Victim Shilton left waiting for apology over 'hand of God' goal

Sports | AGENCIES 27 Nov 2020

Diego Maradona possessed "greatness but not sportsmanship," says former England goalkeeper Peter Shilton, the victim to the infamous "hand of God" goal in the 1986 World Cup quarter-final.

Shilton said he did not like that the Argentinian legend had "never apologized" for using his hand in scoring the first of his two goals in the 2-1 victory in Mexico's Azteca Stadium.

"Never at any stage did he say he had cheated and that he would like to say sorry. Instead, he used his 'Hand of God' line. That wasn't right," said Shilton, who described Maradona as "the greatest player I ever faced."

"It seems he had greatness in him but sadly no sportsmanship."

Shilton, capped 125 times by England, added: "My life has long been linked with that of Diego Maradona - and not in the way I would have liked.

"But I am saddened to hear of his passing at such a young age. He was undoubtedly the greatest player I ever faced."

Shilton, 71, said England were still reeling from the "cheating" when Maradona scored his sublime second goal. "It was a great goal but we were in no doubt - without the first goal he would not have scored the second."

Shilton said he had rejected the chance to appear with Maradona on several occasions. "I would be happy to do it if I thought he was going to apologize," said the two-time European Cup winner with Nottingham Forest. "I would have shaken his hand. But I was never given any indication that was likely to happen."

Time, however, has softened the blow for former midfielder Trevor Steven, who was among the players who started for England in the match.

"As time goes by, the feelings get diluted somewhat and the wounds healed," Steven said. "You could take Maradona for what he was - a genius footballer, a flawed genius with his lifestyle, but with his footballing ability he was out there on his own.

"No one could do what he could do. That [Hand of God] was a split second but he had 15 years of professional football where he won the highest honors."

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