Majority of Indian populace prefer cricket over football. India does not have a good enough international football team. This probably is one of the major factor why football is still not so popular in India. For me, however, football is a good watch. I get into “soccermania” every fours years when FIFA World Cup is organized. Today’s iconic photograph comes from the 1986 edition of the FIFA World Cup; which was played in Mexico.
England and Argentina were playing out a quarterfinal match on 22 June 1986 in Mexico City. Argentina was led by legendary football player Diego Maradona. This match was being played in the backdrop of the Falkland War between the two countries that had taken place barely four years ago.
So, the rivalry and tension was at its peak. Both teams desperately wanted to win this match but, in the end, Argentina had the upper hand as it won the match by 2 goals against one from England.
During the match two historical events happened. Of these, the first one is the subject of today’s photograph. It was a goal by Maradona. Six minutes into the second half, Maradona beat the English defense and reached their goal where only goalkeeper Peter Shilton was present to stop the ball. English midfielder Steve Hodge, by mistake, parried the ball towards Maradona who had continued his run towards the goal. Peter Shilton came out of his goal to punch the ball clear. Shilton’s towering height of 6 ft 1 made him clear favorite to beat Maradona, whose height was 5 ft 5 in. However, Maradona reached the ball first, with the outside of his left fist. The ball went into the goal, and the referee (Ali Bin Nasser), not having seen the infringement, allowed the goal.
Maradona later said “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.'”
At the post-game press conference, Maradona claimed that the goal was scored; “un poco con la cabeza de Maradona y otro poco con la mano de Dios” (“a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God”) coining the phrase “Hand of God”. When videos and photographs showed that Maradona’s goal was not valid; England team’s manager commented that it was “hand of a rascal” that put the ball in goal. This intensified the already red hot rivalry even further between the two nations.
The photograph was taken by Bob Thomas of Getty Images. It shows Maradona illegally hitting the ball with his hand. The photograph gave a clear view of the incident that the referee had missed.
That’s the story of the photograph.
But the match was still to unfold another spectacular event. Just four minutes after the Hand of God goal -it was again Maradona who charged towards the English goal. Maradona ran for 10 seconds, covered 60-meters of ground, passed five English outfield players and finished the move by dribbling round Shilton to make the score 2–0 to Argentina.
This second goal, in 2002, was voted ‘Goal of the Century’ as part of the coverage of the 2002 FIFA World Cup tournament on the FIFA website. Here are the videos of both the events. Watch them and then wait for yet another famous photograph!
If you wonder who is the commentator in this video, it’s Víctor Hugo Morales, commenting in his characteristic style.
What do you think of this photograph and the story behind it? Please comment and give your feedback as it helps me in writing better content for my readers. Thank you for reading and stay connected with my website as I will continue to bring stories on more iconic photographs for you.