The Hand of God - Maradona and the FIFA World Cup

Diego Armando Maradona, born on 30 October 1960, is a retired professional footballer from Argentina. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time and is famous for his dribbling skills, creative passing, and goalscoring. He played with the team Argentina in the FIFA World Cup in 1986. With his performance in the tournament, he became an icon of football and even today has many fans around the world. In this article, we will learn more about Maradona and his role in FIFA World Cup that took place in Mexico.

What exactly is the FIFA World Cup?

The FIFA World Cup is a tournament held every four years in which national teams compete to win the title of “world champions”. The first World Cup was played in 1930, but the tournament has been held every four years since the year 1982. The next World Cup will be played in Qatar in 2022. The tournament is held in two stages: the group stage and the knockout stage. All teams begin the tournament in the group stage, where they are drawn into eight groups. Each group contains four teams, and each team plays the other three teams in its group in a round-robin format, meaning that each team plays three games. The best two teams in each group are then drawn against each other in knockout play, beginning with the round of 16, consisting of two-legged ties. After the round of 16, the tournament continues with quarterfinals, semifinals, and a final match to determine the winner.

Diego Maradona's role in 1986 FIFA World Cup

Maradona played a central role in the World Cup of 1986. With Argentina, he won the World Cup, and he was named the best player of the tournament. In this World Cup, he scored five goals, including a famous goal against England. He is remembered for an incident, known as the “Hand of God”, in which he punched the ball into the goal, and for his “Goal of the Century” against the English. Maradona’s performance in the World Cup was extraordinary. But he was also controversial. He was sent off in the quarter-finals against Brazil after kicking an opposing player in the groin. In the final against England, he was kicked in the ribs, and he was substituted after the first half.

The Hand of God incident

The first controversy was during Argentina's opening match against Britain. Argentina was leading 2-1 when Maradona passed the ball with his left hand towards the goal. The ball went between the legs of the British goalkeeper and into the goal. The goal was allowed and Argentina won the match 3-1. During the 86 World Cup, the rule was that the referees could award a penalty kick to the opposing team if a player used his hand to pass or kick the ball. If the referee recognized that a player had used his hand deliberately, the referee could rescind the goal and award a penalty kick. The referee's view of Maradona's "hand of god" goal against England Although the referee of the match, Fahad al-Biah from Saudi Arabia, disallowed the goal and awarded a penalty kick, he did not recognize that Maradona had deliberately used his hand. This became clear when a slow-motion replay was shown on television. On this slow-motion replay, it was clear that the ball had first been touched by Maradona's left hand before his right foot had kicked the ball into the goal. The right thing would have been for the referee to rescind the goal and award a penalty kick. But the referee did not do this. He kept the goal and allowed the match to continue. The rules of the game, as they were then applied, allowed the referee to rescind a goal only when he recognized that a player had used his hand deliberately.

Maradona 'Hand of God' Goal World Cup 1986 Explained

Maradona after the FIFA World Cup

After the FIFA World Cup, Maradona was heavily criticized. But he remained a great player. He led Argentina to victory in the South American Championship. In the following year, he was injured and could not play, but he was part of the team that won the World Cup in Italy. He was injured again before the 1994 World Cup and had to miss the tournament. He retired from professional football in 1997. He had been criticized for his drug addiction and his poor lifestyle, but he was chosen as one of the 100 best football players of all time.

Final Words

Maradona was a great player, but he did not play fair. The first controversial goal was allowed because the referee was not sure whether the ball had been touched by Maradona's hand or not. In the second goal, there was no doubt. Maradona deliberately used his hand to hit the ball into the goal, but the referee allowed the goal. This meant that Maradona had taken advantage of the lenient refereeing in the FIFA World Cup. He was a great player, but he was not a good sportsman. He cheated in the FIFA World Cup by not playing fair, and he has remained a controversial figure in the history of football.