The second goal, described by Bobby Robson a “miracle”, has gone down in history as the World Cup's greatest goal, and possibly the whole of modern football. Ossie Ardiles described both the goal and Maradona as: “Unbelievable. He is just unbelievable. His goal was one of the best I have seen in my life – never mind in a World Cup Finals when the pressure is at its height”. “That electrifying run of 50 yards or more past three England defenders and, finally, their master goalkeeper put an end to every Englishman’s World Cup dream”, does not do justice to the goal, that simply has to be seen.
We are jumping ahead though. That was Argentina’s second goal, famous for its brilliance. The first goal, however, is famous for its controversy.
The tabloid newspapers were typically blunt, complaining that Maradona was able to “punch the ball into the net”, describing it as a ‘cheat’ goal. It was “one of the biggest injustices in the competition’s history”, “a blatant act of cheating”. England manager Bobby Robson openly stated his belief that “Maradona handled the ball into the goal”, and Maradona himself described the goal as being scored “a little with the hand of Diego and a little with the head of Maradona”. The vitriol (in England at least) was not helped by the fact it was broadcast on live television to millions of viewers, who could clearly see the handball.
The goal went on to be known as the “Hand of God”, with public criticism divided between the cheating of Maradona and the perceived incompetence of the referee, Ali Bennaceur. Teammate Jorge Valdano publicly said Maradona felt bad about the goal, but Bennaceur was unflinching in his own defense: “I was the man on the spot….The referee is the man who must make up his own mind and stick by his decision”, despite the many protestations that the decision should have been different.  While some blamed it on Maradona’s nature, some saw it as a prominent example of declining morality in professional sport, exemplifying that winning is more important than winning fairly.
Views on Maradona were more divided than ever: to the English, he was a cheat, to the Argentines a hero – at least in the tabloids. The broadsheets were more measured and did not deter (as much) from the bigger story: Maradona cementing his place as one of the great football players of all time if he could perform in the remaining two matches of the tournament. If he could remain calm, and the Argentine team around him could maintain the tactical approach they had used so far, then Argentina would be the favourites for the World Cup. Maradona, after all, could be mistaken for “an animated advertisement for a version of the game that is being played on another planet”, such was his talent. 
In the semi-final against Belgium, Maradona would “establish himself as Latin America’s greatest footballer since Pele”, scoring both goals in a 2-0 win, part of an “immaculate display” that made Belgium look “inadequate”. The kid from Buenos Aires, from a family too poor to afford to buy him a football, who played football because he had no TV to distract him, who became the youngest player to play in both the Argentinian league and International team due to his prodigious talent, had proved he was worthy of his place in the high estimation of many. He received a standing ovation at the end of the match, playing so well that Belgium, by the end of the match, had resorted to fouling in an attempt to subdue him.