The Hand of God



A very interesting event happened during the 1986 football World Cup in Mexico. On June 22, Argentina and England played against each other in the semifinals. Fans and players for both teams felt very strongly about this match. Only four years earlier, England and Argentina fought a war over the Falkland Islands.  Since England had prevailed in the conflict, many Argentinians saw this game as a chance for revenge.  English football fans were equally passionate about winning the game because they saw it as a good chance to win the World Cup.


The first half of the match was closely contested, and at half-time the score was 0–0. Only six minutes into the second half, however, an Argentine star player named Maradona was running with the ball towards the goal at the same time as the English goalkeeper was running out of his goal.  The tall English goalkeeper put his arm up to hit the ball away but the shorter Maradona jumped up towards the ball with his arm up.  The ball suddenly changed direction and went into the English goal.


To everyone watching the game, it looked as if Maradona had illegally hit the ball with his hand or arm.  However, the referee claimed that he did not see it and so he allowed the goal.  After the game, Maradona famously told reporters the goal was scored “a little by the head of Maradona and a little by the hand of God.”   England ended up losing the game to Argentina 2-1.   English fans were furious but it was too late.  The Argentinians eventually went on to beat West Germany on June 29th to win the World Cup.