Iconic Latino Moments in World Cups

 | November 28, 2022

Image courtesy of Nuestro Stories.

As the next World Cup is getting underway, we wanted to take a moment and take a look back at some of the most iconic Latino moments in World Cup history — which is hard to narrow down because there have been plenty.

However, we picked a few of our absolute favorites to talk about — the moments that made us hold our breath or scream out loud or a combination of the two; the kind of iconic instances in sports history that made elicited a long-syllabled “GOOOOOOOOOOL” from our lips. 

La Mano de Dios

To this day, this 1986 quarterfinal game that pitted Argentina against England is considered one of the most controversial and epic moments in World Cup history. 

Diego Maradona, widely considered one of the best players in the history of the sport, scored an absolutely miraculous goal. Maradona jumped to hit the ball with his head to score a goal — which he did. What was at first unnoticed in the celebration of the moment was that the ball didn’t actually hit his head, but rather his hand, garnering the goal the nickname el mano de Dios. During a time when tensions between Argentina and England were already high due to the Falklands War, the win was a symbolic triumph for Argentina. 

The scissor kick heard around the World (Cup)

1986 was a seemingly magical year for Latinos in the World Cup because our next favorite moment also comes from that fateful time. Only this time, it’s Manuel Negrete taking center stage for his perfectly executed, once-in-a-lifetime scissor kick or “chilena” shot against Bulgaria, giving Mexico a 1-0 nothing victory. While a scissor kick may not seem monumental, it was so pristinely executed that it still lives in the memories of many. 

Anything Pelé

The name Pelé is known throughout the world. He is one of the most prolific goal-scorers of all time and one of the all-time best players throughout history. Which means nearly everything he does could be considered iconic. 

Yet it was his World Cup debut in the semi-finals against France that garnered him the title of youngest goalscorer in World Cup history, after scoring a hat-trick against the team — despite having missed the first two games of the series for injury. The record still holds to this day. 

Maradona, Part Two

Rounding out this list is, of course, Maradona once more because no one has truly given us as many iconic moments in one game as Maradona. While his Hand of God shot is considered one of the most iconic, his goal scored only 4 minutes later in the 1986 World Cup game against England is regarded as The Goal of the Century

With the entire team of opponents certainly gunning for his head after that shouldn’t-have-counted miracle goal, Maradona got the ball on his own half and single-handedly ran it down the field, slalom style, between multiple defenders until he broke through the goal line, aimed, fired, and landed another point for his squad. 

It’s been 36 years, and no goal compares. 

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Featured image is from the image Hoja Suelta, by José Guadalupe Posada, 1901.
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