When the hand of God touched football

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Peru forward Raul Ruidiaz thought he was caught red-handed after referee Andres Cunha stopped the game for four minutes to deliberate over his blatant handball goal.

Despite the halt in play, the officials miraculously got it wrong and awarded the goal, as Peru dumped Brazil out of the Copa America Centenario group stage with a 1-0 win.

Here's a few other memorable moments when 'divine intervention' helped a side get over the line.

Diego Maradona - Argentina v England, 1986 

Diego Maradona's first goal against England in the 1986 FIFA World Cup quarter final introduced the world to the 'hand of god.'

After the match, Maradona cheekily said the goal was scored "a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God,"

Just four minutes later, Maradona picked up the ball inside his own half beat four England players, rounded the keeper and scored what is commonly known as the 'goal of the century.' The football gods were smiling down on the Argentine legend that day.

Lionel Messi - Barcelona v Espanyol, 2007

The similarities between Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona are uncanny - the goals they score, their diminutive stature and their nationality. Messi paid homage to the hand of God with this goal against Espanyol, cementing his place as Maradona's heir. 

Thierry Henry - France v Republic of Ireland, 2009

The luck of the Irish was trumped by the football gods in 2009, when France striker Thierry Henry deliberately handled the ball in the lead up to this extra-time goal, which ended Republic of Ireland's hopes of qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Adriano - Inter Milan v AC Milan, 2009

Adriano audaciously claimed this goal in Inter Milan's 2-1 win over fierce rival AC Milan, much to the disgust of the Rossoneri faithful. The goal stood and Adriano escaped retrospective punishment due to insufficient proof that the handball was intentional, we'll let you be the judge.

Miroslav Klose - Lazio v Napoli, 2012 

The hand of God touched Miroslav Klose during Lazio's 3-0 defeat against Napoli in 2012. The referee awarded the goal, before the striker admitted to his indiscretion and the goal was overturned. 

Klose lost the match, but won the affection of Napoli fans and players alike.

Stefan Kiessling - Bayer Leverkusen v Hoffenheim, 2013

The Bayer Leverkusen striker showed the football gods work in more ways than one with the fortuitous goal in his side's 2-1 win over Hoffenheim. It appeared to be a routine goal, until replays showed the ball had sneaked into a hole in the side netting.

Paul Scholes - Manchester United v Zenit St Petersburg, 2008

If you're going to fool the referee, linesmen, and millions of fans watching, you need to bring your a game. Manchester United great Paul Scholes found this out the hard way after was sent off for trying to replicate the hand of God during United's 2-1 loss to Zenit St Petersburg.

Raúl Ruidíaz - Brazil v Peru, 2016

The goal which has everyone talking right now, which condemned Brazil to its first Copa America group-stage exit since 1987. With the hand of God smiling on Messi and Maradona, while bearing its wrath on Brazil, its not hard to figure out where its allegiances lie.

 


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