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The Hand Of God: 30 Years On

  • Episode:

    1 of 1

  • Transmission (TX):

    Thu 26 Nov 2020

  • TX Confirmed


  • Time

    10.50pm - 11.45pm

  • Week:

    Week 48 2020 : Sat 21 Nov - Fri 27 Nov

  • Channel:


  • Published:

    Thu 26 Nov 2020

The Hand of God: 30 Years on

Following news of the death of Diego Maradona, ITV will rescreen a documentary which marked the 30th anniversary of Argentina's 1986 World Cup quarter-final against England - arguably his most iconic performance in a national team shirt.

First shown in 2016 and featuring contributions from England greats who played including Gary Lineker, Glenn Hoddle, Kenny Sansom, Terry Butcher, Steve Hodge and Peter Shilton, the programme reflects on the match itself in front of 114,000 fans in the Azteca Stadium, England’s performance in the lead-up, and the game’s political dimension four years after the Falklands War.

Produced by Goalhanger Films, the programme melds those insights from veteran players with archive material and music from the time to provide a close insight into one of the most famous moments in Maradona's career and in the history of the game.

It also features their views on the duality of Maradona - and the fact that just four minutes after cheating to score, he embarked on a driving run to score one of the great goals in World Cup history before inspiring his team to glory in the final.

Going into the World Cup, English football was in the doldrums, with clubs banned from Europe after Heysel and the game tainted by hooliganism. But with players like Bryan Robson, Gary Lineker, John Barnes and Glenn Hoddle in the squad, the England camp felt positive, says Terry Butcher: “It was a bloody good squad, some good players, so the mood was very good and very confident.”

Defeat to Portugal and  a draw with Morocco led into a tricky final group game with Poland but Gary Lineker promptly scored a hat-trick as England ran rampant, then bagged a double in their game against Paraguay in the round of 16. The sudden turnaround in form led some to believe England could win the World Cup for the first time in 20 years.

Next up in the quarter-final lay Argentina, and their captain Diego Maradona. The key issue, admits Butcher, was stopping him, saying: “I think the consensus was that the only way we were going to stop him was to try and kick him, but that’s easier said than done.”

The key moment came in the 51st minute, as the ball fell to Steve Hodge, who hooked it over his shoulder for Peter Shilton to catch, not realising Maradona was lurking. Hodge says: “I had a good left foot, it came at a nice height, and I flicked it back, and I caught the contact spot on. I had no hesitation in my brain in saying, ‘That could be a problem.”

Maradona pushed the ball over Shilton's head - and as the ball looped into the empty net, the England players looked to the referee to give a free kick for the handball. Instead, he and the linesman ran away, giving the goal. Shilton says: “Suddenly, we got the feeling, ‘My God, they are going to give it.’ We knew we had been cheated against and it was an incredible bit of refereeing.”

Then in the 55th minute, Maradona jinked through the England team to score a famous goal. Gary Lineker says: “That was some goal, I felt like I should applaud after that.”