At this moment 30 years ago, Italy and Bulgaria players were walking onto the pitch at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City for the opening game of Mexico 86.
The game was broadcast live on the BBC. As people sat in front of their TVs awaiting the month of football to come, it’s possible they may have been reading Shoot’s 1986 World Cup Preview guide, costing 75p.
With three UK teams in the finals (something that wouldn’t happen again until Euro 2016), Shoot capitalised on this by having a player from Scotland (Gordon Strachan), England (Bryan Robson) and Northern Ireland (Norman Whiteside) all holding the World Cup trophy.
All three were playing for the same club in 1986, so it was obviously convenient for them to arrange the photoshoot.
As you open the magazine, there is a double page editorial saying “Go get em lads”, wishing the three UK teams good luck.
There is then a double page TV guide, but it only covers the opening match, and the home nations group games. For the record, Northern Ireland and Scotland had two live games on ITV and one on the BBC, while England had two games on the BBC and one on ITV.
Trevor Francis gets four pages to write about who he thinks will be the stars in Mexico, predicting big things from Hugo Sanchez, Rudi Voeller, Preben Elkjaer, Diego Maradona, Michel Platini, Rinat Dasaev, Zico and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Enzo Scifo, Daniel Passarella, Antonio Cabrini, Zibi Boniek and Michael Laudrup.
Quite a lot of those players were based in Serie A, where Francis was playing his club football.
Mick Channon gets two pages to assess the three home nations, predicting Bryan Robson to lead England to the Quarter-Finals (They would reach that stage, but Robson would be at home injured), Scotland to reach the Second Round (Group stage exit) and Northern Ireland to reach the knockout stages (group stage exit)
Channon also commented that he was recently in Belfast to play in a testimonial game for George Dunlop.
Mal Donaghy gets a lot of praise from Channon, stating he would walk into England and Scotland’s teams, comparing him to Bobby Moore.
For the whole tournament, he expected Argentina to beat Brazil in the final.
Tony Roche gets a double page spread to assess the rest of the European teams, stating that Denmark could take the competition by storm, comparing them to Holland’s team of the 70s.
There is a full page round up of the results and tables from the European groups.
Peter Reid gets interviewed with the headline “ON YER BIKE JOAN COLLINS”. In case you’re wondering why, England will be warming up in America, staying in a hotel in Denver which is used to film scenes for the TV show Dynasty.
Reid comments on the progress in his career between World Cups, having just avoided relegation to the Third Division with Bolton in 1982, he was now challenging for trophies with Everton.
Shoot canvassed journalists from around the world for their opinion, and the consensus was that Brazil would repeat their success in Mexico they had in 1970.
Bobby Moore writes about his experiences at the 1970 World Cup, advising the players that playing Snooker will be a good way to relieve the boredom in the hotel room.
Charlie Nicholas gets four pages to write about his Scotland team-mates, where he reveals he shares a room with Steve Nicol. They are good mates, but Nicholas doesn’t share Nicol’s love of Status Quo.
There is a double page interview with the three UK managers, Bobby Robson (England), Alex Ferguson (Scotland) and Billy Bingham (Northern Ireland)
Ferguson and Robson predict Brazil will win the trophy, while Bingham shies away from predicting a winner.
Bryan Robson writes a two page article where he predicts England will reach the Semi-Finals, and that Gary Lineker will be England’s biggest star in Mexico, comparing him to Jimmy Greaves.
There are two pages then dedicated to the South American challenge, written by Tony Roche.
Shoot has bagged an interview with Diego Maradona, who says England look good, Northern Ireland have a chance of reaching the knock-out stage, while Scotland are in the toughest group. He didn’t predict Morocco to upset anyone.
The main question asked in Northern Ireland’s preview is where the goals will come from. Billy Bingham has a lot of praise for Norman Whiteside, predicting him to be a regular Northern Ireland player for the next decade.
Jimmy Greaves has two pages of letters, where a Notts County fan predicts Algeria to win because of Rachid Harkouk, to which Greaves sarcastically responds.
There is a full page dedicate to free-kick experts, listing the best players with this skill, including Platini, Hoddle, Cooper and Molby.
As well as looking forward, Shoot also looks back at England, Scotland and Northern Ireland’s World Cup history.
There are two pages dedicated to Jock Stein, who was Scotland manager during the qualifying campaign until his death after the game against Wales in September 1985, with tributes from Alex Ferguson and Billy McNeill.
There is a competition where you can win a Sinclair ZX Spectrum and Ray Clemence World Cup video game.
The preview ends with an infographic of all the team’s kits.