The dispute system of the Qualifiers was changing with the running of the World Cups. In these times when places begin to settle two years in advance, it sounds strange that years ago in just 35 days it was decided if a team entered or stayed out of the World Cup the following year. But this was how it happened in 1985, when between May 26 and June 30, Argentina put its presence in Mexico at stake 86. And what started with encouraging triumphs ended with an agonized cry to secure a place.
The South American Football Confederation divided the ten countries into two groups of three and one of four. The winners would go directly to the World Cup, while the three seconds plus the third of the most nourished group would go to a playoff for the fourth vacancy. Argentina shared with Colombia, Venezuela and Peru. He beat the first two at home and away, and on the previous last date he tied with the Peruvians in Lima, a meeting remembered for the very tough personal brand that Luis Reyna made to Maradona.
That equality left the Selection before the need only not to lose against Peru, in the Monumental, to qualify. In the event of a defeat, he would have to go to the playoff in search of the fourth South American spot for the World Cup. Bilardo was already highly questioned at the time and the team arrived with a lot of pressure on that cold and rainy afternoon of June 30, 1985, 35 years ago. Ubaldo Fillol; Julián Camino, Enzo Trossero, Daniel Passarella, Oscar Garré; Jorge Burruchaga, Juan Barbas, Ricardo Giusti; Diego Maradona; Pedro Pasculli and Jorge Valdano were the 11 that Narigón put to face a selection that had figures such as Franco Navarro and Juan Carlos Oblitas.
Argentina took a quick advantage thanks to a Pasculli goal that gave everyone peace of mind. However, before the end of the first half Peru turned the result (goals by José Velázquez and Gerónimo Barbadillo) and the calm was transformed into nervousness. The team that had already left Argentina without World Cup 70 after that match in La Bombonera, also put Bilardo’s team on the ropes. “When he said they wanted to kill him, he was not exaggerating. The World Cup had to be reached and we arrived. It didn’t matter how, « he recalled Ricardo Gareca, who ended up being the hero of the classification.
El Tigre replaced Camino in the 16th minute of the second half. The other offensive change of Narigón was at 33, when he put Marcelo Trobbiani for Barbas. Argentina desperately looked for the equalizer goal and With nine to go, Passarella appeared in the area and a scene of suspense began: he lowered the ball from the chest, took out a right hand that hit the post and the ball began to travel the goal line until Gareca pushed it and the Selection breathed again. The tie meant the ticket to Mexico, where the Tiger finally did not go because Bilardo did not include him in the list of 22. And neither does Peru: Paraguay won the repechage. Both -Gareca and Peru- took revenge together with the classification to Russia 2018 of the Peruvian team with the Argentine as team coach.