Bogota, May 23 (EFE).- One of the most memorable matches in the history of the World Cup and one of that competition’s most infamous goals occurred in the quarter-finals of the 1986 edition.
It was June 22, 1986, in Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca when Argentina’s Diego Maradona rose up for a header in the 51st minute of the contest.
English goalkeeper Peter Shilton, standing 1.85 meters (6-foot-1) tall, came out to intervene on the play, but the 1.65-meter Maradona got to the ball first and poked it into the back of the net with the illegal use of his left hand.
The English players screamed for the goal to be disallowed, but Tunisian referee Ali Bin Nasser said he had not seen the infraction.
Afterward, Maradona admitted that his hand had indeed been responsible for sending the ball over the line, jokingly telling reporters that the goal had been scored “un poco con la cabeza de Maradona y otro poco con la mano de Dios” (partially with the head of Maradona and partially with the hand of God).
Tensions surrounding the match were already heightened, with Argentine players taking the field four years after their country’s defeat at the hands of the United Kingdom in a brief but bloody conflict for control of the Falklands Islands.
But the match is also known for one of the most sublime individual efforts in World Cup history.
Just four minutes after his controversial first goal, Maradona scored what has come to be known as the Goal of the Century.
On the play, the Argentine legend received the ball in his own half of the field and dribbled around a series of English outfield players on a nearly 60-meter sprint down the right side of the field before eluding Shilton and scoring with his left foot.
Argentina earned a berth in the semi-finals with its 2-1 victory over England that day and subsequently clinched its second World Cup title with wins over Belgium and then Germany.
Maradona was named the best player of that year’s tournament in Mexico.
The Albiceleste may need a similar performance from superstar forward Lionel Messi if they are to capture their third World Cup title at this summer’s edition in Russia, which gets under way in 22 days.