In a game that took place during the 1986 World Cup between Argentina and England in the quarterfinals, Maradona infamously scored a brace and the first came to be known as the ‘Hand of God’ after the Argentine fisted the ball into the back of the net.
Diego Maradona admits that his iconic goal at the 1986 World Cup against England – dubbed ‘the Hand of God’ – wouldn’t have stood had it the goal line technology that is currently sparsely in use had been there at the time. At the same time, he’s backed the use of goal line technology (VAR – video assistant referees).
In a game that took place during the 1986 World Cup between Argentina and England in the quarterfinals, Maradona infamously scored a brace. The first saw Maradona put the ball past Peter Shilton with the use of his hand instead of the head as many believed it to be. However, his second and winning goal of the game was a mesmerising solo run that started from the halfway line and go past five defenders before rounding keeper Shilton and scoring to give Argentina a 2-1 win. Afterwards, Maradona claimed that his first goal was scored by ‘Hand of God’.
“Obviously I think about it whenever I show my support for the use of technology,” Maradona said in an interview to FIFA’s official website. “I thought about it and, sure, that goal wouldn’t have stood if technology had been around. And I’ll tell you something else: at the 1990 World Cup I used my hand to clear the ball off the line against the Soviet Union. We were lucky because the referee didn’t see it. You couldn’t use technology back then, but it’s a different story today.”
One of the criticisms of the VAR is that players and officials alike reckon that a lot of time is wasted in going over the decisions but Maradona reckons that it isn’t the case. “People used to say that we’d waste a lot of time, that it would cause a lot of annoyance. But that’s not the case. People get annoyed when something that shouldn’t be given is given, or when you have a goal wrongly disallowed. Technology brings transparency and quality, and it provides a positive outcome for teams who decide to attack and take risks.”
He also added that it was important for football to embrace technology with other sports already using technology to improve the decision making. “Football can’t fall behind. Given the rate at which technology is advancing and the fact that every sport uses it, how can we not think about using it in football?”
Besides recalling his 1986 World Cup goal, the Argentine legend also recalled Frank Lampard’s not-given-goal against Germany during the 2010 World Cup. “It’s not just my goal in ‘86 that wouldn’t have counted. Let’s not forget that England won the World Cup in ‘66 with a shot that didn’t go over the line. Then it happened to them in 2010, when (Frank) Lampard’s shot crossed the line against Germany but wasn’t given. England had the ball and scored the goal they deserved, but Germany grew in confidence after that and it changed the match completely.”
“There have been lots of incidents where World Cup history would have been different if technology had been used. It’s time to change all that.” At the 2010 World Cup, Lampard’s shot from distance hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced behind the goal line but it wasn’t spotted and the goal didn’t stand. England went on to lose the game 1-4 against Germany.