Diego Maradona, considered one of the greatest footballers in the world, died on Wednesday at the age of 60 due to a cardiac arrest. The Argentine footballer was considered one of the greatest in the world and his skills put him on a different pedestal. In his playing time, Diego Maradona held the world record for the highest transfer fees when he was picked by both FC Barcelona and Napoli which highlighted his star power. However, Diego Maradona is best remembered for his infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal against England in the 1986 World Cup match in Mexico.
What exactly was the ‘Hand of God’ goal? The Argentina vs England match in the 1986 World Cup at the Azteca stadium in Mexico City had a tense background. Both nations had come off the Falklands war a couple of years ago and the rivalry was at fever pitch. With the match between England and Argentina tied at 0-0 at the end of first half, Maradona lit up the stage in the second half. Six minutes into the second half of the match, Maradona passed the ball to his teammate Jorge Valdano as the latter tried to dribble past the English defenders. However, the ball was cleared towards the England goal by defender Steve Hodge.
Rest in peace Hand of God RIP Legend Argentine Legend Rest in Perfect Peace Maradona. pic.twitter.com/97VAmT3UyA
— Skillz ➆ (@plugmanskillz) November 25, 2020
Maradona pounced on the chance but struggled to get the ball against goalkeeper Peter Shilton. Both Maradona and Shilton jumped but the Argentine used his left arm to get the ball and rattle the net to give Argentina the much-needed lead. While English players complained to the referees, Maradona and his Argentine teammates celebrated in joy as the goal stood.
On 22 June 1986 Diego Maradona scored one of the greatest World Cup goals during a 2-1 victory by Argentina over England in the Quarter Final. This goal came after his infamous “Hand of God” goal in the same game. pic.twitter.com/U3F5sb3Hfa
— Prof Frank McDonough (@FXMC1957) November 25, 2020
Infamous and famous the same match
According to rules, Diego Maradona should have received a yellow card for clear handball but due to lack of technology, the referees didn’t get a clear view of the play and the goal was awarded. Replays showed that the first goal was scored by striking the ball with his hand. Diego Maradona later described it as “a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God”. It became known as the “Hand of God”. Ultimately, on 22 August 2005, Diego Maradona acknowledged on a television show that he had hit the ball with his hand purposely, and no contact with his head was made, and that he immediately knew the goal was illegitimate.
Maradona’s second goal, just four minutes after the hotly disputed hand-goal, was later voted by FIFA as the greatest goal in the history of the World Cup. He received the ball in his own half, swivelled around and with 11 touches ran more than half the length of the field, dribbling past five English outfield players (Peter Beardsley, Steve Hodge, Peter Reid, Terry Butcher and Terry Fenwick) before he left goalkeeper Peter Shilton on his backside with a feint, and slotted the ball into the net. This goal was voted “Goal of the Century” in a 2002 online poll conducted by FIFA. The majesty of his second goal and the notoriety of his first led to the French newspaper L’Equipe describing Maradona as “half-angel, half-devil”.
Argentina won the match 2-1 and went on to win the World Cup for the second time by beating West Germany 3-2 in the final. Diego Maradona was responsible for the stupendous display which gave Argentina their triumph. His exploits in the 1986 World Cup cemented his reputation as one of the greatest. RIP, Diego Maradona. You will be truly missed.