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The Hand of God


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Former soccer star Diego Maradona has acknowledged on Argentine television that he struck the ball with his hand in the infamous "Hand of God" goal against England in the 1986 World Cup quarter-finals.

Maradona has previously admitted to the handball goal, but gave his most detailed comments yet during the second weekly instalment of his locally broadcast talk show Monday.

Maradona called the tipped goal "something that just came out of me. It was a bit of mischief."

He said he was unable to reach the ball for a header because England goalkeeper Peter Shilton "was very tall. He (Maradona) didn't see anything, and a teammate told him" afterward what happened.

Maradona, who was Argentina's captain, said he quickly realized the referee allowed the goal but none of his teammates rushed to celebrate with him themselves disbelieving.

"I was waiting for my teammates to embrace me and no one came. I told them, come hug me or the referee isn't going to allow it."

Replays clearly showed the foul, but the goal helped propel Argentina to a 2-1 victory. Maradona also scored the second goal, which has been dubbed the "Feet of a God" goal, and which FIFA declared to be the greatest ever in World Cup competition.

Maradona dribbled half the length of the field, dodging and outrunning nine English players.

Argentina went on to win that World Cup in Mexico, and the victory over England was cheered by Argentines after their stinging defeat at the hands of the British in a 1982 war for the South Atlantic's Falkland Islands, known here as Las Malvinas.

In his 20-year career before retiring in 1997, Maradona starred at Argentinos Juniors and Boca Juniors and in Europe. He also led Argentina to the 1990 World Cup final and won Italian and Argentine league titles. In 2000, FIFA chose him and Pele as the best players in soccer history.

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