Say “Diego Maradona” and the first thing that comes to mind is the “Hand of God.”
In contrast, only few even know that Maradona was responsible for the “Goal of the Century.”
The Hand of God and the Goal of the Century both refer to goals that the football great scored in Argentina’s 2-1 win against England in the 1986 World Cup quarterfinals.
Led by the barrel-chested Maradona, Argentina went on to defeat West Germany for its second World Cup title.
But the match against England, somehow, has become a sticking point when discussing Maradona’s legacy as one of infamy or greatness.
It was Maradona himself who coined “Hand of God,” referring to the controversial first goal he scored against England.
While the English keeper Peter Shilton insists that the Argentine punched the ball past him, the Tunisian referee and his assistant affirmed the 51st-minute goal as legit.
To this day, Shilton, like many of his countrymen, is still smarting from Maradona’s refusal to issue an apology for the hand ball.
“It seems he had greatness in him but sadly no sportsmanship,” Shilton wrote in the Daily Mail shortly after learning of Maradona’s death.
He added that without the Hand of God, Argentina’s winning goal four minutes later wouldn’t have happened.
To use an English phrase, that’s a load of bollocks, of course.
That winning goal came at the expense of seven England players whom Maradona outran and outwitted all the way from midfield.
It was called the Goal of the 20th Century and regarded as the greatest individual goal scored for good reason.
The English response to that was a goal short that came a little too late, and yet they blame one man for their miseries and failures, even to this day.
Before he passed on, Maradona the Great had moved on.
Perhaps the English should too.