Maradona's other great World Cup goal

Maradona's other great World Cup goal

BRASILIA - Argentina's World Cup quarter-final against Belgium on Saturday will rekindle memories of a brilliant goal scored by Diego Maradona that is one of the finest to have graced the tournament.

It is for his brace against England in the quarter-finals of the 1986 World Cup that Maradona is best remembered: the notorious 'Hand of God', followed by the 70-yard dribble dubbed 'The Goal of the Century'.

But in the semi-final against Belgium, which also took place at Mexico City's 110,000-seater Estadio Azteca, he scored a goal almost as dazzling as the one that had broken England's hearts three days before.

There are 62 minutes on the clock when the 25-year old, who had given Argentina the lead earlier in the second half, collects a pass from Jose Luis Cuciuffo 35 yards from goal in the Belgian half.

Turning towards goal, he feints to go left, drawing defenders Stephane Demol and Patrick Vervoot towards him, before sharply slipping the ball to the right with his left foot, throwing the pair off balance.

A burst of acceleration takes him into the penalty area and after surging to his left, burning off a befuddled Eric Gerets, he thunders the ball past goalkeeper Jean-Marie Pfaff.

The follow-through from the shot almost carries Maradona off his feet, but with exaggerated effort he manages to remain upright before racing down the touchline with his right arm aloft in celebration.

For former Belgium defender Georges Grun, a helpless bystander at the Azteca who now works as a television consultant, it is a goal that springs to mind every time he watches Argentina's current number 10, Lionel Messi.

"In 1986, Maradona was simply unstoppable. Not only in that match, but during the whole tournament," Grun told the website of Belgian television channel RTL.

"Like Maradona at that time, Messi is the one who has to be watched. With their little steps, they're players who always maintain contact with the ball, so it's difficult to take it from them without committing a foul." On Maradona's goal, Grun remembers: "He manages to slip between three players before beating Jean-Marie Pfaff.

"We might give the impression that we're just watching him play, but touching him would have meant giving away a penalty. He was a football genius."

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