Every football fan (whether he has lived it or not) has an indelible engraving in his memory on June 22, 1986. That afternoon at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City was disputed what would become the most Iconic game in the history of world football. England and Argentina crossed by a ticket in the semifinals of the World Cup, and Maradona took over the game. First raised his hand after a failed clearance of Peter Shilton and rose higher to score the first goal of that game with the famous "Hand of God." Six minutes later he started from the right to leave behind any Englishman who crossed his path to sign the best goal in the history of the World Cups and sentence the game. That afternoon in Mexico City marked forever the life of Diego Armando Maradona and the history of world football.
We all remember the image of Maradona eluding rivals and playing with his hands the sky wearing that historic blue shirt that Argentina used that day. However, few know the curious history behind that legendary shirt that, today, is Historical Patrimony of Football.
Because England was a local in the game and could wear his traditional white jersey, Argentina would have to wear the alternative blue jersey. The small French brand Le Coq Sportif was in charge of dressing the Argentine National Team during the World Cup. Knowing the intense heat of Mexico, the Argentine coach Carlos Salvador Bilardo asked the French brand to make openwork shirts (that is, with small holes) to facilitate the perspiration and the conditioning of it.
Le Coq Sportif listened to Bilardo's request, but they only did this job with the main albiceleste jersey. The blue alternative shirt was tighter than the classic albiceleste and because it was made of cotton it did not breathe well. For the Argentine players it was hell when they had to use them for the first time in the Round of 16 vs Uruguay in the middle of the Mexican midday. All were drenched in sweat.
Bilardo refused to play again with the blue shirt and demanded new ones that adapted to the Mexican climate. Bilardo took a pair of scissors trying to show how to make the holes in the blue shirts and the result was that they were totally destroyed. At 48 hours of the most important game in the history of Argentina, the National Team did not have shirts to play.
AFA asked Le Coq Sportif to design a new model that meets the requirements of Bilardo, to which the French brand responded that it was impossible to do so in such a short time. In view of the emergency, AFA commissioned the National Team delegate Fernando Moschella to tour all the major sports stores in Mexico City in search of blue Le Cof Sportif shirts so that Argentina could use them in the match. Finally, with only one day remaining for the match, they got two models of blue shirts from Le Coq Sportif and immediately went to the Argentine concentration, praying that Bilardo would give them the go-ahead.
Bilardo did not accept them. And as if it were the work of the gods, Maradona appeared walking down the hall and Bilardo with obvious annoyance called him to ask him what the models looked like. "This one is cute", Diego snapped, referring to the most celestial shirt. From before even starting the game Maradona began to be the decisive hero in a way that was not imagined in this epic search for a shirt to play the Quarterfinals of the World Cup.
It seemed that everything was being solved in this crisis that was lived in the heart of the Argentine National Team, but it was still missing the most difficult thing was to embroider the Argentine shield and put the numbers. Fortunately, one of the children of the owner of Club América (where Argentina was concentrated) mentioned that he had an AFA shield which they could plot from his computer and print it. However, the AFA shield they had available was the old one. If we compare the shirt that Argentina used that June 22 in the Azteca with the classic albiceleste that they used in the rest of the tournament, we can notice that the blue shirt does not have the laurels in the shield that does have the other one. In addition to that the shield on the blue shirt is obviously noticeably larger than normal and poorly made.
Once the shield had been resolved, the dorsals needed to be placed on the shirts. The numbers of the original blue shirt of Argentina were white, nevertheless in that moment they did not find numbers of that color. However, in Club América they had light gray ones belonging to their division of American Football. At this point, none of this mattered anymore and Argentina, with its improvised shirt, was ready to face the most important game in its history.
If we look at images of that match against England and look at the improvised shirt again, we will see how different it was from the original one designed by Le Coq Sportif. The truth is that this story could not be different. The drama must be related to the smallest detail that surrounded that historic afternoon of June 22, 1986 in Mexico City. That day Maradona touched the sky with his hand, left in our retinas the greatest goal seen by any human being and immortalized his legend forever marking a before and after in the history of football. And if they knew that he did it with an impromptu shirt.