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WORLD CUP; ENGLAND IS ELIMINATED BY ARGENTINA, 2-1

By ALEX YANNIS, SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES (NYT) 533 words
Published: June 23, 1986

MEXICO CITY, June 22 -

Diego Armando Maradona pushed Argentina into the semifinals of the World Cup this afternoon by displaying his brilliance and confirming the claims of his followers that he is the world's best soccer player.

The elusive forward was a marvel to watch throughout the game at Aztec Stadium, but the second of his two goals in Argentina's 2-1 defeat of England, will be etched for a long time in the minds of the 114,580 fans who saw it in person and the millions of others who watched it on television throughout the world.

Argentina will face Belgium, which defeated Spain in 5-4 shootout, in a semifinal match on Wednesday.

Bobby Robson, England's coach, called it ''a miracle goal, a fantastic goal.'' Carlos Bilardo, Argentinia's coach, called it ''a thing of beauty.''

It was a goal that required such dribbling skill, speed and finishing power that of all the soccer players in the world at this level, only Maradona could have scored it. Weaves Through Defense

Picking up the ball near the midfield line on the right, he dribbled past Peter Reid, Terry Butcher and Terry Fenwick, all experienced defenders, one after the other. He continued by eluding Peter Shilton, the English goalkeeper, who came out to block Maradona's path. A low volley past the far post followed and the Aztec Stadium erupted in cheers for the stocky Mardona.

Maradona's first goal, five minutes into the second half, was vehemently disputed by the English players, especially Shilton, but to no avail as the Tunisian referee, Ali Bennacur, let the goal stand. Television replays showed that Maradona had apparently hit the ball past Shilton with his hand rather than his head.

''The first goal was handed,'' Robson said. ''That cost us the result. The second goal was fantastic. I didn't like it, but I admired it.''

So did the crowd, especially the Argentine fans, whose white and blue flags outnumbered the Union Jacks in a match that fans from both sides called ''The Malvinas II,'' an allusion to the war the two countries fought over the Falkland, or Malvina, Islands. Order Restored

Fans from both countries engaged in a small altercation behind the south goal shortly after intermission, when Argentine fans grabbed a Union Jack from the English fans, but the flag was returned after the police intervened.

After Maradona's second goal, which came in the 54th minute, Argentina slowed down and that enabled the English to take control. But all the English could manage, however, was Gary Lineker's sixth goal, tops in the World Cup, on a header in the 80th minute.

Robson said in his postgame remarks that the key to the game was Maradona and Argentina's domination in midfield. He said his midfielders failed to provide any service to the forwards, but he declined to name anyone. It was obvious, however, that Glenn Hoddle, who picked Paraguay's midfield apart in England's 3-0 victory last Wednesday, was not the same man this afternoon.

Perhaps the English midfielders were too preoccupied with Maradona since no one on the team had the specific assignment of marking him. Robson defended his strategy by saying that ''no man can mark Maradona. He was everyone's responsibility.''

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