From: mazzare@primenet.com (Ariel Mazzarelli)
Subject: Is there beauty in a gol scored with the hand?
Date: July 20, 1995

The issue came up in another thread,  whether we should not reserve our
archive of golazos to those golazos that actually fit strictly within the laws
of the game.

The poster,  Mr. Baty@uk,  suggested that to do otherwise would require us to
include actions in futbol that would,  well,  it made it sound like rugby.

Now I was lucky enough to catch some of the games from the last rugby world
cup,  and they were excellent.  That was certainly not an event that made me

"they are showing this instead of futbol?"

However,  rugby and futbol are quite different,  and it is a good idea to keep
them different. So certainly the laws of the game are meant to be respected,
and by now may even be venerated.  Think of your initial,  primordial,
electrochemical reaction when someone begins a sentence with 

"Hey,  soccer would be better if they made a new rule so that..."

So naturally if someone suggests that a goal scored with the hand is clearly
foul  (the rules say so quite precisely),  it is easy to agree.  Yet,  there
are a  few scenarios that are exceptions.  One of them is so obvious that I
still cannot understand why it has never been brought up before;  what happens
if a goalkeeper stops a shot,  sees the opponent's goal unprotected,  and
throws the ball the full length of the field?  Now that would be a GOLAZO.
Impossible,  you say?  More on that later.

Another scenario involves a forward who has made an excellent play,  passed
the libero and the goalkeeper,  begins to shoot into the empty goal when a
defender comes from behind and fouls him viciously,  breaking the forward's
ankle,  but unable to stop the shot.  As the forward falls,  his hand taps the
ball, which continues into the net.  Not only is this not impossible,  it has
probably happened,  and probably many times roughly along those lines.  Are
these not golazos?  Do you deny the gol to the forward as he gets sent to the
hospital?  Of course not.

Yet another scenario involves a crucial world cup match,  played before
120,000 people in the stadium and over 500 million on live worldwide tv.
After dominating the game,  yet being unable to score,  the world's greatest
player fights for a high ball with the opposing goalkeeper,  who is a foot
taller,  jumping as high as he can,  and fully extending his arm.  After they
clash over the ball,  it goes the wrong way,  into the goal.  Now classical
mechanics will tell you that the forward must have used his arm;  if it is
further analyzed,  even then it does not seem to make sense.  So it is quite
logical to think "handball",  and easy to say it...  but how can the shorter
man extend and retract his arm so quickly?  Well,  no matter,  the replays
will show it is so.  The replays,  however,  are shockingly inconclusive.
Perhaps the optical equipment could be improved,  perhaps one should really
have more than the four classical vantage points that the tv image provides.
Nonetheless,  the fact remains that in the late twentieth century,  with the
ability to scroll frame by frame in the replay,  the "logical" explanation was
not forthcoming.  Shortly afterwards,  other fascinating events occur and the
game ends with the handball being the scoring difference.  Almost in
supplication,  the forward is asked how he scored the first goal.  He replies
that a divine hand intervened to make it so.  A humorous remark,  to be sure.
Yet,  how can the man who is a foot shorter outreach the much taller man who
is fully extending his arm... without himself extending his arm in such a
manner that any decent replay from any angle would see it?  I do not know if a
providential explanation is required,  but in all these years a logical one
has not occurred to me.  Is this a golazo?  It was extraterrestial,  beyond
the limits of human comprehension,  in front of 500 million people.  The
addendum of golazo to the list of adjectives associated with it is but a

These examples are all golazos as far as I can tell.  It is one perspective
(which I agree with) that the rules in futbol are "good".  The handball rule
is crucial,  of course,  and of course it must remain as it is now.  It is the
ability to create a special play within these rules that is most admired.  Yet
sometimes,  rules are strained, and far less frequently,  something amazing
happens as a result.  This is just as true in futbol as it is in music,  in
science,  in practically any human endeavor.  

There is another category of infraction,  however,  that of sportsmanship.
The breaching of such rules are,  by their very definition,  distasteful,
because the rules of sportsmanship are basically the rules by which we abide
"willingly".  However,  there is a very great variety when it comes to matters
of taste:  for some,  any form of violence lacks sportsmanship,  for others it
is the manipulation of officials that is the greatest breach,  etc.  So it is
here,  with the notion of sportsmanship,  that all the debates are really
carried out.  Everything from "turnabout is fair play" to "we call our own
fouls" is a matter of perspective,  of choice.  Since we do not have a
universal code for these matters,  the debate goes on.

From: mazzare@priment.com (Ariel Mazzarelli)
Date: [pre-1997]

Membership has its privileges.

When Maradona was the best player in the world,  he was also the most fouled
player in the world.

As compensation,  he was allowed to touch the ball with his hand in crucial

Let us remember that summer day in Ciudad Mexico in 1986 when Argentina played
against England.  Five minutes into the second half,  Peter Reid tried to clear
a ball from the English zone back towards the goalkeeper,  Peter Shilton.  

Inadvertently among all those large defenders,  Diego snuck behind the line and
beat Shilton to it.  The referee,  following the play from behind,  looked
briefly at the linesman,  then awarded a goal.  Diego takes a peep back towards
the referee,  and when he sees the signal he starts to celebrate.  His teammates
greet him with complicituous smiles whilst Shilton and most of his teammates
protest vociferously in the referee's face.

Asked about the goal after the game,  Diego replied  "Ese gol lo hizo la mano
de Dios."  Perhaps the most famous line in the history of futbol.

How could the referee miss the handball?  Diego is a foot shorter than Shilton,
who had leapt forward fist first in the air,  and yet the little man had touched
the ball first.  Surely he must have used his hand?

Surely he must have,  but even the instant replay is not an obvious witness.

In the back of our minds,  a little voice whispers that if a man can cheat with
such skill,  it is only cheating in the technical sense of the word.  Another
whispers a bit more loudly that,  after all,  Diego was only compensating for
Shilton's larger size;  and after all,  if Shilton can use his hand,  why not
also Diego? 

This voice whispers somewhere below the top level of our consciousness,  where
perhaps we are not aware of it when we hear it.  Perhaps that referee on that 
day was caught offguard by it.

I think that by now,  having evaluated all these factors,  one could be allowed
the luxury of claiming this as a real goal.