One Goal, Two Tongues

I happily subscribed to Howler Magazine after reading this piece on Diego Maradona’s famous goal at the ‘86 World Cup .

In the 51st minute, the Hand of God beat the hand of Shilton. Only four minutes later, while the outrage of English fans and players was still raw, El Diego received the ball in his own half, facing his own net. It took him 11 touches and 10.6 seconds to beat six opponents—Beardsley, Reid, Butcher (twice), Fenwick, and the goalkeeper, Shilton—and bury what many consider to be the greatest goal of all time.

However many times I watch it, I can’t understand how “the little squat man” so easily waltzes past half the England team.

I remember the BBC commentator’s sense of wonder as Maradona finally slotted the ball past Shilton. What I don’t remember is the contempt with which he described him as he initially picked up the ball in his own half and how much that attitude would change in the 10 seconds that followed.

‘86 was also the last time Northern Ireland went to the World Cup. All in all, a lot for 10 year old me to take in.

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