On this day: Maradona's 'Hand of God' against England in the 1986 World Cup

Argentine legend Maradona had said that the goal came from "the head of Maradona and the hand of God."

Diego Maradona goes up with the England goalkeeper Peter Shilton, after outstripping the English defence. The Argentine put out an adroit hand to push the ball into the goal, and got away with it too.   -  AP

A time jump of 34 years at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City now, would land us in the middle of one of the greatest matches that football has ever witnessed. On 22 June 1986,  Argentina and England were battling it out in the quarterfinals of the 1986 FIFA World Cup to find themselves closer to the invaluable trophy.

The game being held four years after the Malvinas War between Argentina and the United Kingdom had added a prickly edge to the already intense Argentina-England football rivalry.

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The first half saw an equal creation of chances. A little later however, Diego Maradona's boys began to dominate the game. Unlucky for the La Albiceleste, England goalkeeper Peter Shilton was at his best, and had blocked a number of Maradona's shots. Maradona, then just 25 years old was entering the prime of his career. He had broken the world transfer record for the second time by joining Napoli from Barcelona for £6.9 million in 1984, and helped the Serie A side finish third after they had narrowly avoided relegation the season before he signed.

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Argentina won the game 2–1 and went on to win the 1986 World Cup with a victory over West Germany in the final. Maradona won the Golden Ball for player of the tournament.   -  AP


 

At the end of the first half, although Argentina had higher possession, they had not breached the resolute English defence. Little did the English know then, what was to befall in the second half.

The game resumed and only six minutes into the half came what was to to be known as the "Hand of God".

English midfielder Steve Hodge tried to clear a ball away from the box but hooked the ball to Maradona. Shilton came out of his goal to punch the ball clear. But Maradona, reached it first and with his left hand guided the ball to the net. Tunisian referee Ali Bin Nasser claimed he did not see the offence and allowed the goal, although the English players strongly appealed for a handball.

At the post-match press conference, Maradona said that the goal came from "the head of Maradona and the hand of God."

Just four minutes after that goal, however, came another goal-- one that is often hailed to be the greatest individual goal of all time. Argentina midfielder Hector Enrique passed the ball to Maradona who dashed towards the English goal, passing four outfield players. He finished the move with a fake that left Shilton on his rear, before shooting the ball into the net to make it 2-0.

Argentina won the game 2–1 and went on to win the 1986 World Cup with a victory over West Germany in the final. Maradona won the Golden Ball for player of the tournament.

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