- England booted Colombia out of the 2018 World Cup – and Diego Maradona is furious.
- Maradona had been supporting Argentina but switched allegiances when his country was dumped out of the tournament.
- Colombia has also been eliminated but Maradona has accused England of match “theft” and has claimed the referee knows nothing about football.
- Maradona has a long-standing rivalry with England, largely because of his “hand of God” goal in the 1986 World Cup, where he punched the ball into the net.
- Read all of Business Insider’s World Cup coverage here.
Maradona, 1986 World Cup champion, had been a prominent spectator during Argentina matches but seemingly switched allegiances when his country was dumped out of the competition by France.
His pick of Colombia only caused more World Cup disappointment for him as, despite the team’s “s—house tactics,” England prevailed right at the end of the match.
Maradona has argued that it is actually the English that was guilty of such tactics and even accused the Three Lions of “theft.”
He told Argentine TV, as per The Mirror: “I saw a monumental theft. I apologise to all the Colombian people, but they must know the players are not to blame.”
With the game precariously-tied at 1-1, the match went into extra-time and then penalties. England’s one goal in normal time arrived via a penalty kick won by captain and key striker Harry Kane, who held his nerve to convert from the spot.
But Maradona does not believe Kane deserved the penalty. “The penalty was not a foul. In fact, it was Kane’s fault. The referee is looking somewhere else and when he turns his head, Kane is on the floor. Kane used his arm to hook [Carlos] Sanchez and then threw himself down.”
Maradona has long-standing rivalry with England after his “hand of God” goal helped usher the Three Lions out of the 1986 World Cup.
He may have now renewed that rivalry by claiming the referee for Tuesday’s showdown should not have been “in charge of a game of that magnitude” as he “has no idea about football.”
He added: “Colombia died standing. That’s why I applaud them.”
Maradona has created a stream of headlines during his stay in Russia because of his apparently eccentric behaviour in a VIP box where he seemingly binged white wine, fell asleep at halftime, swore at Nigeria fans, required medical attention, and then flew off in a private jet.
The incident generated a lot of fake news, with some reports claiming Maradona had been hospitalised. The 57-year-old’s lawyer recently put a $US10,000 bounty out to find the journalists responsible for spreading the fake news about his death but the search, so far, has failed to yield success.
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