Maradona magic 'eclipsed Hand of God' moment, says Archie Macpherson

Diego Maradona: 30 years since 'Hand of God' and incredible solo effort

Controversy over Maradona's 'Hand of God' moment against England would have raged stronger had he not followed it up with one of the greatest-ever goals.

So says Scottish football commentator Archie Macpherson on the 30th anniversary of England's 2-1 defeat.

Macpherson was an eye witness at the Mexico World Cup quarter-final.

"Had he not been able to demonstrate the unique skills that he had, the controversy would have carried on even more ferociously," he says.

"That seemed to obliterate it."

Macpherson was in Mexico primarily to watch Scotland but remained there to cover the tournament after Sir Alex Ferguson's side failed to qualify from the group stage.

He recalled that England, with Terry Butcher at the heart of their defence and with Gary Lineker, the tournament's leading goalscorer, up front, were playing very well against the eventual champions until Maradona struck.

"I was privileged to sit in the Azteca Stadium along with 114,000 others to watch one of the most infamous games, depending on how you look at it, in world football," Macpherson told BBC Scotland.

"I was fortunate enough to be sitting around about level with the 18-yard line, although very high up - the Azteca is an enormous stadium.

Maradona scores past Peter Shilton for Argentina against England
Maradona scored Argentina's second goal against England in 1986

"In the 54th minute I think it was, in came Maradona pursuing a ball into the penalty area, the English goalkeeper, Peter Shilton, came out, tried to punch it clear, two hands went up in the air and the ball went past the goalkeeper into the net.

"I took it as a good, clear goal at that time, although it was noticeable the English players were furious, running to the referee with their arms up in the air.

"At first, we thought it might be offside and I was not at a television monitor and could not see what was shown by a slow-motion replay."

Having gone to talk to television producers, Macpherson was told that Maradona had used his hand to deflect the ball past Shilton.

"And then, four minutes later, one of the greatest goals ever scored in a World Cup finals or any football match was when he skinned four English players - he did it twice to Terry Butcher - deceived the goalkeeper - Peter Shilton fell on his backside because of the little dummy that Maradona sold him - and he slipped the ball into the back of the net," he said.

"It was just amazing."

'Resentment ate into England'

Macpherson thought that, had it not been for that first goal, which Maradona later described as being thanks to the hand of God, England could have gone on to win the game.

"There were times when they took the Argentina defence apart, so they were playing very well," he said.

"That first goal obviously stunned them and I think the resentment as well ate into their play.

"But, four minutes later, everything was obliterated because of the genius of the little man himself.

"The first goal obliterated the image of the second goal particularly because of the English media, who played it up enormously.

"[They said] it was a universal, catastrophic error - that the law of nature had been broken in some kind of way."

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