On This Day 36 Years Ago: Diego Maradona scores 'The Hand of God' and 'FIFA Goal of the Century'

Argentina has produced great footballers of all time but none so have been more iconic than Diego Maradona. The most infamous incident of his great life completes 36 years today.

Diego Maradona celebrates winning the 1986 World Cup with Argentina. (Image: Twitter)

Argentina has produced some of the greatest footballers of all time but none so have been more iconic than the great, Diego Maradona. A career that witnessed almost everything from success to failures to controversies, the legend of Diego Maradona is well known to every person in the footballing world. However, possibly the most infamous incident of his great life completes 36 years today. An outing that English fans and players will never forget caused a major wave of disagreement and awe just four minutes apart. During the 1986 FIFA World Cup Match between Argentina and England, Maradona used his hand to punch the ball inside the England net and later dribbled all the way past the England team himself to score one of the greatest goals of all time.

The stage was the quarter final match of the 1986 World Cup between Argentina and England at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. The build-up to the match powered by footballing as well as non-footballing reasons certainly created an exciting atmosphere between two of the best national teams at the time. Undoubtedly, much of the spotlight was on Diego Maradona who was playing in the prime of his career and had helped his club side, Napoli finish third in the Serie A in the campaign prior to the World Cup.

The first half went by without much action and goal scoring chances. But the second half would make its way to the history books for highly contrasting reasons. In the 51st minute of the game, Maradona used what was apparently his fist to put the ball beyond the reach of the England goalkeeper, Peter Shilton. The Argentine named this moment in his post-match interview as ‘The Hand of God’. Maradona celebrated the goal like any other and that certainly helped the cause in the goal not being disallowed. However, just four minutes later Maradona put all this behind by taking the ball in his stride from the halfway line and taking it all the way to score what was later awarded as the ‘FIFA Goal of the Century’.

Aftermath of ‘The Hand of God’

The England players had certainly seen the illegal act of play by Maradona and had led numerous unsuccessful protests to the referee. The referee, Bin Nasser and the linesman, Bogdan Dotchev would go on blaming each other for years after the incident. England coach, Bobby Robson was visibly distraught at the call not to disallow the goal in such an important match, especially considering the fact that England had pulled one goal back later in the game. Maradona’s shirt from the game fetched a record $9 million in an auction earlier this year.

As fate would have it, Argentina were crowned World Cup Champions that year, their second ever triumph. They got the better of West Germany in the final at the same venue and the great man delivered the winning assist to become one of the all time greats. Maradona was lauded for his great displays over the course of the tournament but the four-minute spell against England will forever be a great talking point for generations to come.

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