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14

14th Minute, Gustavo Peña, Mexico v Belgium, 1970 World Cup Group Stage

Context

Mexico 1970 was the first World Cup to be held outside of Europe and South America. There were concerns about high temperatures and altitude before the tournament but it would turn out to be one of the finest World Cups ever.

The hosts’ record at World Cups before this one was poor. They had never advanced beyond the first round and had a record of 1 win in 17 games so expectations weren’t high for El Tri.

In their first match they played out a goalless draw against the Soviet Union before coming to life and thrashing El Salvador 4-0. They then faced Belgium knowing a draw would send them through and a win could see them top the top. Mexico dominated the early stages of the match and their pressure would soon pay off.

The Goal

Defender Gustavo Peña converts a penalty which incensed the Belgians…

What Happened Next?

More protests after the penalty and then it was Belgium’s turn to press. They missed a hatful of chances and the Mexicans missed a couple of good chances themselves. It ended 1-0 and Mexico finished level with the Soviet Union and they had to be separated by the drawing of lots. Mexico were the unlucky ones and faced Italy in the quarter finals which proved a step too far for El Tri as they were stuffed 4-1 despite taking the lead.

Mexico wouldn’t have to wait long to host a World Cup again as Colombia pulled out of hosting the 1986 edition meaning Mexico was the country to fill that void.

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