The English FA have paid tribute to the man whose “Hand of God” at the 1986 World Cup infuriated an entire nation, describing the recently-deceased Diego Maradona as a “legend of our game”.
England has endured more than its share of dark days throughout the last forty or so years. Stuart Pearce and Chris Waddle in 1990. Gareth Southgate six years later.
But amid numerous instances of on-field agony, perhaps none of them can quite compare to what transpired when England faced Argentina in the 1986 World Cup quarter-final at the Estadio Azteca on that sunny June afternoon in Mexico City.
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With the spectre of the Falklands War looming large over of the game, England took to the field with ambitions of running over what was – Maradona aside – a distinctly average Argentina team, but despite being armed with the midfield artistry of Glenn Hoddle or the goalscoring instincts of Gary Lineker, each and every player was overshadowed by the Argentinian genius.
His first goal that day, the now infamous ‘Hand of God’, rendered Maradona to be a permanently vilified figure within English football. Taking advantage of a miscued clearance by Steve Hodge, the 5ft 5in Argentina skipper charged towards the advancing English goalkeeper Peter Shilton and launched into the air to prod the ball into the empty goal with his hand.
Unforgettable.Farewell, Diego. A legend of our game. pic.twitter.com/iIXGLEf7B1
— England (@England) November 25, 2020
In today’s VAR-dominated game, it would be an afterthought. In 1986, it was an incident which defined an entire generation of footballers.
But if the first goal enraged a nation, the second had it enthralled. Just four minutes later, Maradona seized upon a loose ball in midfield, engineering just enough space that his talent required. England’s midfield general Peter Reid trailed in his wake. Terry Butcher couldn’t do much better. Terry Fenwick was left for dead. Shilton? Helpless.
It was later called the ‘Goal of the Century’.
If England and their fans were (justifiably) aggrieved by the nature of the first goal, the second was undeniable. In a way, this game was the perfect microcosm of what Diego Armando Maradona brought to a football pitch: unbelievable artistry combined with a ruthless ‘anything at any cost’ approach to winning.
Also on rt.com ‘The greatest player I’ve ever seen, by some way’: Football world stunned as global icon Diego Maradona passes away
True to form, Maradona was central to Argentina beating West Germany in the World Cup Final that year – and perhaps no national team captain has deserved the feeling of wrapping his hands around that famous trophy quite as much as Maradona did that day.
And as if to show that there are no hard feelings, English football’s official Twitter account summed up the footballing icon simply: “Unforgettable,” they wrote. “Farewell Diego, a legend of our game.”
When our soldiers saw that the Armenian population of one village of Aghdam district could not leave on time, they created conditions for them to go. No-one insulted them.
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said in his address to the nation, Report informs.
However, the hated enemy is burning our forests, burning our houses, destroying water lines. Do they think that this will stop us? We have drawn water lines everywhere – to remote mountains, to mountain villages. We will restore them all, all of them. Relevant instructions have already been given, and I am confident that we will do it in time.
“For our part, we will build and create. We will revive these cities and districts. We have major plans for the restoration of these lands. These plans and infrastructure projects are already being implemented,” President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said in his address to the nation.
“The construction of a new road to Shusha has already begun. In Soviet times, there was one way to Shusha – from Aghdam to Khankandi and from there to Shusha. We are now building a new road from Fuzuli district. It will pass through a part of the Khojavand district. I have ordered to do this as soon as possible. However, this is a huge task, there was no road before, and a new one is being built through forests. There are ravines, hills, and difficult terrain, but we will do it. We will restore the railways. In particular, preliminary instructions have already been given to restore the railway to the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. We have already taken tangible steps to restore the Barda-Aghdam railway. This road is a must for the Aghdam restoration and comfort of people who will live there in the future. All this work will be carried out in a planned manner, and the Azerbaijan people will be regularly updated about the work to be done. We must do all the work in a planned manner. I want to say again: first of all, all the damage will be calculated with international experts’ participation. Then lawsuits will be filed. Then comes the reconstruction of our cities and villages based on master plans. The necessary measures related to agriculture, other infrastructure projects, water, and electricity will be taken. Then come the roads. When we drove the enemy out of Shusha, it destroyed the water line feeding the city. There is no water in Shusha now. It is what the enemy is like,” the head of state added.
The occupation of the Kalbajar district was a great tragedy as other regions. After the occupation of Shusha and Lachin districts in May 1992, the invasion of Kalbajar also created a geographical link between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. Everyone knows that the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region did not have a border with the Republic of Armenia. Armenia was separated from Nagorno-Karabakh by the Lachin district and the Lachin corridor. The occupation of Lachin, Shusha, and then Kalbajar districts created a geographical connection between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh over a large area, and this was the enemy’s goal. After the occupation of Kalbajar, it is possible to say that communication was established between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh in many ways. First of all, weapons, equipment, and manpower were sent there from Armenia. At the same time, it provided significant advantages for Armenia’s subsequent policy of aggression.
The occupation of the Kalbajar district is the direct responsibility of the then ruling Popular Front of Azerbaijan. In general, the main culprit in the occupation of our lands is the Popular Front of Azerbaijan. Because if they had not come to power illegally in 1992 if they had not staged a coup, perhaps our lands would not have been occupied. Of course, it is challenging to go back in history and say what could and could not have happened. But in any case, they have played a direct role in our lands’ occupation, and they bear this responsibility. Because in the spring of 1992, the power struggle reached its peak. There were internal conflicts in Azerbaijan, chaos, crisis, a political crisis, and the power struggle led to severe consequences. Armenia continued to take advantage of this to occupy our lands. After the occupation of Shusha and Lachin, the situation reached a critical level. Taking advantage of this, the Popular Front of Azerbaijan came to power due to a coup. But what happened after that? After that, they focused all their efforts on strengthening the weakened government, organizing persecutions in our country, applying censorship, and taking other anti-democratic steps. Our lands were under occupation. Our civilian population was expelled from their ancestral lands. Still, the Popular Front of Azerbaijan and its leadership had only one goal – to fill their pockets, appoint their relatives, and prolong their lives government. The occupation of Kalbajar was the result of these ugly steps. It could not have been otherwise. The younger generation may not remember this, but they should know who was leading Azerbaijan and people of what knowledge and what skills were leading Azerbaijan. Those people had no experience. Those people – the people who were represented in the government at the time, the people who held high positions – had never led a single department, not a single small enterprise. How could they run the country, especially in a crisis? But their yearning for power, their greed, their appetite, and avarice led to this situation in Azerbaijan. Look who governed Azerbaijan at the time?! The speaker of parliament was a junior researcher, in fact, a failed researcher. The secretary of state was a careerist from the Komsomol who had betrayed his leader at a later stage, set his eyes for his post, rejoiced in his death more than anyone else, and lived his entire life under the control of foreign circles. What kind of management would you expect from them? What kind of patriotism would you expect from them? What professionalism would you expect? The minister of foreign affairs was a random person who couldn’t speak any foreign language, a physics teacher, someone who had no idea what foreign relations are, what international norms and principles are. He walked around like a tourist and said what he wanted to say. The minister of defense was a math teacher. Can a math teacher be a defense minister? It was this math teacher who handed Shusha over to the enemy. He said that if Shusha was lost, he would shoot himself in the head. It is still hanging around here and there. We have returned Shusha, we did! You sold it, traitors.
There were widespread robberies, the minister of internal affairs, and journalists were getting arrested, beaten up, and thrown into the trunks of cars during live broadcasts. Such were the leaders of the Popular Front of Azerbaijan. The prime minister was a junior researcher on scientific communism. Look at these contrasts. The man responsible for advancing the country’s economy based on a market economy was a junior researcher on scientific communism. What kind of governance, what kind of reforms, what type of defense could you expect? Our grief and tragedy are that random people came to power, usurped power, and took our country into the abyss.
If Heydar Aliyev had not come to power at the request of the people in 1993, Azerbaijan would not only have lost the remaining lands but would have also lost its statehood in general. They started a civil war to maintain their weakened government. They took our own soldiers prisoner. They bombed Ganja. Let no-one forget that! Those unaware should know this. The younger generation should know who caused us this trouble. Who is to blame for this tragedy? Who is to blame for the plight of a million people? The government of the Popular Front of Azerbaijan at that time. If we were to draw comparisons now, their collective image is like that of Pashinyan – incompetent, not knowledgeable, weak-willed, cowardly, deserter, inexperienced in management, influenced by foreign circles, ruled by them, and destroying their own country. Look, they are all like Pashinyan. Those who do not know them should look at Pashinyan if they want to get an idea about them. Let them look at his steps and see the image of the then Popular Front of Azerbaijan and the country’s leadership.
“Kalbajar district has been liberated from occupation today. I heartily congratulate all the people of Azerbaijan on this occasion. Your native district has been liberated from occupation. The people of Azerbaijan have been looking forward to this day for years. The enemy invaded Kalbajar on 2 April 1993. They savagely expelled innocent people from their ancestral lands and severely damaged the historical sites and nature of Kalbajar,” President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said in his address to the nation.
“The occupation of Kalbajar district was a great tragedy. The occupation of each district was a great tragedy. After the occupation of Shusha and Lachin districts in May 1992, the occupation of Kalbajar also created a geographical link between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. Everyone knows that the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region did not have a border with the Republic of Armenia. Armenia was separated from Nagorno-Karabakh by the Lachin district and the Lachin corridor. The occupation of Lachin, Shusha, and then Kalbajar districts created a geographical connection between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh over a large area, and this was the enemy’s goal. After the occupation of Kalbajar, it is possible to say that communication was established between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh in many ways. First of all, weapons, equipment, and manpower were sent there from Armenia. At the same time, it provided great advantages for Armenia’s subsequent policy of aggression,” the head of state added.
Tonight, the Azerbaijani Army will take control over the occupied Kalbajar region.
While withdrawing from Kalbajar region under the tripartite agreement reached on November 9, Armenian military units do not forget to blow up military units and barracks.
RIA Novosti filmed the moment when the building of the military unit was exploded by the Armenian military in Kalbajar.
The Armenians who evacuate Kalbajar burn not only military facilities, but also the houses where they lived, cut down trees and even dug the graves of their close relatives and took their bones with them.
Baku Media Center released a video on Armenia’s vandalism in previously occupied territories of Azerbaijan.
“Everything was destroyed, damaged and razed to the ground in Karabakh during the occupation. The scope of Armenia’s vandalism, Armenian war crimes is beyond any imagination. Azerbaijan declares that all-out reconstruction work will be conducted,” the Center’s message said.
The last column of the Armenian armed forces has today left Kalbajar ahead of the transfer of the district to Azerbaijan.
Earlier, Azerbaijan agreed to prolong the deadline for the withdrawal from Kalbajar of Armenian armed forces and of illegal Armenian settlers until November 25.
The Azerbaijani military has taken the next step to demonstrate that our country does not wage war against the civilian population and treat civilians under international humanitarian law, Report informs.
Armenians living in the Gulabli village of Aghdam appealed to the Azerbaijani military to remove their belongings.
Azerbaijani service members helped Armenians who have not yet left the village.
Thus, unlike the enemy, the highly professional Azerbaijani servicemen have once again confirmed their humanism and humanity.
The Azerbaijani Army has never mistreated the civilian population but provided assistance.
The Armenians residing in Gulabli village of Aghdam district asked the Azerbaijani servicemen for help to remove their belongings ahead of the transfer of the district to Azerbaijan.
The Azerbaijani servicemen rendered their assistance to the Armenian family.
This step is another manifestation of the humanism of Azerbaijani servicemen. Azerbaijani military officers and soldiers have always demonstrated high professionalism and humanity, both in combat and non-combat conditions. Azerbaijani servicemen have never mistreated the civilian population.
On November 23, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva visited the Juma Mosque in the Agdam city liberated from the Armenian occupation.
A detailed report on the visit will be issued on November 24.
On November 10, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia signed an agreement to end six weeks of fierce fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh. According to the agreement, on November 20, the Aghdam region was handed over to Azerbaijan.
The German military has attacked a Turkish ship sailing in the eastern Mediterranean, Report says, referring to Haber7.
In violation of international law, the German military detained the Turkish-branded ship for hours in the eastern Mediterranean.
The Turkish-flagged ship ROSELINA-A2 carrying humanitarian aid materials left Istanbul for Libya. On the night of November 22, the ship, led by the Greek Navy commander, was stopped by a German boat in the Peloponnese during Operation Irin, in violation of international law.
According to the law of maritime transport, a service member of another state may not board a ship and inspect it without the flag-bearing government’s permission.
The ship was carrying humanitarian aid, including food such as biscuits and paint.