Maradona vs. England: a key moment in Latin American culture

The story of Diego Armando Maradona in the 1986 World Cup match was key for Latin culture. Let's see why.

Maradona in a match against England

We tell you all about this mythical match between Argentina and England. / Photo: El Grafico Magazine

LatinAmerican Post | Ariel Cipolla

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Leer en español: Maradona contra Inglaterra: un momento clave en la cultura latinoamericana

Diego Armando Maradona's death shocked the world. He was an incomparable player, who was considered by many to be the best footballer of all time. What is really curious is that his work transcended sports and positioned him as a cultural icon. 

Especially, his country, Argentina, always saw him as a true eminence on the field of play. Particularly in the match that the Argentina National Team played against England in the 1986 World Cup, where what many call the best goal in football history was achieved.

Although it seems like a simple soccer championship, it was much more. It revealed political and cultural struggles, with deep pain, between Europe and Latin America. In particular, between Argentina and England. Let's see why that moment in the planet's history was so iconic.

The history and relevance of the match between Argentina and England

The 1986 World Cup in Mexico marked a before and after in Diego Armando Maradona's career , but cultural changes also emerged. As for the first, we are talking about a tournament in which, according to 20 Minutes, Maradona went on to become a true “God”.

Apart from his enormous performance throughout the tournament, there was a key point in which Maradona stopped being a simple footballer. It was the match for the Quarterfinals. This happened because something impossible was accomplished, an event that would seem to be explained simply by irrationality.

To understand this, you have to analyze it culturally and politically. From Medio Tiempo they mentioned that, in that match, Maradona achieved a kind of "revenge" for Malvinas. It was a conflict that occurred in 1982, where more than 23,000 combatants lost their lives.

It was a warlike conflict that greatly affected Argentina and Latin America, because the country's soldiers were not prepared. On the contrary, they were young people who were forced by the government to attend a war, with fewer resources than the English. From that pain, Argentina had a thirst for revenge ... at least in another area.

For this reason, the game against England was going to have a very special seasoning for the Argentines, who wanted to win at all costs. What no one imagined is that, in that meeting, there would be two extraordinary events, all in less than 5 minutes, which led us to believe that there was "divine help" involved. 

The first of Maradona's goals was given through a “hand”, baptized as “The hand of God”. It was a moment in which, through pure paddock and Argentine mischief, he deceived the referees and the rivals themselves, in a play that felt like a kind of "divine justice", due to what had happened previously in the war conflict.

Also read: Maradona has died at 60

ESPN portrays that, on that day, Maradona became "D10S". Especially after that first goal, when he made the "goal of the century." We are talking about a play in which Maradona shone, leaving several Englishmen and the goalkeeper behind. 

Logic could never explain that goal since nothing similar was ever seen. If we take into account the history between both nations, we can say that that moment resulted in a kind of "divine justice" for Argentina. For this reason, it is explained that Maradona has become a legendary cultural symbol for the country, but also for Latin America, by mentioning that there is always hope in the face of the injustices of life.