Diego Maradona is undoubtedly one of the best to ever grace a football pitch, but his involvement in England’s downfall in 86 will consistently vilify him.
This quarter-final between England and Argentina occurred in the aftermath of the Falklands War, although those partaking in the match were not enticed by the narrative expressed by the media.
This game brought greater meaning than anyone could have anticipated.
In the 51st minute, the ball was laid off to Jorge Valdano, tightly marked by Steve Hodge. Hodge launched what seemed to be a sliced clearance into the area at a height. As Peter Shilton advances off his line to claim, Maradona also rose to the ball, lifting his arm above his head and steering the ball into an empty net. It was not the hand of God, but the hand of Diego.
England were infuriated with the decision and were quick to protest to the officials, but with no luxury of VAR, the goal would stand.
The controversy of the century was followed by arguably the goal of the century by the very same man.
The Argentinian received the ball inside his own half. He twirled instantly past Beardsley and Reid of the opposition, before accelerating further into the opposition half. He jinked inside butcher and his defensive partner Fenwick on the edge of the area, before dribbling past Shilton and slotting the ball home.
Paul Gascoigne may have played out a glittering career across the likes of Newcastle, Tottenham, and Lazio, but one moment stands out from the rest that changed England forever.
After safely making their way out of the group stages, the midfielder was brandished a yellow in the second-round tie against Belgium. He went on to bag an assist for Platt’s winner, although wary that picking up another yellow would mean seeing a game out from the stands.
A result against Cameroon in the quarter-finals scheduled a clash against West Germany, a night to le Gazza’s mark on the nation for eternity.
An own goal looked to be England’s undoing until Gary Lineker fired in a half-volley to level up the match late in the second half.
In the 98th minute, disaster struck. Paul Gascoigne made a loose challenge on Thomas Bertholt albeit with little contact, which put an end to his campaign whether England progressed or not
Gazza's iconic tears ensued, and his efforts were in vain as England made their exit on penalties.
Although they were not victorious, Paul Gascoigne and his team evoked a new order, reigniting the nation's love for the game.