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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 August 2005, 15:55 GMT 16:55 UK
Maradona stands by 'Hand of God'
Diego Maradona
Maradona is considered one of football's all-time greats
Argentine football hero Diego Maradona has said he is unrepentant about using his fist in a controversial goal against England in the 1986 World Cup.

Speaking on his TV show, Maradona said the intervention, which he nicknamed "The Hand of God", was justified.

"The truth is that I don't for a second regret scoring that goal with my hand," he said on the programme.

The footballer apparently defended his goal as his response to Britain's claim to the Falkland islands.

He said he wanted to let Argentines and the whole world know the truth about a key moment in football history.

Maradona scored the goal by punching the ball into the net during a jump as goalkeeper Peter Shilton leapt into the air towards the ball.

Argentina won the match 2-1 thanks to a second, impressive goal scored by Maradona, and described by England coach Bobby Robson as "a miracle".

The South American team went on to win the World Cup that year.

'Robbing a thief'

But that first Argentine goal will remain among the most controversial episodes in football history.

From the referee's angle it looked as though Maradona had headed the ball into the back of the net.

After scoring during the quarter-final match, Maradona said the boys came over to celebrate.

"They were quite timid. They came over to embrace me but it was as if they were saying: 'We've robbed them'," he said.

"But I said to them: 'Whoever robs a thief gets a 100-year pardon.'"

The player was apparently referring to the Falklands War, fought unsuccessfully by Argentina against the UK to take control of the islands it claimed as its own.

Maradona's show is called La Noche del Diez (Number Ten Night) - a reference to the Number 10 shirt Maradona wore for the national side.

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