Twenty-four years after Diego Maradona’s Hand of God against England in the 1986 World Cup quarterfinals, yet another South American has done it again.
With the scores tied at 1-1 in extra time at the 120th minute, Luis Suarez of Uruguay decides to use his hands to block a header from entering the net.
Suarez was not the goalkeeper for his team. And according to the rules of the game — any handball offence in the penalty area is followed by an immediate red card and awarding of a penalty kick to the opposing side.
And the rest, my dear football fans, is history. Ghana missed their spot kick, and Uruguay went on to win the subsequent penalty shootout.
What other name could you assign to Suarez’s handball other than The Hand of God? Higher, supernatural forces were clearly at work in preventing Ghana from scoring, the same way how Maradona’s goal was allowed to stand 24 years ago.
And now, the raging debate among fans is: were Suarez’s actions considered cheating?
Unlike Maradona’s handball, this time the handball by Suarez was detected by the referee, and Suarez was sent-off immediately for the infringement. He will be suspended for the semifinal match against Holland.
Uruguay committed an offence. The offence was spotted, and Suarez was punished to the full extent of the game’s rules. Justice was correctly served. Unfortunately, Ghana could not convert Uruguay’s punishment to their advantage.
I feel that Suarez’s actions are a perfect example of Playing to Win. It’s not the prettiest method, and you could argue that it was (quite literally) an underhanded way to win the game. But a victory is still a victory.
This is one of the best World Cups in recent memory. Vuvuzelas; defending champions knocked-out; Robert Greens; Brazilian foot-stomping; Lampard-ed crossbars, and now Hand of God.