Sunday 20 January 2019

'What I saw was a monumental theft' - Diego Maradona's slightly wacky view on England's World Cup win against Colombia

Diego Maradona
Diego Maradona
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Diego Maradona has launched an extraordinary rant following England's penalty shoot-out win against Colombia at the World Cup, after claiming their victory was tantamount to 'a monumental theft'.

Maradona famously handled the ball into the net as his Argentina side beat England in the 1986 World Cup finals, but he hinted England's win against Colombia was just as big a travesty for the game as he opened up in an appearance as a pundit with teleSUR.

Suggesting England captain Harry Kane has manufactured his clash with Carlos Sanchez in a bid to win a second half penalty, Maradona also hinted FIFA and referees chief Pierluigi Collina contributed to the result.

"What I saw was a monumental theft. I apologise to all the Colombian people, but they must know the players are not to blame," he declared.

"It is the man who decides who the referee is who is to blame. A man like that (Geiger) should not be put in charge of a game of that magnitude. With all due respect, Pierluigi Collina, as the man who designates the referees, he is very bad. He must apologise to the Colombian people.

"The referee will know a lot about baseball, but he has no idea about football. The Colombian players asked for VAR and he did not give it to them.

"I told (FIFA president) Gianni Infantino that if I worked for FIFA I would change everything. It has to be transparent. That's why I didn't go there.

"Twice the English threw themselves to the ground and he did not admonish them. This was theft.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 Sanchez and then threw himself down.

"I repeat, why didn't the referee ask for the VAR? Colombia died standing. That's why I applaud them."

Maradona had made little secret of his allegiances at this World Cup following Argentina's exit last weekend as he posted an image of him in a Colombia short before Tuesday's game to support his fellow South Americans.

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