On this day in sport: Lomu and Morgan dazzle at World Cups, Woods wins maiden U.S. Open title

By Sports Desk June 18, 2020

Tiger Woods did not only win the 2000 U.S. Open on June 18, he did so having obliterated the rest of the field.

Two decades ago, no one could get near to Woods and his record-breaking performance at Pebble Beach.

Mike Catt got much closer to Jonah Lomu five years earlier, not that he was able to stop him, while Eoin Morgan was delivering his own dominant performance on June 18, 2019.

Here we take a look at three major sporting events to have occurred on June 18 in previous years.

 

1995 - Lomu steamrollers England

Lomu delivered perhaps the finest individual performance at a Rugby World Cup match when starring for New Zealand against England in the 1995 semi-final.

The wing scored four tries as the All Blacks won 45-29 against an England side that simply could not contain the All Blacks' number 11.

His first score was the best, as Lomu collected a ball that bounced behind him, held off two England players and then dismissively ploughed over Catt when off-balance before dotting down.

In another incredible demonstration of speed, Lomu crossed for the fourth time when side-stepping Catt to leave the England back grasping at air.

 

2000 - Woods goes wire-to-wire at Pebble Beach

Stating Woods was the wire-to-wire winner at the 2000 U.S. Open only begins to explain his dominance given his eventual major record 15-stroke advantage.

Woods arrived at the 100th U.S. Open as a two-time major champion and a third looked assured even before the weekend as he had a six-shot lead after 36 holes.

Only playing against himself by the Sunday, Woods parred the opening nine holes before reeling off four birdies in five holes en route to a final-round 67. It was the first of four majors in a row that Woods would win - which became known as the 'Tiger Slam'.

 

2019 - Aerial Eoin dismantles Afghanistan attack

Prior to hosting the World Cup on home soil in 2019, England players had mused on the possibility of becoming the first team in ODI history to score 500 runs.

It did not quite happen, but the reason for such optimism was evident when they took Afghanistan's attack apart in making 397-6 in a group-stage game at Old Trafford.

Several records did fall as captain Morgan made the most sixes in an ODI (17), England accrued the most maximums in an ODI (25) while poor Rashid Khan went for 0-110 off his nine overs.

Morgan, who would end up lifting the trophy later that tournament, finished with a frankly ridiculous 148 from 71 balls before England claimed a 150-run success.

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  • Diego Maradona dies: Goal of the century, World Cup glory and Napoli's talisman – his five greatest achievements Diego Maradona dies: Goal of the century, World Cup glory and Napoli's talisman – his five greatest achievements

    Diego Maradona enjoyed a stellar career, playing for some of the world's biggest clubs and instilling himself in World Cup folklore.

    The Argentina great passed away at the age of 60 on Wednesday. No cause of death was stated, though it was reported he suffered a heart attack.

    While his career was not shy of controversy, at his best Maradona was simply unplayable, and enjoyed success in South America and Europe, as well as on the international stage.

    We take a look at his five greatest achievements, from World Cup success with Argentina to an era of Serie A glory with Napoli.

     

    Bernabeu ovation

    It takes something truly special for Real Madrid fans to contemplate applauding a Barcelona player at the Santiago Bernabeu. Maradona delivered just that in June 1983, when he rounded Los Blancos goalkeeper Agustin and then, with the goal at his mercy, opted to sit the back-pedalling Juan Jose on the floor before tucking the ball home.

    Maradona was given a standing ovation when he was later substituted – something that would not be repeated for a Barcelona player in that ground for another 22 years, when Ronaldinho was similarly honoured.

    Goal of the century

    Maradona's greatest ever goal is arguably the best ever in the history of the World Cup. He made the extraordinary seem easy as a matter of regularity and, on June 22, in a 2-1 quarter-final win over England, he did just that. In perhaps a summary of Maradona the man – and the player – his moment of magic followed on from possibly his most controversial act on a pitch; the 'Hand of God' goal.

    Four minutes later, Maradona embarked on a mazy, remarkable run through the heart of the opposition and, within seconds, was coolly rounding England goalkeeper Peter Shilton to put Argentina into an unassailable lead.

    World Cup glory

    Following the win over England, 25-year-old captain Maradona led Argentina to a 2-0 semi-final victory against Belgium – scoring both goals once again – and a 3-2 triumph over West Germany in the final, as his country clinched their second World Cup crown.

    Maradona finished the tournament in Mexico with five goals and a further five assists in seven games – no player has done that since at a single edition of a World Cup.

    He went on to captain his country again at the next World Cup, Italia 1990, before featuring twice in World Cup 1994, and he holds the Argentina record for the most number of appearances in the World Cup, with 21, ahead of Javier Mascherano (20) and Lionel Messi (19).

    Triumph in Napoli

    When Maradona arrived at Napoli in 1984, the club had not won a Serie A title in their 61-year history. After scoring 14 goals to help Napoli to eighth place in his first season, and netting another 11 as they finished third in his second, Maradona was the catalyst for a historic performance from the Partenopei in 1986-87.

    They finished the season as champions, three points clear of bitter rivals Juventus, and the city exploded into celebrations that included an informal day of holiday to enjoy the moment. The triumph was by no means down to Maradona alone, but he is remembered as their inspiration and star.

    Last-gasp joy as Albiceleste boss

    Maradona's career as a head coach cut a stark contrast to his playing days, but a lack of success at the helm of Textil Mandiyu and Racing Club did not prevent him taking charge of his country in 2008. The highlight of a tumultuous two-year spell came in October 2009, when Peru came to Buenos Aires for a World Cup qualifier Argentina desperately needed to win to revive their hopes of qualifying for South Africa 2010. Maradona's decision to play Gonzalo Higuain ahead of Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero proved a shrewd one as the striker gave Argentina the lead, but Peru levelled the match in the last minute through Hernan Rengifo.

    The moment called for a hero and Martin Palermo, recalled to the national team by Maradona after a 10-year absence, scored the winner deep into injury time to prompt wild celebrations on the touchline and in the stands, with the image of Maradona sliding along the rain-soaked pitch on his belly is etched into the country's memory.

  • Diego Maradona dies: Forward's World Cup records with Argentina may never be matched Diego Maradona dies: Forward's World Cup records with Argentina may never be matched

    Diego Maradona's remarkable all-round World Cup record is one which may never be matched.

    The Argentina legend died at the age of 60 on Wednesday, prompting tributes from across the football world.

    Reflections of his career will see so many of Maradona's magical moments highlighted, though perhaps most memorable are his 1986 exploits in Mexico, a tournament which gave Argentina their most recent World Cup success.

    Opta statistics help to illustrate Maradona's remarkable performances on football’s biggest stage and highlight how difficult his legacy at the tournament will be for a modern player to match. 

    Maradona appeared in four successive World Cups for Argentina between the ages of 21 and 33, playing his first in 1982 before going on to represent his country in 1986, 1990 and 1994.

    He ended his Argentina career having made 91 appearances and it was clear he thrived on the big stage - nearly one in four of those caps occurred during World Cups, where he enjoyed a win record in excess of 50 per cent.

    He holds the record for the most number of appearances in the competition by an Argentine player (21), just ahead of Javier Mascherano (20) and Lionel Messi (19).

    Maradona is one of just three players to captain his country in two different men's World Cup finals, having done so in 1990 as well as the 1986 tournament, where he stole the show.

    The only other two players to achieve the feat are Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (1982 and 1986) and Dunga, who did so in successive tournaments after Maradona in 1994 and 1998.

    The exploits of Maradona in 1986 will be hard to top. He had 10 goal involvements (five goals and five assists) in seven games and no player has done that since at a single edition of a World Cup.

    No other player at the tournament in Mexico managed more than six goal involvements, highlighting his level of superiority.

    Only Gabriel Batistuta (10) has scored more World Cup goals for Argentina than Maradona, who ended his international career with a total of eight.

    Maradona is also one of only three Argentina players to have scored in three separate World Cups (1982, 1986 and 1994), alongside Messi (2006, 2014 and 2018) and Batistuta (1994, 1998, and 2002).

    As well as eight goals, Maradona had eight assists in his 21 appearances over the four tournaments he played in. Across all World Cups staged since 1966, no other player has accumulated as many.

    Maradona won 152 free kicks across his four World Cups, the most in tournament history.

    That is more than twice as many fouls won by any other player, with Brazil's Jairzinho ranking second with 64.

    On average he won more than seven fouls per game in his World Cup career, or one every 12 minutes and 46 seconds. 

    He was the most fouled player across three consecutive competitions from 1982 to 1990, with this total from 1986 (54) remaining the highest single figure from one World Cup. 

    Amazingly, his individual totals from 1990 (50) and 1982 (36 from just five games) also rank individually as second and third all time.

    As well as being the most fouled player, Maradona has also provoked more cards than any other player at World Cups since yellow and red cards were first introduced in 1970. 

    Fouls on him resulted in 12 cards being dished out, ahead of Arjen Robben (11) for the most in tournament history.

    Though as well as forcing his opponents to pick up bookings, Maradona was also prone to being cautioned himself – he is the only player to be booked in two separate World Cup finals (1986 and 1990).

    In the 1986 tournament, he played a part in an astonishing 56 per cent of his team's 101 shots. He had 30 of them himself, and played the final pass on 27 other occasions.

    The only game where he failed to score or assist at least one goal was in the round of 16 match against Uruguay, but even then he still managed to hit the woodwork from a stunning direct free-kick.

    He led the assist rankings with five at Mexico 86 and with five goals he was the second highest scorer behind Gary Lineker, who netted six.

    Maradona remains the only player since 1966 to have to have scored and assisted as many as five goals in a single World Cup, a record that looks particularly tough to beat.

    Famed for his dribbling prowess, no player has beaten an opponent more times in a single World Cup than Maradona did in 1986. 

    The attacker successfully took the ball around an opponent 53 times, averaging eight per game. Four came in just one single move, the goal of the century against England in the quarter-finals.

    He travelled 51 metres with the ball in 10 seconds to net one of only four World Cup goals since 1966 where a player travelled as far before scoring.

    Jarizinho had 47 successful take-ons in 1970, while the closest anyone has come to breaking that Maradona record since his retirement was when Messi had 46 in 2014 and Eden Hazard 40 in 2018.

    The stats from that match with England sum up Maradona's overall impact in Mexico. He attempted the most shots of any player on the pitch (seven), the most shots on target (three), most chances created (five) and most completed dribbles (12), as well as winning seven fouls. 

    Until 2018, Maradona also held the record for the most dribbles (105) in World Cup matches, a number was fittingly eclipsed by his compatriot Messi (110).

  • Diego Maradona dies: How Argentina legend starred at Mexico 1986 – and was World Cup handball king Diego Maradona dies: How Argentina legend starred at Mexico 1986 – and was World Cup handball king

    Wherever you stand on football's GOAT debate, you can't deny the legacy of Diego Maradona.

    Some would place him behind Lionel Messi as Argentina's greatest ever footballer, and short of Pele in the sport's pantheon of the mighty; others would say Maradona eclipses them all. It's a debate that has raged for decades, and one that is not likely to be settled for some time.

    But nobody can argue that Maradona – who died on Wednesday at the age of 60 – produced a string of performances to rival anything the World Cup has ever witnessed in Mexico in 1986.

    From the group stage to the final with West Germany, via the 'Goal of the Century' and a brazen moment of cheating, Maradona was so far above his contemporaries that the sheer idea of anyone else winning the Golden Ball was laughable.

    Argentina beat South Korea, drew with Italy and defeated Bulgaria in their group, then saw off Uruguay, England and Belgium in the knockouts before a 3-2 final defeat of West Germany. 

    As Opta data shows, Maradona was the beating heart of the Albiceleste's second World Cup triumph.

    TAKE MY BREATH AWAY

    Gary Lineker was the only player to score more goals (six) at the 1986 World Cup than Maradona (five). That's about the only category where he did not come out on top.

    He added five assists to those five goals in his seven appearances, giving him the most goal involvements (10) of any player, ahead of the USSR's Igor Belanov (eight), and Lineker, Careca and Preben Elkjaer Larsen (six).

    It stands to reason that Maradona also created more goalscoring chances (27) than any other player. Next on the list was France's Alain Giresse (24), then Klaus Allofs (23), Michel Platini (19) and Careca (17).

    WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH

    Everyone, most famously West Germany, tried to man-mark Maradona out of the equation. None succeeded.

    He completed 53 dribbles across the tournament, a tally that puts the rest of the competition to shame. The next highest number was recorded by USSR's Ivan Yaremchuk, who managed 16.

    Of course, that kind of dazzling play will always attract a more prosaic approach from the opposition. Maradona was fouled 53 times, more than double the number of anyone else (Enzo Francescoli was next on 27 fouls won).

    EDGE OF HEAVEN

    Maradona's all-round impact on proceedings could only come from a player given freedom to drop deeper and seize the ball from lesser men. It's incredible, then, that he managed 44 touches in the opposition box, eight more than the next-highest on the list, Brazil's Careca. Lineker, winner of the Golden Boot, had 31 such touches.

    Lineker and England have, of course, never forgotten Maradona's impact on their 2-1 quarter-final defeat in Mexico City. It was the scene of his greatest goal – a mazy, miraculous waltz through the heart of the opposition that ended with the bamboozling of goalkeeper Peter Shilton – and his crowning moment of infamy, when 'The Hand of God' punched Argentina into the lead.

    Perhaps that wasn't such a one-off, though. Since 1966, no player has committed as many handballs at the World Cup as Maradona (seven) – and they're just the ones the referees spotted.

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