22 min This game is end-to-end, but not in the usual way. The teams are playing their way forward and progressing because they pass, move and inject pace beautifully, not because no one’s arsed to employ any discipline. It’s already great, and it’s getting better.
21 min Lovely from Tigana, who feints inside and lanks outside, the ball eventually making its way to Giresse, who leathers over the top. Jimmy somehow makes it about England, but with a sensible comment about the efficacy of third-man runs into the box.
19 min Giresse pings one towards Platini, who Josimar does well to beat in the air.
19 min Socrates lifts a lovely ball out to Branco, who runs onto it on a burst which takes him past Fernandez. But his cross is straight into Amoros and France bring the ball away.
19 min Jimmy says that before the tournament, people were writing Brazil off … but not him. Clever Jim!
18 min Careca now has five goals in the competition – as many as Lineker and Butragueno, who previously led the way.
WHAT AN ABSOLUTE GOAL! Brazil 1-0 France (Careca 17)
This is why we’re here! Julio Cesar meets Bats’ goalkick with a colossal header, controlled on the chest by Josimar, who turns and feeds Socrates on halfway, out on the right. He takes a touch, exudes epochal cool, and finds Alemao, who spreads back out to Josimar; he coaxes a lazy-looking pass into Muller, who tips a yard to Junior, takes the instareturn, squares back to Junior and Brazil, now on the edge of the box, have a man – a Careca – over! Junior caresses to him with perfect timing, he opens his body, and absolutely clatters a finish high past Bats into the net. That is an unbelievably, joyously, inspirationally brilliant goal!
16 min Motty notes that the only goal conceded by France so far was this jazzer. Rats is an extremely amusing name, if you’re seven years and three months old, all the more so when he scores past Bats.
16 min Brazil are coming! Junior swipes a first-time ball into Socrates, who cushions on the volley – that is gorgeous – teeing up for Muller, who drags his shot from distance straight at Bats.
15 min Muller pulls right again and knocks infield to Careca, whose adroit turn away from the centre opens up space for Socrates, bursting into it! The ball is duly delivered into his stride, and he takes a touch, then leathers a shot that Bats blocks … and when Careca returns the ball into the box, Bats is out again to concede a corner. That’s our first proper chance, foiled by decent keeping, but really that should’ve been your David Coleman.
14 min Junior swipes across the ball, sending it out right to Muller in a lovely parabola, but the excellent Amoros is there to block him off.
12 min Excellent from Junior, turning up in front of the back four to rob Giresse then blazing forward before finding Careca. Ahead of him, Muller looks to create space, as a decoy or for a pass, but Careca opts for a dig, which actually clips his mate on its way back to Bats.
12 min Socrates plays football like a supermodel does runway, strutting haughty and tall – with good reason. He reminds me of me in penny-floater Wembley doubles earlier this afternoon.
11 min Amoros, who’s an absolute player, strides forward again and he’s clearly noticed that Carlos is dodge, drilling another low shot from distance that’s saved – but not at the first time of asking.
11 min …but Tusseau takes it off him, whacking directly into the wall.
10 min Platini and Giresse’s understanding is brilliant, and another give and go sees the former meg Alemao; Cesar comes in, but the ball rattles between Tigana, Rocheteau and Giresse again, before Junior trips him, playground-style. Free-kick France, 25 yards out, right of centre. Platini will fancy this…
10 min “They appreciate their football here in Guadalajara,” says Motty, renowned Mexicologist – though not, of course, as acclaimed as Norman Whiteside and Bryan Robson.
“Socrates back heels, Dunga would be furious!” says Matthew. I’d loved to have seen him take it up with him.
9 min Both sides are looking to go forward the moment they get the ball, Brazil at a more leisurely pace than France, whose style is more direct but equally aesthetic.
8 min Bossis turns cleverly in midfield and finds Platini, who’s in the mood; of course he is. He easily wriggles past the first challenge, then drives from distance into the nearest midriff.
8 min Fernandez is limping, but carries on for the time being.
8 min Brazil sustain their attack and Josimar looks to burst into the box, but Bossis gets in the road.
7 min Here come Brazil, flowing through midfield with Socrates, Elzo and Careca, who finds Socrates again and collects the backheel return. But France do well to close down the passing lanes, forcing the ball wide before it comes back in and Junior falls over it. We’re cooking.
7 min There’s a good racket from the Brazilians in the crowd as France attack again, Giresse not quite able to make a return pass from Platini.
7 min This is a very promising start. Neither of these are waiting to be asked.
6 min First link-up between Muller and Careca, the former winning a header and making for the one-touch return, which is intercepted by Battiston. That didn’t work, but looked nice; Careca is a proper player.
6 min France are moving the ball quicker than Brazil, and with Tusseau on one touchline and Fernandez on the other – they’re playing three at the back, I think – they’re stretching the game, forcing Brazil to run about.
5 min “First blood to the French,” says Jimmy Hill in co-commentary, just letting us know he’s there.
5 min Josimar burrows forwards and finds Alemao – his nickname means German, because he’s blonde and fair like all Germans – who larrups a shot high over the bar.
5 min Mentions of the referee’s Romanianness: two and counting.
4 min Oh yes! Platini, inside his own half, central, digs out a frankly pornographic long ball, sent over Cesar’s head towards Stopyra down the left. It goes back to Tigana who finds Tusseau – he seems to man-marking Socrates – and nothing comes of it. But France are into this now, as one might be.
4 min No one’s managed it yet, but a decent attack should manage to score against this Brazil defence.
3 min Platini collects Julio Cesar’s header and plays a wall-pass off Giresse, shimmying past Alemao on the edge of the box! He looks to make room for a shot, but Cesar strong-stands to see him away … but have a look! Josimar’s clearance is blocked, Platini sneaks up behind him and pokes back to Amoros … and he leathers a left-footed drive that ruffles Carlos’ side-netting in roughly the same manner as I’d like to do to his Art Garfunkel hair.
“Foul on Junior. Just jealous he’s gonna make a record with Kim Wilde, I suppose…” tweets Matthew.
2 min Josimar fouls Amoros, giving France the chance to stick one in le mixér, but the kick flies well past Stopyra and out for a throw.
2 min What’s the spread on the number of times Motty reminds us that it’s Platini’s birthday? I’m on 520-613.
1 min Brazil knock it about at leisurely pace, their fans banging out some heavy beats, before Fernandez, le réducteur, piles through Junior. Everyone’s fine.
1 min Brazil get us underway, and this is, I think, my favourite rendition of their gear. The floppy collar makes me hot under mine.
“Could we even have penalties today?” wonders John Motson – unlikely, given in the entire history of the World Cup that’s only happened once before. And it’s extremely hot out there – my body is convulsing at the mere thought.
Right then, it’s off to Guadalajara with us! You can watch coverage of the game here.
As for France, Michel Platini becomes the first man to play “World Cup-football” on his birthday for a second time. Last time, he did this…
Some notes: Brazil are the only country to have appeared in all 13 World Cup tournaments so far, losing just 10 times in that time. In 24 qualifying games, they have never been beaten – that’s now the longest operative sequence, as West Germany’s run of 31 ended with defeat by Portugal in November 1985. Other records include the three longest unbeaten sequences in tournament history: 13 games between 1958 and 1966; 11 between 1970 and 1974; 11 between 1978 and 1982. And they were fantastic in dismantling Poland just last week.
Frisson:strides interface. I would happily be called any of these names.
And it’s not just this game! Later today comes West Germany v Mexico, then tomorrow we’ve got the small matter of Argentina v England and Spain v Belgium. I’m sure it’s been said before, but I really fancy England to go all the way this time and end 20 years of hurt; if anyone can do a job on Maradona, Terry Fenwick can do a job on Maradona.
An omen: this is currently top of the UK hit parade.
A further omen: I’ve got a funny feeling this is going to succeed it next Sunday.
In other words: this is going be a religious, celestial experience. Thank you science.
For those of you who’ve invented the internet already, you can watch along here:
So Brazil are unchanged from their 4-0 hiding of Poland, because why should they make special plans for a side as good as France? Exactly. And why should France make special plans for a side as good as Brazil? Exactly. They make one alteration, Tusseau replacing the suspended Ayache; seven of these started their 1982 defeat to West Germany in Seville.
Brazil (a relaxed 4-4-1-1): Carlos; Josimar, Edinho, Julio Cesar, Branco; Elzo, Alemão, Socrates, Junior; Muller; Careca. Subs: Paulo Vitor, Leao, Edson, Oscar, Mauro Galvao, Falcao, Zico, Silas, Valdo, Casagrande, Edivaldo.
France (a flexible 4-4-2): Bats; Amoros, Battiston, Bossis, Tusseau; Fernandez, Giresse, Tigana, Platini; Rocheteau, Stopyra. Subs: Bergeroo, Rust, Ayache, Bibard, Le Roux, Ferreri, Genghini, Vercruysse, Bellone, Papin, Xuereb.
Man Jimmy Hill likes to say we’re hoping not to notice: Ioan Igna (Romania)
For those of you making your World Cup debuts aged 7 years and three months, this is the game. Obviously you’ve lapped up everything you’ve been allowed to lap up, but this is the one: the one your dad plonks you in front of, as though he needed to, and says “This – this – this – is what it’s all about.”
We’re all friends here, so we can be be honest: if it turns out to be a stinker, there’ll be joy to be had in the aftermath, winding him up. But it’ll be small compensation because this needs to be magic. The world is depending on it.
Football is a hard, nasty, vicious, visceral endeavour, and that’s a large part of why we love it so much. But this contretemps – this revés – which has the potential to be extremely special – will be no such thing. It’s a funny old game, Saint, Santo.
Performing for our delectation we have two of the most beautiful teams ever, wearing two of the most beautiful kits ever, exuding two of the coolest cools ever, with a place in the World Cup semi-finals at stake. Anyone who claims to know what’s going to happen is a liar.
Brazil, the only team left in the competition with a 100 percent record, eased through their group and were dazzling in caning Poland last week – so far they have scored nine and conceded none. It’s true that Socrates is slowing, Eder has gone, Falcao is going and Zico is ailing, but they now have midfield ballast and Careca instead of Serginho. He already has four goals to his name, while the boy Josimar is flying. Roughly, os meninos podem brincar.
France, meanwhile, started slowly but hammered Hungary in their final group game before seeing off Italy in the last 16. Though this is surely its last stand, the carré magic which carried them to the European Championship remains intact; in front of it, there remains no serious striker, but behind it Manuel Amoros has strengthened the defence. Roughly, les garçons peuvent jouer.
Kick-off: 12pm CST, 6pm BST 1986, 7.45pm BST 2020