When asked what are the most significant moments in sports history, many of us (Americans) are programmed to simply recall what the good ole US of A has provided through our lifetime. Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that; however, outside of the east and west coast of our beloved United States is a world crazed by the sport of football, excuse me futbol…ok soccer. In fact, some of you who are die-hard sports fans have begun to develop a passion and appreciation for it with the ongoing coverage of this year’s World Cup. With that said let’s examine what is considered by many to be the most memorable moment in World Cup history and venture back to June 22, 1986 for the quarterfinal match between Argentina and England.
To this day Argentina’s Diego Maradona is viewed by many as the greatest player to have ever played the game (yes, there is more than just Pele). During the contest versus the English, Maradona scored both goals in a 2-1 Cup victory. However, this was not the real story of the match. Each goal scored is etched in World Football history as its own epic tale. The first is the most controversial goal in tournament history as it was scored as the result of an illegal (yet unpenalized) handball by Maradona. Television replays showed that he had deflected the ball past the English goalkeeper with his hand. The English team vehemently disputed the referee’s non-call, but the goal stood and virtually overnight went into World Cup lore and is forever immortalized as ‘The Hand of God’ goal.
Only five minutes later, Maradona scored another goal that is now referred to as simply the "Goal of the Century". He began his 10 second, 60-meter dash towards the English goal, leaving five defenders in his wake to score a sliding goal to seal the victory for Argentina. FIFA has since officially recognized the goal in the form of an award, “Greatest Goal in FIFA World Cup History”.