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Hand of God goal

The Hand of God goal refers to an incident in the 1986 FIFA World Cup quarter-final match between England and Argentina in the Aztec Stadium, Mexico City. Tensions between the two countries were running high, in part due to the recent Falklands War.

Six minutes into the second half there were still no goals. Diego Maradona took the ball down the pitch and crossed it to his team-mate Jorge Valdano whose shot was blocked by defender Steve Hodge. The English goalkeeper, Peter Shilton came out of his goalmouth to catch or punch the ball, but Maradona reached it first - with his hand. The ball landed in the back of the net and, to the amazement of the English players, neither the linesman nor the referee had seen Maradona's foul play, so the goal was allowed.

The Argentines celebrated while the Englishmen protested, but to no avail. At the press conference after the game, Maradona further infuriated the English by claiming the goal was scored "a little bit by the Hand of God, another bit by the head of Maradona". Decades later Maradona did admit that the ball came off his hand, but maintains that it was an accident, in spite of the widely-shown video evidence.

Later in the same match, Maradona scored another goal, considered by many as one of the best goals in World Cup history, in which he eluded five English outfield players and Shilton. England scored once, but the disputed goal proved decisive, meaning England were knocked out of the competition.

For the next few days the British press referred to the incident as "The Hand of the Devil", and it remained in the English collective consciousness so much that, when England beat Argentina 1-0 in the 2002 World Cup, T-shirts displaying the result were also emblazoned with the phrase "Look no hands".

Links - A photograph of the Hand of God in action