35 years since Diego Maradona vs England: Goal of the century, Hand of God


It has been 35 years since arguably the best individual performance in sports history. On June 22, 1986, Argentina would defeat England 2-1 in the quarterfinals of the World Cup. A tournament they would go on to win, with Diego Maradona showing why he was the best player in the world.

There was only 3 minutes and 49 seconds between Maradona’s “Hand of God” (51’) and Maradona’s “Goal of the century” (55’). A bit less than four minutes between two of the most memorable goals in the history of football.

There are thousands and thousands of articles, videos, images, stories, and even books about that match, which is perhaps the most memorable in the history of the Argentina national team. A lot of feelings and emotions from the fans every time they see or listen to something related to that game.

But it was definitely much more than a game. Only four years prior, in 1982, Argentine president and military dictator at the time, Leopoldo Galtieri, sent thousands of young Argentine’s with zero military expertise to die in a nonsense war against England, in order to get back the Falklands Islands.

As it happened many times throughout history, the president was losing power, and he thought the best way to unify and distract the population was a war.

There are testimonies from the parents of those who died in the Malvinas war, who explained how Maradona, in that match, made them smile for the first time after 4 years. That day, those heartbroken parents found a friend in Argentina’s captain.

This June 22nd is the first one time we remember that game with Maradona in heaven. Diego’s daughter Dalma took the initiative today in wanting to celebrate the “goal of the century” at 4:09 PM (local time), the exact time Maradona had scored.

This is what Dalma Maradona tweeted this Monday:
“Let’s all shout it (the goal) at 4:09 PM! Let’s all shout it together so that it gets to heaven!”


  1. Obviously Diego maradona is like a God for Argentinian people..he bring the trophy home..took a medicore team and not being fully fit take Argentina to world cup final in 1990..a gem of a goal vs Greece in 1994 showing up Diego is back..
    If there was crespo/Batistuta in Messi team Messi could have 1 WC and 2 copa under his belt

  2. “He took off from midfield and I was shadowing him closely. When you’re refereeing someone like Maradona, you can’t take your eyes off them. They tried to take him down on three occasions, but his desire for victory kept pushing him forward. Every time I would shout ‘advantage’ until he reached the box. I was watching from outside the box, wondering how this player shook off three defenders, and sprinted for nearly 50 metres. I thought, ‘The defenders will take him down now.’ I was expecting that to happen and was ready to whistle for a penalty. To my surprise, he dribbled past another defender and the goalkeeper to score. I’m proud and honoured as a person and as a referee for having played a role in that historical achievement. Had I whistled for a foul in any of the first three contacts, we wouldn’t have witnessed something that magnificent. That advantage I gave is one my proudest achievements.”
    Ali Bin Nasser

  3. I think the last match against Paraguay was very important, not just the result but I saw for once Scaloni tried something different in tactics. This 4231 could be the best formation with the players he has selected. The pair Paredes-Guido gave the balance to the midfield. The 2 false wingers can help the fullbacks to block the opponents attack and Messi can play in a more axial position. That was the opportunity to try something different and he did it finally. I guess against the Bolivia he will do the same, maybe with different players. It’s a shame that Buendia is not here, this 4231 would have fitted him so well.

    • Most probably he will go with 4231 if Messi not playing.
      I think, if Lautaro continue to be out of form, it’s better to go for 433 in KO stage with Messi as CF/false 9. Use a winger who can defend instead of Lautaro/Aguero. Currently Di Maria. Buendia should have been ideal. That will give more balance to the team. Actually that will be more like 4141.

      —-Lo Celso—DEpaul——

      • Playing with a false 9 seems a bit ambitious to me, you really need players that cut in when the false 9 drops deeper, that need a lot of work. I am not sure that will work with a selection with such a limited time of training. Besides, the false 9 need to be very fit physically. I am afraid that the Messi now cannot play like him 10y ago. But I understand you, the forward that we have are quite disappointing. Maybe more playing time for Angel Correa could change something. I am a big fan of Gaich, I think Scaloni should try him and give more chance to Buendia after this copa.

    • “The pair Paredes-Guido gave the balance to the midfield. The 2 false wingers can help the fullbacks to block the opponents attack and Messi can play in a more axial position.”

      It was not very balanced in my honest opinion. neither of the two central midfielders have any desire to drive with the ball leaving a gap in the midfield. one of them is more of a player who screens the defensive line and even though his passing has improved under pellegrini, is still very basic in his passing. While the other is excellent in switching the angle of attack and line of play – example the second annulled goal was a result of him completely unbalancing the opponent defense – neither of them can actually drive with the ball at their feet into space allowing the opponent to sit back comfortably. In many ways it was similar to what happened against colombia in Copa 2019.

      Messi also had a lot of problems playing in the hole. Whenever lo celso is not playing he has no desire to explore the opposite (left) side of the pitch and is too biased to one side. Multiple occasions tagliafico was ignored in fairly advanced positions and even more importantly there was zero inter-exchanges between him and papu. Zero! and that was incredible to me that they had no visible chemistry. Further any time aguero drifted into the channels to support the wider mids, messi was not available to attack the space open in the final third and was very late in attacking the box. This however was largely due to him having to come deeper a lot to take up the above mentioned gap the double five was leaving. But that aside, all together, he simply is not fit enough right now to cover the areas of the pitch a modern enganche must 100% of the time. This combined with a midfield base that cannot occasionally interchange with the #10 to crash the box resulted in the very static play of the team.

      However I like to think that Scaloni is aware of all this, especially as i said this was apparent vs colombia copa ’19 with a small twist; and that he just chose this option as plan C because everyone was so physically destroyed and yet it was an important game. Hopefully if everyone come back now we do not have to see this.

      • Yes, I know what you meant, they are similar players. But the formation is there. You may replace Guido or Paredes by a Palacios or De Paul who will not stay in front of the defense and so should be able to close the gap between Messi and the midfield. Playing with a double pivot need 1 of the players more active and the other just covering him. I think 2 wingers plus Messi is a good thing for containing the opponents attack and free Messi.

        • yeah when i saw team sheet i was surprised he did not think of guido + palacios as pivot as that would be more natural given the other rest and injuries.

  4. Scaloni said he will rotate based on: player fitness and those who already have yellow.

    This is the current situation:
    1. Those who already have yellow: Emi Martinez, Lucas Martinez Quarta, Gio Lo Celso, Leandro Paredes, Joaquin Correa, Lautaro Martinez.

    Among them, only Lucas Martinez Quarta and Joaquin Correa who are not key players.

    2. Players who are a bit injured/unfit as of today: Giovani Lo Celso and Exequiel Palacios.

    3. Players who has just recovered and train normally: Nicolas Gonzales

    We just need a draw to secure the top spot of our group unless we get a draw and Chile won by more than 2 goals margin against Paraguay then we would be second place. But it is very likely for us to top the group because Bolivia is the weakest in our group and they need to win to go to the next round so they will attack us instead of park the bus against us. I don’t think it is hard to get at least 1 point against them.

    Based on that, my prediction of the starting line up:

    Armani; Montiel, Lucas Martinez Quarta, Licha Martinez, Marcos Acuna; Guido Rodriguez, Papu Gomez, Angel Correa; Angel Di Maria/Julian Alvarez, Sergio Aguero, Lautaro Martinez.

    I put Lucas Martinez Quarta there because he is not among the starters so even if he gets a yellow, that is fine.

  5. Haven’t had the luck to see this World cup, was born in 85 only, It’s a matter of pride for us that the top 2 All-time best football players are Argentine’s. And its only ironical that both have scored the almost identical Goals of the century. There are things which we can’t explain in this world, the similarity between those 2 goals was astonishing.

    • One was scored against England in a wc quarter final and other was against a meaningless league game against mid table getafe not the same

      • So u hate Messi, right.
        Don’t get me wrong, but with due respect to the mighty Maradona, he is not considered in the same tier of Pele, Messi and Ronaldo.
        Stats are equivalently important for a player to be claimed as an undisputed GOAT.
        That’s why Ronaldinho is not considered as a GOAT, though he won a world cup. But Maradona is definitely amongst the top 4 of all time.

        • Not considered? Diego won the global popular vote over Pele. Everyone considers him better than Pele. As for modern comparisons, Cristiano is not Even in the top 3 of all time, he is a generational player, not all time, and Messi is better than him regardless of how many tshirts and Instagram selfies he sells.

          The real question is who is better Maradona or Messi. Messi is the better profesional and a lot hinges on what he does in the next 2 years of his career, but as of right now, Diego is better. What he did in 86 WC, in Napoli, and then 1990 is far far far more of a personal achievement than Messis countless La liga trophys surrounded with allstar players. Even Messi himself calls him the greatest.

          • Yes I understand, Diego is very attached to the heart of the Argentines and considered as a GOD.I acknowledge and respect that emotion.
            But if statistics and logical reasoning are to be applied; Messi is a better individual player than Maradona. (Better peak, Better consistency, More goals & assists)
            Messi only lacks is a World Cup (but given how ass Messi’s teammates are compared to Diego’s teammates); so it’s a tough call.
            Moreover If World Cup glory is the priority, then Sorry Pele is above him.

      • Not comparing the stakes of the goal or the opponent. The way by which both have scored the goal is dicto same, that too such complicated one, Messi has been the ultimate heir of Diego, so many players have been dubbed as next Diego, Aimar, Tevez, Ortega etc etc. but Messi has truly succeeded him it’s an honor itself for Messi. After some year I hope we can find a true heir for Messi. It may take some decades to find a player like Messi. We can just hope that player also will be an Argentine.

  6. Our mid field is injury prone lo celso, palacios, nico gonzalez all are not fully fit. Question is why Scaloni selected so many unfit players who can’t even play 2-3 matches

  7. The best world cup ever for me. Apart from Diego’s brilliance, there were mamy good matches as canadienroyal has stated and there were many spectacular goals as well. One of the most spectacular world cups ever as many people around the world agree with that. Personally, the top 3 world cup goals i have ever seen are Diego’s goal of the century, Mexican Nigrete bicycle kick goal at the same world cup and Maxi Rodriguez brilliance in 2006 wc against Mexico.
    Moreover, this world cup is special for me and many other people like me who are not Argentines because it is a part of my childhood, a part of me, playing a huge role on my eternal love to Argentina.

    Being nostalgic and while i am writing this comment, although this world cup has a special place in my heart, reminds me old nice memories of my childhood, i feel a bit depressed as well.

    May GOD hug Diego Maradona’s, Jose Luis Brown’s and Cucufo’s souls (i don’t think that i spell his name correctly and i think that he has passed away too) in eternity!

  8. I love this world cup, of course this Argentinean team and stars like Platini, Josimar, Careca, Belanov, Laudrup, Burruchaga and Maradona. People still talking about Argentina-England and France-Brazil, but there were also many matches with incredible level like France-Italy, Denmark-Germany, Argentina-Belgium, USSR-Spain, …etc. For me, the best world cup ever, not because I am Argentina’s fan but the level in general.

  9. In response to San Isidro on Aguero:

    I kind of agree with San that Aguero, no matter how glorious his past is, maybe not even a medium term option for Argentina. Against Paraguay, he looked so unfit that he was running even less than a quarter of what Messi was doing. The way Argentina is currently playing, you do not want the current version of Aguero.

    The current state of the situation is that the team already needs to compensate for Messi’s shortage in defending responsibilities, although he is still very good at that. Having Aguero at the same time, who is much worse than Messi in that specific duty is a luxury, which you can have only against a few particular teams now a days.

    Then, we have Parades, for whom we need other support players to compensate defensive responsibilities. But the problem is that you can only field eleven players in a match,

    Isn’t it getting too much of a liability for a team that wants to win a World Cup?

    • I agree. We had the same issue with Riquelme. We must field 10 hard working players to surround Messi. Paredes is barely doing it in defense (he is good, but not #5 good).. this is why DePaul is our saving grace in midfield.

      If we play Paredes and Messi, we MUST have everyone else be relentless athletes in defence. Aguero is not it.

  10. Its hilarious when Maradona haters call him a cheater and then i remind them with a big ol’ grin on my face that he scored the goal of century right after and that always shuts them up.

      • Because copa is nothing in comparison with world cup hardly people used to watch it only because of messi now many people outside south America watches copa so less popularity makes people ignore those incident

        • I can give you numerous famous cheatings when it comes to Brazil. In 2002 wc, round of 16, Belgium scored first through a header and put them ahead to Brazil. That meant Brazil who was one goal down was in danger of being kicked out by Belgium which up to that time they were playing better than Brazil. But of course they rulled out the goal with the excuse that the forward of Belgium made an offensive foul. If you look at the replay i doubt if you can even see a contact. You can also see what happened at the group stages of the same wc between Brazil and Turkey. Brazil had arguably the easiest group in this wc.
          I just mentioned to you only two incidents.

          As for copa 1995 and especially the match between Argentina and Brazil which Rattlehead is correctly refered to, we were leading 2-1 and then Tulio controled the ball with his hand, literally streched and parallel to the ground, inside the penalty area and then scored to draw level. Eventually, we lost in penalty shoot-out.
          That handball was way to obvious that couldn’t leave the slightest doubt for error by the referee.

          Some people call it “excuses” for their own reasons but Brazil took cheating to another level and i call these facts.

  11. Good morning 🌄 from Kathmandu Nepal..I was literally a small kid of 3 yr old when my dad ,my uncle and my dad’s friend were watching TV live this match..
    I was fan of Argentina since then and weather they lose or win I always continue.. regarding the Falkland islands war the gorkhas was in the side of England..there are some fake news circulated by Brazil Europe team fans that Argentinian people hate Nepali people..it’s not true…
    I personally think present Argentina football team lacks strong attacking midfielder.. except gio lo celso we don’t have another..we need a playmaker like riquelme and attacking mid like maxi Rodriguez of 2006

  12. If Maradona played today and have a few off games due to form which is normal for any human being, some (new) mundo fans in here would start criticising, some even may talk smack. This is how mundo is these days with many impatient and overly genius fans. Who has no football brains whatsoever. What hurts me the most, is the way some of these idiots even insult our greats who fought for Argentina football all their playing careers. Its pathetic.
    Usually the older fans are more respective and know what they are talking about. The school boys who just started watching football and play lots of Fifa video games all day, think they know it all.

    • Pele is the greatest of the century, where Maradona played.
      Being an albiceleste fan, we cannot bellitle the achievements and legend of Pele. secondly, the stats of Pele is head and shoulders above than Maradona.

  13. When I first moved to Argentina I didn’t understand the whole Malivinas thing. Being a young american I was kind of dumb about it. It opened my eyes when I met someone who had been a soldier there. Totally scary and I get why it’s such a huge and emotional issue for all Argentines.

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