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Review: Maradona '86 Falls Flat

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Michael Hughes/AFP/Getty Images
Michael Hughes/AFP/Getty Images

ESPN 30 for 30’s Maradona ’86 is not a full out biography about Diego Maradona’s life. It is what the title suggests, the incredible run of the Maradona-led Argentina national team in the 1986 FIFA World Cup. In other words, the story is about the only proud moment of Maradona’s life.

Directed by Sam Blair, Maradona ’86 runs match and news footages surrounding Maradona during the 1986 FIFA World Cup. The story goes in chronological order; Argentina enters the World Cup as a strong team but not a favorite to win it all, they juggernaut the group stages, Maradona knocks out England with two unforgettable goals (Remember what they were?), and then the team wins the final thanks to Maradona’s assist to Jorge Burruchaga.

All this is shown with classical orchestra concertos playing in the background and a narrator reading an excerpt from Eduardo Galeano’s “Soccer in Sun and Shadow” over the course of the film.

While a documentary about Maradona’s 1986 World Cup performance would seem like great fun, this film falls short of telling a great story and leaves viewers displeased with spending 30 minutes on a couch on some clips they can watch on Youtube. The film teaches nothing new about the Argentina national team during the 1986 World Cup nor did it provide any new insight by the players and analysts. It only taught us what we already know; Maradona was a maestro whose performance on the big stage will never be matched.

With a 30-minute run time, the film feels rushed and more like a CliffsNote version on Maradona. The short abrupt running time of this film leaves most Maradona fans not mesmerized and those unfamiliar with Maradona unimpressed. To make it short, this documentary short fails to leave audiences a strong impression about Diego Armando Maradona.

Of course the film could beg one question that might be relevant to the film. Playing on a national side that is devoid of tremendous star power and world class superstars, can Christiano Ronaldo carry Portugal the same manner Maradona carried Argentina in this year's World Cup?