in a legendary team (like Pele 58/70 or Beckenbauer/Muller 70/74 or Cruyff 74... etc, so thats goes very strongly in his favour), but at the same time Argentina do not get to face a top quality opponents at 86 (West Germany and Italy both have an aging squads at the time, not having to face Brazil and France, those circumstances played in his favour on winning this trophy, while it is not on his favour at evaluation criteria).

    South Korea - Asia's top team, a minnow in world football. Asian football is still far behind the others at the time (though much improved in the 21st century since). 10/10

    Bulgaria - On the same level as South Korea, it lacked quality. 9/10

    Italy - Who was badly underperforming, it was clear that the team decided to take a vacation in Mexico, sometimes its hard staying hungry after winning the previous World Cup. 9/10

    Uruguay - A top notch team in South America, trying to get back to glory days in the 80s, their league were strong enough, the country again produced world class players the likes of Francescoli, da Silva and Alzamendi. However, at the international level they were nothing remarkable when you compare them to Denmark (the heavy defeat) or West Germany (after Matthaus gave that lovely assist for the opener Germany completely outperformed Uruguay from start to finish). They also played negatively at 86, we saw Maradona free as a bird in Uruguay match might have more to do with FIFA warning to Uruguay previously 'play nice' warning, but that changed, much changed the following year Uruguay played much better at Copa America 87. 11/10 (an all-time legend performance on football's finest stage, Maradona gives yet another masterclass in the art of total domination the pitch individually).

    England - Wasn't great as the 1970 team, in fact England never been a major power since, the image of 'England as a major power team' has collapsed and the team(s) spent years later to be second-tier in world football from 1970 onwards. At the 1986 championship they were at the same level as Morocco, Mexico (with home advantage) and Belgium, a bit below Denmark, Soviet Union and Spain, clearly behind the Champions of Europe France, Brazil and of course Argentina. Argentina with Maradona, Burruchaga, Brown, Batista and Valdano proved to be too much for England to handle it, Argentina clearly the better side running the game for long periods and stamping their authority on it. On the other hand, Bobby Robson didn't use a man marking system on him, Maradona was given far too much space, the team also lost their number one, their best player as well a leader on the pitch Bryan Robson (in his prime), apart from his technical ability, he has the right attitude and the right mentality, a very different compared to his teammates. Bryan Robson stood up to Maradona (kept him very quiet and had a stellar game in Manchester United-Barcelona 1984), still England 86 was a quality opponent but not a heavy weighted of opponent, even though England performances fell off as usual when it matter the most in the biggest and highest pressure game. 9/10

    Belgium - Same as England a quality team but not that great, there is also a little bit of luck involved and their overall play was the second best on the field. This generation peaked three/four years later defeating Portugal 3-0 and winning 2-1 on aggregate against Czechoslovakia (a quarter-finalist), since then they have proved a consistent into the tournament itself they played a big part in three of the most stunning matches of that World Cup against Uruguay and Spain then outplayed England for the majority. England knock Belgium out of the 1990 World Cup in the second round is far more impressive result than Maradona's Argentina beat Belgium 86. Belgium 90 completely different case was a high quality opponent a solid all-round with strong defence, midfield and attack. 11/10 (one of tournament's all-time greats, PURE technique)

    West Germany - The best team handled prime Maradona with his incredible form (Bagni had failed miserably), Germany made it by far certainly the least effective Maradona game of the tournamant for the overall performance, still though too much to ask for handling a genius at his insane best that seen Germany slipping away a bit and that's ENOUGH because Maradona was hugely involved in winning the game and the trophy notably that crucial winning goal a brilliant assist for Burruchaga's goal got the finish it was delivered cleverly and perfectly by him under pressure which was the standout moment of magic. Germany looks very strong only on paper being as reliant on the old guard however they peaked at the right time in the semi final against France which was definately the best game Germany played in the tournament. So importantly to note, more or less they are a top quality team at the moment in the final on that Argentina deserves extra credit for beating much sharper West Germany from the begining of the tournament. Maradona produced miracles performance in six games in a row while Matthaus played so well in the knockout stages and add more action in an attacking sense. So the mystery question from Matthaus’s man-to-man coverage of Maradona, who benefits most Argentina or Germany? Many experts and commentators including Matthaus himself during the interview all said that Beckenbauer made a major tactical mistake as Matthaus almost certainly being cancelled in the final. When Argentina took a 2-0 lead, to that point Matthaus a man marking job is over, it was a much better performance from then on by the German side as Matthaus provided a more attacking threat and played a prominent role to make it 2-2, Maradona on the other hand having much freedom compared to his previous who no longer being marked out of the game by Matthaus and produced a legendary assist that struck the all-important. 8/10

    When I said overrated basically I'm just towards the media for an extreme exaggeration that performance as if it came from another planet.. still earth everything always based on a consistent basis and criteria.

    Maradona performance at the 1986 World Cup was legendary, the greatest individual WC performance over a single tournament. Both technically and as a leading figure, you beat what's put in front of you and he inspired ALL around him shows great leadership qualities, therefore Maradona 1986 must rank above and before all else Garrincha 1962, Bobby Moore 1966, Jairzinho 1970, Johan Cruyff 1974 etc.

    Argentina 1986 a very good side but absolutely not a legendary, in fact Maradona only by himself add far more weight to his side that resulted to be listed as one of the greatest teams that participated in the World Cup finals. Argentina 1986 a very good side but absolutely not crap, just one year later two of the most valuable in the starting line-up Burruchaga-Valdano missed the Copa America tournament and the team lost a great deal of balance while playing at HOME it shows the importance of these two players in particular to the team as well, Burruchaga due to injury and Valdano for whatever the reason, plus we all know the team in Mexico suited Maradona as he was in a system that served him better.

    Overall in the tournament history
    Pele as the greatest individual performer in the World Cup history. A very, very distant second is Maradona as the best rival to him .
    Maradona is the 2nd best ever to appear on the FIFA World Cup, he had immediate impact in big games on other tournaments too, vs Brazil 90 (easily the second Argentina's best player after Sergio Goycochea, the team's only creative spark almost never lose the ball unless been stopped with a foul, furthermore the game was decided by a moment of his brilliance), Italy 90 (was a heroic effort a commanding player in the middle that led Argentina into a historic win against Italy), Nigeria 94 (a top quality side and one of the very best teams in Africa that participated in the World Cup finals).
     

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