CLASSIC UFWC TITLE MATCH:
ARGENTINA 2-1 MEXICO, 4 July 1993
Copa America final, Monumental, Guayaquil, Ecuador
Scorers: Batistuta (2) (Argentina); Galindo (pen) (Mexico)
UFWC champs Argentina played out the 1993 Copa America tournament without one Diego Armando Maradona, who had recently controversially walked out on his club side Sevilla after a disappointing season. Maradona had been dropped from the national side after being handed a 15-month ban for failing a drugs test in 1991. He would return to fail another drugs test at the 1994 World Cup, but in the meantime Argentina could rely upon other star names.
Sergio Goycochea was a formidable goalkeeper, Oscar Ruggeri kept things together at the back, Fernando Redondo and Diego Simone ran the midfield, and Gabriel Batistuta was a bona fide goal machine.
Mexico also had a celebrated goalkeeper in flamboyant free kick expert Jorge Campos. A fan of gaudy luminous kits, Campos managed to score more than 30 goals during his career as a net-minder. Ramon Ramirez was Mexico’s key defender, and Alberto Garcia Aspe was the star in midfield. Up front was a man widely regarded as the best Mexican footballer of all time, the great Hugo Sanchez, famous almost as much for his back-flipping celebrations as for his many goals.
Argentina had held the UFWC title for 12 straight games, having taken it from Australia. Mexico, with a poor UFWC record for such a famous footballing nation, had held the title only once, in 1962 – and then lost it to the Dutch Antilles.
Argentina reached the Copa America final by beating Brazil and Colombia in penalty shoot-outs in the quarter and semi-finals. Mexico, playing their first Copa America tournament, saw off Peru and hosts Ecuador.
The game was a tight one, and it only really came to life midway through the second half. Fiorentina striker Batistuta gave Argentina the lead in the 63rd minute. ‘Batigol’ finished the previous Copa America as top scorer, but this was only his second strike of this tournament.
Four minutes later Mexico were level, with Benjamin Galindo slotting a penalty past renowned spot kick-stopper Goycochea. But Batistuta restored Argentina’s advantage in the 74th minute, and his goal proved to be decisive. Argentina won the Copa America and retained the UFWC title.