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

Last Updated on October 4, 2023 by Alex PT

In football, the “Hand of God” refers to a controversial goal scored by Diego Maradona during the 1986 FIFA World Cup, where he used his hand to score against England. The term signifies a notable instance of a player’s handball deception.

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 famous Hand of God goal was scored by Diego Maradona in the Argentina-England quarter-final match of the 1986 FIFA World Cup. The match was played on June 22, 1986, at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, Mexico.

The goal was scored in the 51st minute of the match. Maradona received a pass from Héctor Enrique and jumped up to challenge England goalkeeper Peter Shilton for the ball. Maradona used his left hand to punch the ball past Shilton and into the net.

The referee, Ali Bennaceur of Tunisia, did not see the handball and allowed the goal to stand. The England players protested vigorously, but their appeals were ignored.

Argentina went on to win the match 2-1, and Maradona scored a second goal in the 86th minute, which was later voted the FIFA Goal of the Century.

The Hand of God goal is one of the most controversial goals in football history. Some people argue that it was a brilliant piece of skill and ingenuity, while others argue that it was an act of cheating.

Regardless of one’s opinion of the goal, there is no doubt that it is one of the most iconic moments in World Cup history. It is a goal that will be remembered and debated for many years to come.

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 had 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 have 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 a 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, who used 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 became 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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