Revisiting Diego Maradona's 'Goal of the Century' for Argentina against England at the 1986 World Cup

Maradona Goal of the CenturyGetty Images

Eleven seconds was all that Diego Maradona needed to make football history.

A mazy run followed by a clinical finish gave birth to a moment of sporting genius. Peter Shilton was left crawling on the ground, just like five other teammates, as Maradona slotted the ball into the net on June 22, 1986 at Estadio Azteca in the World Cup quarter-final.

Years later, that goal is still considered one of the greatest ever scored in a World Cup, or anywhere else.

Article continues below

Watch: Maradona's 'Goal of the Century'

How did Maradona score the 'Goal of the Century'?

Just four minutes after the infamous 'Hand of God', where Maradona scored with his fist, an act of footballing sorcery took place.

England were 1-0 down after the controversial 'Hand of God' goal and were trying to get back into the match. In the 55th minute, Peter Beardsley lost possession to Jose Luis Cuciuffo. Hector Henrique received the pass and then moved it on to Maradona, who was inside his own half.

As soon as he had the ball at his feet, he pirouetted to escape the challenge of Gary Stevens. Peter Reid swiftly tried to close him down but the Argentine left him in his wake with a deft half turn and transferred the ball from his right to his favourite left.

Reid was bamboozled by the artistry and after running beside Maradona for a few yards, he gave up the chase as if he could already see the writing on the wall.

After escaping two challenges, the Argentine No.10 raced down the right-wing like a man on a mission. Terry Butcher tried stop the forward but his trailing leg wasn't enough.

At the edge of the penalty box, England's other centre-back Terry Fenwick, who was already on a yellow, put in a half-hearted challenge, and Maradona, with a slight body feint, left him trailing in his wake.

Now, the legendary Argentine skipper was one-on-one against Shilton, who had come off his line to narrow the angle. Maradona slowed down and dribbled past the Three Lions' goalkeeper, with his majestic left foot leaving his opponent sprawled on the pitch.

Meanwhile, Butcher had covered ground and slid in to stop the marauding forward - but his challenge was a fraction late and by then the ball had already crossed the line.

Maradona stumbled but was soon back to his feet, running towards the corner flag to celebrate.

What did Maradona say about the 'Goal of the Century'?

In 2002, the goal was voted 'Goal of the Century' as part of the build-up to the World Cup in Japan and South Korea.

Maradona later stated: "I made the play to give it to Valdano, but when I got to the area they surrounded me and I had no space. Therefore, I had to continue the play and finish it myself."

He also made a tongue-in-cheek comment about the England defence. He said: "I don't think I could have done it against any other team because they all used to knock you down; they (England) are probably the noblest in the world."

Maradona passed away in November 2020 but his magical exploits make him immortal among football fans - and there was no greater act than the Goal of the Century.

Further reading