"Goal of the century"



England v. Argentina
June 22, 1986
Estadio Azteca, Mexico City

The 1986 quarterfinal between these historic archrivals is one of the all-time greatest matches in World Cup history. Hovering over the contest was the memory of the Falklands War that had ended four years earlier (one day after the start of the 1982 World Cup in Spain).  After 51 minutes Diego Maradona put Argentina in the lead with his infamous “Hand of God” goal.  Had the match ended 1-0 it would have gone down as one of the most controversial games in the history of the World Cup.  However, three minutes later Maradona went on a 65-yard run and dribbled past six English players (Beardsley, Reid, Butcher (twice), Fenwick, and Shilton) to score what many consider to be the greatest goal of all time.  The 114,580 spectators in the stadium and the global television and radio audience had witnessed two iconic goals in the space of a few minutes and the “Goal of the Century” reverberated around the world. 

The genius of Maradona's second strike was instantly recognized by several journalists covering the match. Following the goal, Bryon Butler of BBC Radio noted that, "the first goal should never have been allowed, but Maradona has put a seal on his greatness. He's left his footprint on this World Cup. He scored a goal that England just couldn't cope with, they couldn't face up to, it was beyond their ability... It's England 0, Diego Maradona 2.”  The Uruguayan broadcaster Victor Hugo Morales was not as restrained in his narration.  Morales’ lyrical commentary mirrors the poetic madness that Maradona showed on the field.  

"…ahí la tiene Maradona, lo marcan dos, pisa la pelota Maradona, arranca por la derecha el genio del fútbol mundial, deja el tendal y va a tocar para Burruchaga... ¡Siempre Maradona! ¡Genio! ¡Genio! ¡Genio! Ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta... Gooooool... Gooooool... ¡Quiero llorar! ¡Dios santo, viva el fútbol! ¡Golaaazooo! ¡Diegoooool! ¡Maradona! Es para llorar, perdónenme... Maradona, en recorrida memorable, en la jugada de todos los tiempos... Barrilete cósmico... ¿De qué planeta viniste?  ¿Para dejar en el camino a tanto inglés, para que el país sea un puño apretado gritando por Argentina? Argentina 2 - Inglaterra 0. Diegol, Diegol, Diego Armando Maradona... Gracias Dios, por el fútbol, por Maradona, por estas lágrimas, por este Argentina 2 - Inglaterra 0."

"...Maradona has the ball, two mark him, Maradona touches the ball, the genius of world soccer dashes to the right, and leaves the third and is going to pass to Burruchaga… It's still Maradona! Genius! Genius! Genius! Ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta… Goooooaaaal!  Gooooooaaaaal! I want to cry! Dear God!  Long live soccer! Goooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllllll!  Diegoal! Maradona!  It's enough to make you cry, forgive me…. Maradona, in an unforgettable run, in the play of all time…. Cosmic kite! What planet are you from, to leave in your wake so many Englishmen? So that the whole country is a clenched fist shouting for Argentina? Argentina 2 – England 0.  Diegoal, Diegoal, Diego Armando Maradona. Thank you God, for soccer, for Maradona, for these tears, for this Argentina 2 – England 0."

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