10) The Feet of God: Diego does the sublime
Diego Maradona (Argentina) vs England, 22 June 1986
Four minutes after his conning – sorry, cunning – had put Argentina ahead in their quarter-final, Diego Maradona displayed his unquestionable class with a solo strike so good it was voted FIFA's Goal of the Century. For all the arguments over his opening goal, this cemented his reputation as one of the finest players football had ever seen.
Receiving the ball just inside Argentina's half and slightly to the right of the centre circle, Maradona immediately executes a dragback to swivel away from Peter Reid and Peter Beardsley, not to mention jogging left-sider Steve Hodge. A touch and a burst of acceleration take him 15 yards into the England half, but when Terry Butcher lumbers towards him, a quick dart to the left leaves the Ipswich centre-half wrong-footed and floundering. Gliding across the Azteca turf, Maradona tempts, teases and beats Terry Fenwick; as Peter Shilton comes out to meet him, the Argentinian drags it past the goalkeeper, shields it with his body from the doggedly chasing Butcher and slips it home with his weaker right foot. Eleven seconds of unplayable genius.
Three days later, two more Maradona goals – including a fair attempt at a carbon-copy – beat Belgium in the semi-final, before his pass set up the winner in the final against West Germany. The unstoppable talent had led his country to glory.
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