Thursday, June 22, 2006

It was the hand of God, wasnt it?

The summer solstice has come and gone - the days start to get shorter and shorter from here on. But the World Cup is certainly heating up ... and two hotly contested groups will get decided soon ...

[USA, Ghana, Italy and the Czech Republic] -> Italy and Ghana (cinderella story of the worldcup so far!)
[France South Korea Switzerland Togo] -> France is still winless - must win!!

While the 2006 World Cup is picking up steam, today is 20 years to the day that Maradona showed his brilliance, became infamous, and dropped a quote that is still just as prominently remembered as the day he said it. I had a post on it exactly a year ago ... its interesting to look at again methinks! Here is the actual quote from Maradona (oft misquoted or mistranslated) - "un poco con la cabeza de Maradona y otro poco con la mano de Dios" - translated as "a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God)"!! (source: Reuters)

From "The Hand of God - June 22, 1986"

Amul had a superb topical when Diego Maradona was taking the world by storm.

Image from Amul

Maradona spearheaded Argentina to victory in the 1986 Soccer World Cup in Mexico. A key step in that journey to that title was The Hand of God - Maradona's goal against England in the quarter finals, exactly 19 years ago on this day. Clearly, Maradona had stuck out his forearm and pushed the ball into the goal. The pictures say all the story:

Image taken from Yahoo's 2002 FIFA World Cup website

Much to the dismay of the English fans and players, the goal was allowed and a second brilliant goal (and i mean spectacular, no wonder it was voted Goal of the Century!) sealed England's fate. Maradona at that time did not admit it - he said that the goal was scored "a little bit by the Hand of God, another bit by the head of Maradona". He did admit using his hand in his autobiography published in 2002. When England beat Argentina in the 2002 World Cup, there came out tshirts reading Look no hands!

No denying Maradona's greatness as a soccer player, but the Hand of God certainly tarnished his image forever - for having 'cheated' on the greatest stage in the world. After all, everything is fair in love, war and the greatest prize in soccer, the Jules Rimet trophy.

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