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On This Date in Sports June 22, 1986: Hand of God

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

Argentina beats England 2-1 in the quarterfinals of the FIFA World Cup at Estadio Azteca. Diego Maradona scored both goals for Argentina, including a ball that was scored off his hand. The "Hand of God" goal would be personally satisfying for Argentina as they had fought England in a war over the Falkland Islands in 1982. Argentina would go on to win the World Cup for the second time in three tournaments. 


The 1986 FIFA World Cup was originally planned for Colombia, but it was moved to Mexico due to economic issues, which became the first country to host the quadrennial event twice, having hosted in 1970. Argentina, which had won in 1978, came in as the top-rated country led by star Diego Maradona. Argentina had won the World Cup at home in 1978 but had lost in the second stage in 1982. Argentina had dominated the group stage in Mexico, with two wins and a draw against reigning champion Italy. 

England had defeated Argentina on another field in 1982, winning a brief war for the Falkland Islands, a small group of islands in the South Atlantic that belonged to England. At the World Cup, England posted a record of 1-1-1, finishing second in the group play. Three Lions kicked it up a notch in the knockout round, beating Paraguay 3-0, as Gary Lineker scored twice. Argentina, meanwhile, edged Uruguay 1-0 on a goal by Pedro Pasculli.

The quarterfinals were personal for Argentina, as there were still hard feelings from the ten-week war over the Falkland Islands. After a scoreless first half, Argentina got the lead in the 50th minute on a goal by Diego Maradona. However, the goal should not have counted as it was knocked with the hand. English goalie Peter Shilton had come out to play the ball, but Maradona reached out and punched it into the net. Maradona added a second goal five minutes later as Gary Lineker scored at 81 minutes for England. It would be the only goal scored for Three Lions, as Argentina won 2-1, with the Hand of God goal being the difference. 


Diego Maradona was the unquestioned star of the 1986 FIFA World Cup. In the semifinals, he scored two goals, as Argentina defeated Belgium 2-0, while West Germany beat France 2-0 to set up a championship match. With 114,600 fans on hand, Argentina jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Jose Luis Brown in the 23rd match and Jorge Valdano in the 55th minute. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge scored in the 74th minute to get West Germany on the board. Rudi Völler scored nine minutes later to tie the game. However, Argentina scored Jorge Burruchaga to regain the lead in the 86th minute and won the game 3-2 to claim their second World Cup.