What is the Hand of God in Football? (All you need to know!)

Last Updated on April 17, 2022 by

This term is a reference to an illegitimate goal scored by the legendary Diego Armando Maradona during a historic FIFA world cup quarter-final match between Argentina and England. Although the iconic  Maradona was considered one of the greatest players that have ever graced the game of football, his infamous hand of God goal is a  moment that lacks sportsmanship and doesn’t fit in the conformity to the rules guiding the game. However, This infamous incident is widely considered one of the most famous goals in the history of football up till today.

Unsurprisingly, the magnitude of the game and the manner with which the goal was scored made it one of the most controversial moments in football history. As expected, the aftermath of the goal generated a wildfire of controversies among football analysts and fans, particularly in England. In this article, we will be having a detailed look at how the infamous goal was scored and the historical backlash that followed it. Let’s ride!

What is the term hand of God for in football?

What is the term hand of God for in football

The term originates from an unforgettable occurrence during a FIFA world cup quarterfinal match between Argentina and England in the year 1986, a tournament hosted by Mexico. Parading the late legendary Diego Maradona who was renowned for his ingenuity in their attack among several other football stars, a bizarre goal was allowed to stand, much to the amazement of players and fans across the world of sports. The goal was punched into the net by Maradona to give the Argentines an undeserved lead which was counted and proved to be a decisive one. Argentina progressed to the semifinals at the expense of England and Maradona was unapologetic during the post-match, stating that the goal was scored “a little with his head and a little with the hand of God”.

Which game exactly was the famous hand of God goal scored?

The goal was scored in a well-anticipated quarterfinal game between Argentina and England. The particular encounter was the FIFA world cup match hosted in Mexico in the year 1986. Argentina emerged victorious in the match with the legendary Diego Maradona scoring both decisive goals. The first was the infamous hand of God goal which he scored literally with his fist while the second goal was a sensational solo effort that was eventually named the goal of the century.

How was the hand of God goal scored?

As stated earlier, the hand of God was scored by the iconic Diego Maradona during a FIFA world cup quarterfinal match against England. The infamous goal was scored in the 51 minutes of the encounter. with the tie evenly poised during the intense game, Maradona challenged legendary England shot-stopper Peter Shilton for a lofted ball in the penalty box and ended up punching it past the goalkeeper to give the Argentines a crucial lead. He went on to score a superb second goal to hand Argentina 2-1 victory to secure them a place in the semifinals.

Was the hand of God’s goal fair?

not As a rule in football, using the hand is considered a foul ,,,,, and using a hand to score a goal is unprofessional and outside the conformity of regulations. Although Diego Maradona was widely regarded as the best of his generation, this infamous goal was considered a cheat and daylight robbery, particularly among England players and fans.

Why was the hand of God’s goal allowed to stand?

The infamous goal was not officially allowed to count as the referees in charge of the game completely failed to have a clear view of the incident. Considering the fact that the match was played in 1986, The officials failed to have a clear view of the incident and had no technology to review the incident as additional referees were not invented yet to help them make a better decision. In the football world today, such goals will be ruled out for a blatant handball and Diego Maradona would be brandished at least a yellow card for the ridiculous attempt as technological advancements has produced inventions like the VAR to help review such situations to ensure justice and fair play.

How important was the hand of God’s goal?

How important was the hand of God’s goal

Aside from the fact that the controversial goal was considered one of the most iconic goals in the history of football, it also proved to be a decisive one that changed the tone of a tension-soaked encounter between Two footballing nations with fierce rivalry. Although he admitted during the post-match interview that the goal was scored with his hand. The goal gave Argentina significant advantage in securing a 2-1 quarterfinal victory over England, and they went on to lift the World cup trophy by defeating West Germany in the final.


Below is a compiled list of frequently asked questions on what the hand of God stands for in football. Let’s have a look at them!

Is the score of the infamous hand of God’s goal alive?

No! The score of the controversial goal was the legendary Argentine superstar Diego Armando Maradona. He tragically died due to cardiac arrest on 25th November 2020 aged 60 years.

Why is the goal called the hand of God?

The opening goal in the historic encounter between Argentina and England was scored by Maradona, using his hands to punch the ball past the English goalkeeper. Ironically, He showed no remorse during the post-match. He sarcastically claimed the goal was scored a little with his head and a little with the hand of God.

Is the hand of God’s goals allowed in football?

Hands are not allowed in football and it is considered a foul if it was used to interfere with play or score a goal. Unlike in the past, Football has evolved with advanced technology to rule such illegal goals out.

Did Lionel Messi score a hand of God goal?

Although the famous hand of God goal was scored by the late legendary Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi also managed to pull off a similar stunt in La Liga. He scored with his hand during a leave match against local rivals, Espanyol and the goal surprisingly stood even with the obvious advancement in technology compared to 1986. 

Closing thought

The hand of God is a widely used term that resulted from an infamous goal scored by the legendary Argentinian superstar Diego Maradona in a quarterfinal match during Mexico the ’86 FIFA world cup against England. His unapologetic post-match comment where he stated that the goal was scored by a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God. The phrase birthed the Hand of God term in football and eventually become a part of football history.

We hopefully believe this article has given you enough resources to answer your queries about how the hand of God came about in football. Don’t hesitate to contact us For more questions and feedback.


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