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Malcolm Howard

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Mexico '86

Mexico '86

Mexico '86

"A credit to Qualsoft to see just how complex an idea can be programmed into the Electron."
Electron User

"There's plenty to keep the football fan happy until Mexico '86."
The Micro User


In the summer of 1986, in Mexico City, we will see the culmination of two years of the most prestigeous soccer competition last held in 1982. Something approaching 100 international football sides will fight it out over those two years so that they can be there, in that cauldron of a stadium, to determine the world champions for the next four years. Mexico will be a festival of football, for many young fans, the first time they have seen the World Cup finals, and for many older English fans the memory of Mexico in 1970, the brilliant match against Brazil and the heart-breaking match against West Germany, will, whet the appetites for Mexico 1986.

For two years now, Qualsoft have developed the art of soccer management simulation in the field of club football, and, to celebrate the 1985/1986 World Cup year, have applied the many lessons learned from those years to produce a game to stimulate the unique nature of international team management in the context of the World Cup.

The game has been split into two parts: the World Cup qualifiers and the Finals as they will be played out in Mexico. In the qualifiers, we have stuck to England's qualifying group, along with a few friendly matchers which the England team actually played just before the qualifiers began; France in paris, the USSR at Wembley, and the South American tour against Brazil, Uraguay and Chile. We have taken advantage of the unknown aspects of the finals by following their structure, but by providing our own draw which will produce a different path to the final each time you play the game.

It's worth mentioning here that the FA have informed us of changes in the finals that have been written into the game. The preliminary part of the final tournament will be six leagues of four with the top two from each league, and the best four losers, going forward into a 16 team knockout competition. Another important change is that only twenty players will be allowed for each squad but all these players, injuries permitting, will be available for the match. Eleven players will of course take the field, but the two substitutions will be allowed from all remaining nine players, not just five named players as in the past. These changes have been introduced into the "Finals" tape.

Since Alf Ramsey proved the importance of intelligent management in international football, we have, as England manager, had a sequence of successful club managers who have failed to make the grade at international level. There is of course a much more severe demand on the international manager to judge the exact abilities of players and how those abilities will blend to form a successful team. At club level a manger has the opportunity to work with his players six days a week a season and can slowly build up the teamwork so necessary for success. At international level, he will get his players together for perhaps three days befoe a match a dozen times a season. There just isn't the opportunity to force a blend into the side, a successful blend must be visualised by the manager based on his reading of the individual player abilities. It takes judgement and imagination to firstly choose a team, and then an accurate assessment of players and the effectiveness of combinations of players during the match.

In Mexico '86 we have tried to simulate these requirements. You're looking for a good blend of in-form players; the problem for you as manager, is to quickly determine the form of the players, and as you experiment with your team to constantly keep in mind the blend of abilities of your team selections. Dropping an out of form player from your team will often mean, not just providing a direct replacement, but rearranging the team because the abilities of your replacement player do not match those of the dropped one. A couple of key injuries which force you to replace players can literally send you "back to the drawing board".

MEXICO '86 is a game that simulates international football management, in the setting of the 1986 World Cup. It's a game in which we have tried to combine the fun and pleasure associated with the game of football and with its most important competition, while simultaneously providing a real challenge to your knowledge of the game. You will find a wide (60 in all) variety of "levels" to supply the particular combination that suits you. So find the right combination for you and good luck!

Setting The Scene

It's the 22nd of February 1984, and in one week the England team is to visit Paris to play France. England will not be playing in the European Nations Cup this summer, having lost out to Denmark in the qualifiers that have just finished. We have seen a succession of mediocre performances from the England team over several seasons now and once again we will watch a major international competition without any home international team interest. English football is at its lowest ebb.

But there's hope! The current England manager has resigned and you have been chosen to lead England into the World Cup qualifiers that will begin this Autumn.

You now have to put together some sort of team to take on France in Paris. No-one will blame you if you scrap the entire squad and begin from scratch with your own choices, your own least for the moment they won't. However if you fail to take England to the World Cup finals with your own squad and ideas then you'll quickly find how easily the press and public will allocate blame.

This summer will give you a real opportunity to give your ideas a real trial with a match at Wembley against the USSR followed by a trip to South America to play Brazil, Uruguay and Chile within the space of one week. It will be up to you to put together the beginnings of a World-beating squad during these frendlies, because from now on the pressure is on with the World Cup qualifiers beginning.

You haven't been given a difficult qualification group, and the top two teams will qualify for the finals but in a 5 team League, with only 8 matches to play, you cannot afford to slip up too often. And yet you will need to experiment further if you're to take to Mexico a team which truly stands a chance of beating the best in the World.

Should you succeed in qualifying, and if you don't you're guaranteed of the boot, then you will need to take your best squad of 20 players to Mexico.

Eleven players never made a team, particularly when matches at the finals will sometimes be separated by only 2 days, and when the opposition will put out teams with formations varying from a 5 man-defence/sweeper formation to attacking 4-2-4 combinations. With 2 substitues allowed from your remaining nine players then the possibility for effective tactical substitutions is enormous. So you will want 20 good players, not 11.

The draw for the "league of four" preliminaries has something of a Wimbledon style "fix" about it, with seeds and qualification group winners being distributed evenly throughout the groups. This means that as a winner of your qualifying group you will have an easier time than as the second place qualifier; a group being made up of a seed, a group winner, a second level qualifier and a minnow (Morocco, Canada, etc...if you're lucky). As a qualifier in second place you will have a seed and a group winner to content with, but as group winner, a seed and only a second level qualifier. As the top two teams in this league will automatically qualify for the last 16, while the 3rd team will have to sit it out and see if it is a "best loser" it's an obvious advantage to have a less able team along with the seed as your main competition.

From here on it is no mistakes at all! From here on you have to win everything. It may take extra time, it may even take a penalty shoot-out, but you must win! Failure to do so means you're out. From here on it's the last 16, the Quarter Finals, the semi Finals and the Final. All must be won if you're to become Champions for 1986-1990.

The Remainder Of The Manual

At this point it is worth commenting that the game can be played without ploughing your way through the rest of the manual. It is probably best to now get some idea of the program by playing the game, and merely to refer to the rest if you meet any particular difficulty. When you come to play the game at the higher levels it will benefit you to go through the remaining pages to obtain best results, but at this first time of reading the full twenty pages will become a little indigestable, for youngsters even intimidating, merely because describing in writing is often must more laborious than actually doing what is needed. You will find the way the game is laid out is very much self explanatary in terms of the correct operations.

Insights Into The Game

MEXICO '86 is the latest in a long line of soccer management simulations by Qualsoft. We deliberately use the word "simulation", and we use the word in the way it is defined in any dictionary; in an attempt to imitate the decisions made by a manager in his efforts to produce a winning side. These decisions are obviously about players' skills, their form, and above all the effectiveness of particular combinations of players; the blend of players. The computer will respond to your decisions as manager in a manner owing much to "Artificial Intelligence" techniques, so that the progress if the game will follow the quality of your decision making; punishing bad decisions and rewarding good ones in the way it ought, in the performance of your team on the field of play.

MEXICO '86 is specifically about International soccer management, as against our other games of club management. There are two crucial differences between the two. The first different is in the contact that occurs between manager and players, which, in the case of the club manager is on a day-to-day basis, but for the International manager is very much along the lines of 3 days every two months or so. The second is in the players available to each manager; the club manager having to make the most of his limited choice allowed by his club finances, while the International manager has access, quite literally, to the best his country has to offer. The first is obviously a major disadvantage for the International manager but the second definitely an advantage.

These two differences totally change the actual decisions the two managers have to make. Howard Kendal, following Everton's success this last season, surprised many journalists and media gurus (who shall remain unnamed) by pointing out that his team had not suddenly sprung to prominence in 1984/85 but that this season was the culmination of a building process which began four years earlier. Owners of our SOCCER SUPREMO and DIVISION ONE '85 games will recognise this long-term building process that is necessary to achieve success. Although International sides are not built overnight they are built over 20 or so matches rather than the 200 in four seasons of club football. Weaknesses in the side are more often cured by turning to alternative players rather than prolonged patience with players who can slowly have their rough edges smoothed.

Indeed the International manager is very much dependant on his club colleagues to mature the younger players and prepare them for International honours. His skill is then to recognise the potential of these players and how they can fit into his plans to produce a successful team, and introduce them into the team to help their transition from good club players to Internationals.

Having access to the best players in the country is the saving grace for the International manager, but it's also a trap that many managers easily fall into. Introducing a player because he is showing good club form without any thought as to how he will fit into the team is probably the commonest mistake of the past decade of English football, and responsible for the lack of cohesion that has plagued English teams. Producing an International side that displays teamwork is the greatest problem for the International manager and the commonest form of failure.

This leads us to the essence of Mexico '86, producing a good blend of in-form players. The two operative terms are "good blend" which refers to a blend that can lead to a group of players that can transcend their individual qualities and produce "teamwork" and "in-form" which expects the manager to recognise players that are not only good Internationals but are on the top of their form.

For blend, you are given complete control over the players you choose, their skills and best positions, but the computer will investigate your combinations of players and create appropriate weaknesses if you fail to match those players intelligently. There are many successful blends of players but there are even more combinations which will lead to nothing more than a ragbag of individuals.

As for form, the computer will allocate form on a controlled basis to the players but in a different way each time you play the game, and the problem that you face is to find the in-form players by experimentation in the qualifying stages. You must use the five friendly matches and the easier of the qualification group matches to determine which players are playing to their potential. The last thing you want is to be experimenting during the finals themselves.

The Football Matches

We have discussed the essence of Mexico '86 as developing a good blend of in-form players. This is, of course, only the starting point on the way to winning the World Cup as there will be a number of other such teams equally keen to take the coveted title. As a manager you will have to go a little further than a good team to come away with the Jules Rimet trophy. So how do you go about achieving your goal.

The purpose of your managerial decision making is to win football matches, so what better way to determine the success or failure or your decisions than to have the results determined in the form of a football match? No, you needn't get out your boots, because Mexico '86 will in fact actually simulate the matches for you. By that we don't mean the computer will calculate a result and throw up some pre-programmed graphics to correspond, but actually play out a football match with all the unpredictability and skill weighting of the real game.

A football match is a logical sequence of events but where the outcome of any one event is unpredictable (the outcome of a tackle for example). However the event that follows it is logical (a pass, or an attempt to run the ball forward by the team in possession) but the outcome of that is again unpredictable (is the pass successful, is it intercepted, etc.). And the whole football match is a sequence of these events, each event in itself unpredictable in its outcome, but having been decided the next event is known. Although we have referred to the outcome as "unpredictable" it is, of course, weighted according to the skills of the players involved in that particular event; like a loaded dice. And so the result of the football match will be a combination of the unpredictable superimposed on the tendancy for the superior skills to succeed.

This sequence of unpredictable but biased events can be simulated on a computer and the resulting effect will simulate the football match. By tying the "bias" element to the appropriate skills of the two teams, appropriate to the event taking place, then the result of the simulated football match will reflect the various skills of the two teams, with that all important unpredictable element giving the game realism. It is important, of course, that the right balance of form (combined skills) and the unexpected is achieved. After 2 years of simulated football matches, we believe that we have achieved that balance.

If all that sounds very complicated then don't worry, please just accept that the football matches you will see in Mexico '86 are reasonably accurate simulations of the real thing.

We've talked about the "appropriate bias" which affects the outcome of an event and that this corresponds to a skill of the teams. For the purposes of the simulation we have split up the skills of the team into five areas which also correspond to areas of the field. There is the purely defensive skill of preventing attempts on goal, which means in the end preventing goals. This is obviously associated with the abilities of the team in and around the penalty area. This will mainly be determined by the skills of the goalkeeper and the back four, with a little bit of help from midfield and attack. There is the skill which links defence and midfield which has the dual purpose of preventing opposition attacks being mounted by dispossessing the opposition attack of the ball, and of moving the ball out of defence when you have achieved that dispossession. This involves the back four and the midfield players. There is the skill of winning and retaining the ball in midfield, obviously mainly the job of the midfield, but again with a bit of help from attack and defence.

Then there is the skill of translating midfield possession into attacking possession, the skill provided by midfield and attack (notice this is the opposite of the second skill we mentioned and it is these two skills that will be involved in the outcome of an attempt by a team to move into attack). Finally there is the skill of creating attempts on goal from attacking possession, the skill provided by the strikers with some help from midfield and a little from defence. Five skills of possession and territory which is what all football games (whatever the shape of the ball) are about.

It is obviously possible to change the overall level of these skills and therefore improve the team, but also possible to change the balance of the skills and therefore produce different "styles" of team play. In Mexico '86 you will be told of the ability of the opposition (not as numbers but as description) and also the "formation" of the side. The ability refers to the overall strength of the side and the "formation" to the balance of skills.

Your own team skills will be calculated by the computer from a combination of the individual skills of the players you select and the blend of players. The second part of this can vary in severity depending on your choice of "dimensional blend" which you choose at the beginning of the game (described later in the manual). The higher the level of sophistication the more severe the computer will be in down-grading your strengths as a result of any poor balance in the side. As the resulting football match with its "biased" event outcome will be determined by the relative skills of the two sides, then your own choice of blend will preferably be a reaction to the description of the opposition. Which is a fancy way of saying that you pick a side to defeat the opposition as described by "strength" and "formation".

Now all we have to do is show you the match, with three things in mind. The result of the match has to be determined. You will need to be shown how your team performs so that you will be able to decide on the strengths and weaknesses of your team in order that you can improve it. You will also reasonably expect to be able to "interfere" with the progress of the match with tactical substitutions or simply by moving players around to alter the balance of your team. It would also be a bonus if the match is entertaining and can generate a little of the excitement of the real thing.

In Mexico '86 we have taken some of the precious memory of your computer to produce a reasonable graphics representation of a football pitch with 22 players moving the ball around corresponding to the simulated game taking place within the computer. If the above description of how the simulated match actually works was confusing then I hope it will fall into place as you see the football actually displayed. By watching the play you will be able to see how well your team is performing in the five skills we have described as your team wins and loses possession of the ball in different areas of the pitch, and you will certainly be left in no doubt, by sound and sight, when goals are scored. The score and time left to play in any one half is constantly displayed, including extra time (in the knockout part of the finals) and even the penalty shootouts are recognisable as such, if you come to such a climax. During the game, hitting S key will cause the referee to stop play, admittedly all in his own good time, to allow you to make any substitutions you may think needed. By hitting the T (for Tactics) you will be allowed to move players backwards or forwards as often as you wish, and as many players as you wish (you can move them back again if it doesn't work out, or more likely if it does work out).

And what's more we think it's fun.

Following the game you will be given an accurate assessment of each individual's performance during the match. So from the match you will see the effectiveness of the blend you've created and the assessment will complete the picture.

Tactics And Strategy

The football match will thus give you a good insight into the state of your team and what is likely to be necessary to improve it. Early on in the qualifying stages then there will, more than likely, be a number of problems to solve, although it is worth taking one problem at a time. You can then introduce extra players when you believe that certain players are not playing up to their potential. Following a match, you will first be shown the details of the next match and the descriptions of the opposition, and then shown a screen which contains all the descriptions of the opposition, and then shown a screen which contains all the players you have used up to that point. You can now add whatever players you need before moving on to your squad selection. You can use up to a maximum of 36 players, and just 16 players are already chosen. There is nothing sacred about these players, send them back to Italy (or Liverpool) if you choose, but they have been chosen to save you the long-winded process of defining your first sixteen players all at once. A description of these players is given which will inform you, in a round-about way, of how they have been defined to the computer (for its blend calculations). This leaves you 20 players which you can name and define for yourself.

After each game you will probably wish to try out two or three new players in the next match, even if only on the susbtitutes' bench, until you're happy with the team. Assuming you qualify, remember that you will need 20 players for your final squad, so having eleven good players isn't really enough especially if you have chosen to have the injury feature included. But even without that feature you will meet teams with team formations that vary from 5-3-2, referred to as the "sweeper" formation, to an attacking 4-2-4.

It usually pays to pick different formation teams to oppose such wide variations in style. It's also very useful to have good substitutes available in all positions in case you need to force the match your way. So don't stop experimenting when you have eleven good players, start looking for good backup players.

We've mentioned in the "Football Match" section that it is possible to make both substitutions and also to move players around. This isn't just a cosmetic feature, pushing players forward when you're in need of a goal, dropping them back when you want to hang on to a lead or achieve a draw, can work. The computer will recalculate your balance when you do this. If you're a goal down then there's everything to be gained and little to be lost by pushing players forward, despite weakening your defence. Substitutions of course can produce even greater changes in formation and therefore style, substituting a striker for a midfield player with an original 4-3-3 formation will produce a genuine 4-2-4 formation. If you're playing with the "short term form variation" feature and you notice that a particular section of your team is not playing up to expectation then the judicious use of a substitution can rectify that.

In your original choice of team you can put together literally any combination of players that you wish, and with two substitutes from 5 (from 9 in the finals) and as many player movements as you wish, then the number of combinations, and change of combinations, possible is enormous. It pays not to be too outrageous with unusual formations, the 4-4-2, 4-3-3 and 4-2-4 formations, as in the real game, tend to be good starting points. There isn't a lot of room for error in a World Cup competition, you will need the five friendlies to put together a reasonably good side, and can afford no more than a couple of failures in the qualifying games, and you'll still want to experiment with players during those when you can. By the finals you need to be reasonably sure of the players you will want to use. You're the England manager now, you can't play around.

Operating Instructions

The game has been designed to make the actual operation fairly straight forward. In the main the computer will ask you for instructions in a way which makes it obvious how to give them. The skill of the game is in your decision making, not in your ability to operate the keys. But this section should clear up any problems you may find.


Level of Play: There are five levels of play and their names make it obvious which is the most difficult etc. Level 2 is the "correct" level, the difficulty around which the entire game has been designed. The level of play will determine the overall skill levels of the teams that you play, allowing younger players to have a chance of not only managing the England team but of winning the World Cup. The level of play does not affect the sophistication of the decision making.

Dimensions: The computer will interrogate your team selections with a severity set by your choice of dimension. If you choose dimension 1 then the computer will concern itself with your choice purely on the basis of defence, midfield and attack. This is in effect the formation you choose to play. It is not necessary to state your formation as the computer will calculate this from the players you select. Dimension 2 will cause the computer to analyse your selection, not only as above, but also from a left, centre and right point of view. An obvious example: if you fail to play a natural left back then the computer will generate a "weakness" in your defence which could affect the result of a match. The computer will look for balance across the field as well as along it. Dimension 3 will take into account the individual dominant skills of the players and combine them to judge the balance or blend of your team from a skill point of view. As an example, three goal scoring strikers will not be as effective as two goal scorers and one goal maker. Players able to score without players able to generate chances are going to have problems. In dimension 3 this sort of analysis will take place on your team.

Injuries: Injuries can really throw out your strategy very badly, particularly as you try to build up your squad and haven't yet determined natural, in-form replacements. You can choose to omit them, and we advise that you do until you have come to terms with the game.

Short term form changes: Even in-form players can have "off days" and by choosing to allow short term changes then two problems arise. The first, that your most skilful players will sometimes let you down, and secondly that your assessment of players can be a little confused if you are too quick to judge. But as you only have a relatively small number of matches on which to base them then your judgements may be suspect. Best to leave this feature until last when you know all about the game.

With all features chosen: 3 dimensions, injuries and form variations then decision making becomes head spinning at times.

Choosing players: The game starts off with 16 players whom you will recognise as regular English Internationals. You can add up to 20 more players of your own. You will be asked to define them; first their surnames, then initials, then their 1 dimensional position (Goal, Def, Mid, Att). If you go for 2 dimenstions then you will be asked for their optimum L/C/R position, and in the third dimension skill characteristics. Surnames should not exceed ten letters; in fact the player will be known to the computer by his initials for ease of team selection later on (Who wants to type in the whole name each time?). This does mean that players with the same initials will not be accepted. The most obvious example of this is Terry Fenwick and Trevor Francis, both TF as far as the computer is concerned. If you try to enter a player whose initials correspond to a player already chosen then you will be told so. I just change the initial of the new player either to a nickname or just to A. When selecting your team you can always access your players so any loss of memory on a substituted initial can be remedied by looking at the screen of selected players.

Team selection: Although numbers from 1 to 16 are used on the team sheet the only rule you have to follow is that 1 to 11 take the field and 12 to 16 are the five substitutes. The use of numbers is your own. If you like Ray Wilkins with No. 4 on his back and Terry Butcher with 6 then go ahead. If you prefer 4 and 5 to be Centre Backs then fine. If you choose 1 goalkepper, 4 defenders, 3 midfield players and 3 strikers, then the computer will assume a 4-3-3 formation regardless of your numbering system. It will help you however if you use a sensible system. Incidentally, don't try two (11 perhaps) goalkeepers as the ultimate defensive ploy as the computer will accept only the first and play the other as an outfield player, and not a very good outfield player at that.

You will find that by hitting the key P then you can display all players available at that time, even then adding players if you wish (and haven't used your 36 maximum selections). You can in fact jump back and forth between the teamsheet and your total player selections as often as your wish to help your memory out. With over thirty players it is often very necessary.

Sound and Colour Selection: During the football matches, there are sound effects which may get on someone's nerves. Before each match you can turn the sound on or off as you wish.

Colour may seem a peculiar choice, but we have found that the best colour for text on the graphics screen does depend on whether you are using a TV set or a monitor. With a TV set we find that white is more easily read than if we use colour because of the fuzzyness, of red in particular, whereas with a monitor, because of the relatively pale, bright green then white is not easily read. We suggest that you try white and colour on your system and then stick to the one you prefer. It is not necessary to keep choosing it, having set it to one or the other it will remain there unless you choose to change. The default value will be white.

Tactics and Substitutes: During the match then changes can be made to your team should you think the way the game is going demands it. By pressing the T key the game will freeze and you can move as many players around as you wish. You will be asked to define the player by his number (hence the advantage in using a sensible numbering system) and then move him (F)orward or (B)ack. Doing this once will move a player by half a position. Thus a midfield player moved forward will be positioned halfway between the midfield and the attack. Move him forward twice and he becomes an attacker.

Any player moved can be returned and there is no limitation to the number of such moves, but keep track or you won't know where you are. A defensive player cannot be moved back (he can but nothing will happen, as is true of the goalkeeper) or an attacking player forward.

Two substitutions are allowed and you have five substitutes on the bench in the qualifiers. Just press S, wait 'til the ref. responds, and then define the player to come off (by number) and the one to go on, again by number. You will find that you cannot substitute a player twice or move around a player who has been taken off, but of course you can move around the player who has gone onto the field.

Save Game for Finals: If you successfully qualify for the finals by coming in the first two places in your qualification group, then a prompt is given instructing you to place a blank cassette in your recorder. This is to record the details of your players, choice of levels, etc, and to pass the information on to the "Finals" program. Place the tape in the recorder, set it in record mode and run a few seconds to take it off the leader tape then press RETURN to record that information.

That just about wraps up the details on operation of the Qualifiers, there are some slight changes in the Finals because of the 2 from 9 substitution rule.


LOADing the SAVEd game: After loading the "Finals" program tape the first prompt will be to load in the information that you saved on the blank tape on qualifying. If you haven't qualified, load in the qualification tape and play the game as it's intended to be played!

Finals Squad: In the finals you are only allowed 20 players and you must choose from the players that you used during the qualifiers. Each player is given a Squad Number and from here on they will be referred to either by their initials or by their squad number. The initials are in fact used only in your team selection. On completing your selection all other players will be eliminated from this particular game. The "squad of 20" screen thus created can be used as the "players selected" screen in the qualifiers; you will be able to jump back and forth between this screen and the team-sheet screen to aid your memory.

Team Sheet: All twenty players are available for your matches, but you must define the eleven players that take the field at the start. The team sheet therefore only shows these eleven players. Injured players cannot be used in the team nor put on as substitutes, although you can put their names on the team sheet. The computer will not allow you to continue to the match itself, if you have injured players in your chosen eleven. Again, pressing P from the team-sheet screen will take you to your squad of 20 list.

Substitutions: The game operates as the qualifiers from here on, the one difference being that players are referred to by their squad numbers. To remove a player from the field his squad number must be used, and the substitute also by his. The same is true of tactical movement of players.


Sixteen players have been introduced into the game to save you the laborious task of inputting so many names and descriptions for the first match. They are probably all players you would wish to try out at some time. You have the opportunity to use a further 20 players of your own choosing. A brief description has been given to help you use the players correctly in the game.

Peter Shilton: Peter has been around the England squad for many years now playing second fiddle to Ray Clemence for some time. However he is now one of the few England players who is pencilled into the team without thought.

Gary Stevens: Recently drafted in at right back following Everton's runaway success this season. An aggressive, no-nonsense player that will always give everything. But has he the experience to handle the world's best strikers?

Kenny Sansom: Kenny fills one of the difficult positions for the England manager; the left back position. Reliable, cool and experienced, but definitely lacks height which makes him vulnerable to high balls.

Mark Wright: Has emerged for the moment as one of England's central defenders but there are other pretenders to his position. Has the aerial power to deal with those teams with tall strikers, but suspect on the ground.

Terry Butcher: Another central defender with great strength in the air but a little suspect on the ground. Has the experience perhaps to overcome that flaw, expecially with no obvious replacement around.

Ray Wilkins: A play maker of the highest calibre when he isn't in one of his more negative moods. Played very much on the right side before moving to Italy, but now seems to operate more loosely as a forward sweeper (Libero?).

Bryan Robson: For some time the English captain, a player with tremendous determination. A fighter rather than a natural ball player. Showed some fatigue in England's recent trip to S. America. A long club season, the heat, thin air?

Trevor Steven: Another Everton Player that has forced his way into the England squad this season. Seems to prefer the left, a runner with the ball rather than a skilled passer, fights tenaciously like most of the Everton team.

Trevor Francis: Potentially one of England's world class players with the pace to take on any defender. Likes to run onto the ball particularly from the right. On form he can be a match winner, but how often is he on form?

Mark Hateley: Young, aggressive, what is thought of as the typical English striker. His time in Italy seems to have sharpened him and has a good scoring record in his short career. Loves to be in the box mixing it.

John Barnes: For some he can do no wrong since his brilliant goal against Brazil, but hasn't shown consistent form since. Plays mainly on the left where he tends to create goals rather than score them.

Gary Bailey: Three years ago was considered the natural successor to Peter Shilton but hasn't matured as rapidly as he might. Has usually turned in a good performance though when he has replaced Shilton.

Viv Anderson: The right back position has been an unsettled one since Phil Neal lost some of his pace. Viv has played as often as anyone in that position, maybe he's the player for Mexico.

Glenn Hoddle: The most argued about footballer in the British game. Can be the most brilliant playmaker if he's allowed his head and the run of the midfield, but can you allow that? The pace of Mexico may just suit his style.

Chris Waddle: Left sided striker from the not-so-fashionable North East. Could be the player to lend width to the England attack, where he'll be expected to feed the likes of Hateley.

Gary Lineker: A prolific goal scorer for a not-so-successful club, not an easy thing to be. Little experience and it's dangerous to read too much into matches against teams like the USA, but could be the goal scorer England need.

Publisher's Comments

When we published our first soccer management simulation LEAGUE DIVISION ONE in 1983 I would never have believed that Mexico '86 was a game that could be put, as a tape game, onto the current 8-bit home computers. We've come a long, long way since that first game. I'm particularly pleased by the way in which the game has been made accessable to such a wide audience, by which I mean such a wide age range. The fixed sophistication of our original games, along with the limited graphics meant that most youngsters below 12 or so were excluded from enjoying the game. This, despite the fact that these youngsters are the most enthusiastic of football fans. By the inclusion, in Mexico '86, of five levels of play and 12 "depths of sophistication", the game can now quite happily be played by the average 8-year old with a reasonable chance of success, while still providing the severest test of understanding of what makes the game tick for the most sophisticated adult. Add to this, not only "fun" graphics, but graphics which recognisably represent a football match, and we are very pleased to offer this program to our own rapidly growing fan club.

Qualsoft have always offered their games by "Direct Sale", which is not strictly Mail Order as some would have, but actually means buying direct from the manufacturer. Customers some up with many questions about out games as they try to solve the problems posed. No dealer, and certainly no High Street multiple wants to be pestered with queries about the games they sell. But we have had many a fascinating chat with our customers about the games and we sincerely hope that Mexico '86 will generate as much controversy as out club games to even greater heights. So, please, send us your letters and make your telephone calls; you will get an enthusiastic audience for your views.

Just a point about tape loading. We use the best tapes (AGFA and BASF) and carry out our own quality control checks. There are two recordings of each tape in our package. But nothing anyone can do can avoid the occasional loading problems, particularly considering the range of recordere used, many totally unsuitable for computer use despite what teh salesman told you. If you are one of the unlucky ones that receives a bad tape (about 1 in 2000) then please bear with us; we will do our best to supply you with one suitable for your recorder.


Cover Art Language(s): English
Compatibility: BBC Model B, BBC Model B+, BBC Master 128, Acorn Electron
Release: Professionally released On Cassette
Original Release Date: 1st Mar 1986
Links: Everygamegoing,

Cover Art

Media Scan Images


Mexico '86 (Cassette)
Mexico '86 (5.25" Disc)