Hand of God

Trip Start Jun 03, 2006
Trip End Jul 05, 2006

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Friday, July 7, 2006

Maradona (that's right, he's got his own website) was a soccer player and, according to many Argentines, the best soccer player ever. His peak of skill and fame came during harsh economic times in the country and, because he had a poor working class background, he was a hero to the nation.
The last time that Argentina won the mundial of the world cup was in 1986. Argentina went on to win the world cup, but first they had to beat England in the semis. During that game, Maradona scored his most famous (or infamous, depending on how you look at it) goal of his career: The Hand of God. On that shot, Maradona went up for a header against the goalie and got the ball in the net. However, upon review, it looked like he hit the ball with his hand, not his head (as the goalie was much taller). However, the ref didn't see the handball and allowed the goal. English has been pissed ever since. You can watch a video of the goal here. When confronted after the game, Maradona claimed that the hand of god had scored the goal.
What isn't talked about much in Argentina are these two facts. One, that Maradona was later suspended from soccer for cocaine use. The other, that much later, Maradona admitted that it wasn't the hand of god, but his own hand. I never found out if he meant to hit the ball with his hand or if it was an accident.
Whatever the case, Maradona and his Hand of God are such a big deal in Argentina that there is an actual Church of Maradona. That's right, he's got his own church. It's kind of like the church of the fonz.

Argentina vs. Germany:
So, the game was very exciting. I got pictures which I'll upload as soon as I get consistent internet (and of other things). The crowd (in Argentina) went nuts when they scored the first goal. It was kind of weird because the tv crowd was going nuts for Germany (where the world cup is this year) but the crowd around me went nuts for Argentina. For days afterward, the only songs in my head were "Ole, Ole, Ole, Ole" and "Vamos, Vamos, Argentina!"
The game went past both overtimes (1-1) and went to penalty shots, pretty much the most tense way for a game to end. Again, the crowd was going nuts. However, as soon as Germany won, everyone just silently headed for the door, all business.
The consensus was that the referees handed the game to Germany.
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