England defeated Paraguay, 3-0, today to advance to a World Cup quarterfinal match Sunday against Argentina, the first meeting between athletic teams representing the two countries since the 1982 Falkland Islands war.
In the day's second game, Emilio Butragueno equaled a World Cup record with four goals in leading Spain to a 5-1 rout of Denmark. It was the first four-goal performance in the tournament since Portugal's Eusebio did it in 1966 against North Korea. Spain will play Belgium in the quarterfinals Sunday.
Gary Lineker scored two goals and Peter Beardsley the other to put England into a game that figures to stir the emotions of fans of both teams and should provide some interesting soccer.
The Argentine and English media have hyped the match for days. Published reports out of Argentina have described the burning of British flags on city streets since Argentina's 1-0 victory Monday over Uruguay.
English Coach Bobby Robson, when asked at the postgame news conference today about the political implications of such a matchup, answered angrily: "I'm a football manager, not a politician. Don't ask me those sort of questions."
Argentine Coach Carlos Bilardo, asked a similar question Monday, said simply: "Sports should not be mixed with politics."
A month ago, when Bilardo's star player, Diego Maradona, was asked about a possible match against England, he said: "Politics has nothing to do with soccer. When we take the field, we do not bring bombs and machine guns with us."
The Spanish, who beat Denmark in a shootout in the semifinals of the 1984 European championships, eliminated one of the glamor teams of the competition. The Danes, making their World Cup debut, had been impressive, showing an imaginative attack and strong defense in winning Group E.
But, after taking a 1-0 lead today on a penalty kick by Jesper Olsen, the Danes fell apart. They could not cope with the swift Butragueno and they could not penetrate the Spanish defense, which next will be tested by Belgium in the quarterfinals Sunday.
Andoni Goicoechea also scored, on a penalty kick at 68 minutes, for Spain, which finished second to Brazil in Group D.
Preben Elkjaer, Denmark's top scorer in the tournament, missed a pair of fine chances early in the second half. His 20-yard kick was smothered by Andoni Zubizarreta and shortly afterward he shot wide from almost the same spot.
"Our team played as well as it could," said Denmark Coach Sepp Piontek. "We made a mistake not to hold on at 1-0 but kept on pushing and playing offensively. We came into the World Cup as a surprise, and we leave with a surprise.
"It is not in our mentality to play calculated soccer. We played with our hearts, and that's why we lost. We were shocked when they leveled because it was our own mistake."
After England's victory today, a band of the team's fans was having a tailgate party of sorts outside Azteca Stadium -- plenty of beer but no car. About 10 of them, with cups raised, chanted a tune with the following lyrics:
"In '82, it was a rout/In '86, we'll drink our stout/We'll take no lives, we'll use no tanks/But the gauchos again will give no thanks."
"I hope no one takes this seriously," said James Marks, a London investment counselor who led the choir. "It's possible the Argentines might be more sensitive about it than us. I think the only ones who make a big deal out of it are our English newspapers. They love to sell papers with bloody nonsense."
With England's victory today, Europe has advanced five teams (France, West Germany, Belgium, Spain and England) to the quarterfinals, an unexpected development in a Latin America-based World Cup.
England continued its remarkable turnaround. After going scoreless in its first two Cup matches, against Portugal and Morocco, it has posted back-to-back, 3-0 victories over Poland and Paraguay.
"We really didn't start that slowly," Robson said. "We played very well against Portugal, well enough to win. And you saw what West Germany did yesterday against Morocco. So we did well to tie Morocco, playing 50 minutes with only 10 men. Today, we did marvelously well."
Today's match had figured to be low-scoring, since only three players from these two teams had scored in a combined six Cup matches (Lineker for England, Roberto Cabanas and Julio Cesar Romero for Paraguay).
In the 29th minute of a game that started slowly, Paraguay's Adolfino Canete sent a hard shot on goal from 20 yards that Peter Shilton leaped for and knocked over the crossbar with his hand.
Two minutes later, Terry Butcher tried to clear the ball to Shilton, but hit it too weakly. As Shilton came out, Paraguay's Alfredo Mendoza got the ball deep on the right side, but his angle on the untended goal was too shallow. By the time he passed to Canete, Shilton had gotten back into position and blocked the shot.
England got its first goal in the 32nd minute. From the right side, Butcher sent a crossing pass to Steve Hodge at the far post. Goalkeeper Roberto Fernandez went out to meet Hodge, who sent a roller across the goal mouth. Lineker, who was prone in front of the goal, stuck out a foot and poked the ball home.
England made it 2-0 in the 11th minute of the second half. Butcher's hard shot was blocked by Romero, but Beardsley got the rebound and scored -- the first Cup goal by an English player other than Lineker. The goal came with only 10 English players on the field; Lineker had just been taken off on a stretcher because of an elbow in the throat.
Lineker returned quickly, however, and scored his fifth goal of the tournament in the 28th minute of the second half.