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Maradona retaliates over 'Hand of God' goal

  • Story Highlights
  • Diego Maradona says time England forgot 'Hand of God' World Cup goal
  • New Argentine coach speaking ahead of friendly international in Scotland
  • Scotland assistant Terry Butcher says he can't forgive Maradona for goal
  • Butcher was in England team cheated by Maradona in 1986 quarterfinals
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(CNN) -- Diego Maradona thinks it is time the English stopped complaining about the 'Hand of God' goal he scored against their team at the 1986 World Cup.

Maradona is about the divert the ball past Peter Shilton with his hand in the 1996 World Cup match.

Maradona has been in Scotland preparing for his debut as Argentina coach but many British journalists are just as interested in his contribution to a 2-1 win over England 22 years ago.

Maradona famously punched the ball into the net for the opening goal of that quarterfinal victory -- instantly becoming a hate figure in England and burnishing his image as a hero back home.

But he said Tuesday that it was no worse than England being awarded a dubious goal during its 1966 World Cup final win.

"England won a World Cup with a goal that was plain to see to everyone that it did not cross the line," Maradona said. "So I don't think it is fair that people should judge me when stuff like that goes on."

England beat Germany 4-2 in extra time in the '66 final at Wembley, but were only awarded their crucial third goal upon the intervention of a Russian linesman.

German players insisted that Geoff Hurst's shot, which bounced down off the bar, never crossed the line and replays more than 40 years later are still inconclusive.

"He missed by that much," Maradona said to laughter, holding his hands about a meter apart. "You didn't have action replays in those days."

But not everyone is likely to appreciate the humor in Maradona's remarks.

Scotland assistant manager Terry Butcher was part of the England defense breached by Maradona at the 1986 World Cup and has already said he will not offer his opponent the traditional post-match handshake on Wednesday.

After diverting the ball past England goalkeeper Peter Shilton with his hand for Argentina's first goal, Maradona went on to score one of the greatest goals in World Cup history for the second, eventually helping his side to the title.

"It's very hard to forgive and forget in the circumstances. But it was 22 years ago," Butcher told the Press Association.

"I think I'm 4-1 to get a red card in the tunnel -- it would be the fist of Terry Butcher rather than the hand.

"But, no, it's gone now and, while we will never forget, it's not about that game. I haven't got a Maradona doll that I stick pins in every day, I don't need psychiatric help," he added.

Maradona countered through a translator: "I'm not going to seek him out. I don't know why Butcher has taken this attitude. I don't quite understand. I will let Butcher get on with his life and I'll get on with mine.

"I'm not going to lose any sleep over it. If he doesn't shake my hand, I'll still be alive tomorrow."

By another twist of co-incidence, Burley was a member of the Scotland team when Maradona announced his arrival as a world class talent as Argentina won 3-1 at Hampden in 1979.

Maradona, then just 18, scored a goal in a mesmeric performance and went on to become one of the greatest footballers of all time.

Burley's chances of gaining a measure of revenge for being given the runaround 29 years ago have scarcely been helped by the loss of six first choice players for Wednesday's game, including Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher.

But Rangers midfielder Barry Ferguson will return after a lengthy injury layoff to captain the side.

Maradona, 48, was a surprise appointment after Alfio Basile was sacked last month, but said he felt no pressure as he starts his attempt to turn a group of underachieving players into World Cup winners.

Argentina are without striking star Lionel Messi and playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme while forward Sergio Aguero also looks likely to miss Maradona's first match.

Aguero left the squad for Madrid upon learning that Maradona's daughter Giannina, who is six months pregnant with his daughter, had been taken to a hospital for examinations after experiencing pain.

Maradona gave the Atletico Madrid forward permission to leave Glasgow when he learned of the situation immediately after giving his first news conference as coach.

The situation was not thought to threaten the pregnancy. "It is nothing serious," team official Andres Ventura said.

Copyright 2008 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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