Exploring 18/11: The day Mancini defeated Maradona and the French fancied to qualify for World Cup Finals


In the early 1990’s, Serie A showcased competitive football at its top. Zidane and Del Piero’s Juve, Maradona’s Napoli and Sacchi-Capello’s Milan mesmerized us with class and brilliance. But, 1990-91 season will be remembered for the emergence of a new force in form of Sampdoria. Roberto Mancini and Gianluca Vialli’s fierce attacking partnership gave Sampdoria their first and only Serie A title. En route to their only ever Scudetto, Sampdoria had to pass the challenge from an incumbent defending Champions Napoli.

24 years back, on 18th November 1990, a resurgent BluCerchiati unit thumped Napoli to a 4-1 win, in their trip to Naples. Apart from the sheer dominance reflected by the scoreline, the match will be remembered for two identical twins, inseparable in terms of technicality, skill and beauty. Both came in the same half of the game from the the-then stalwarts of Italian football- Vialli and Mancini.

It will be better not to take the audacity of describing the premier of self-confidence that it requires to send those two thunderous volleys into the back of the net, but the video, below, can be watched for a century in order to relish the beautiful game at its gorgeous best.

Maradona, later on this season, failed Drugs test and fled from Italy amid threats of arrest. Napoli finished eighth in the League after a disappointing campaign.

On related notes:

This date gave Les Bleus a world cup place on two occasions in history.

On 18th November, 1981- a perfect free kick from Platini and a clinical performance from the French ended World Cup dreams for Netherlands. It also ensured France  a place in the finals of 1982 Spain world cup. Watch the video here:

18 years later, on 2009, good guy Thierry caught himself cheating with the rules of the game when he handled the ball twice to control the ball before setting it up for Gallas to equalise in the away leg of the World Cup Qualifier playoff match against Ireland. France clinched a 1-0 win at their home against Ireland. The Irish were leading by 1-0  when the little act of deception from the French star earned the French a spot in the World Cup finals, South Africa.

The incident was compared to the famous “Hand of God” by Diego Maradona and it was called “Le hand of God” on occasions. It also made to TIME’s top ten list of sporting cheats. Watch the video here:

Our article on another date 13/11 can be read here.