Diego Maradona acknowledged that he struck the ball with his hand in the famous "Hand of God" goal against England in the 1986 World Cup quarterfinals.
Speaking on his local television talk show Monday night, Maradona called one of soccer's most controversial goals "something that just came out of me. It was a bit of mischief."
Maradona appeared to punch the ball into the net, and officials allowed the goal to stand despite protests by the English team. Argentina went on to win the match, 2-1.
It then won the World Cup.
In his most detailed comments yet, Maradona said he was unable to reach the ball for a header when he went up against the taller English goalkeeper, Peter Shilton.
Shilton "was very tall. He didn't see anything, and a teammate told him" afterward what happened, said Maradona.
After the score, Maradona said he quickly realized the linesman had allowed the goal but none of his teammates had rushed to celebrate with him -- they figured it would be waved off.
"I was waiting for my teammates to embrace me and no one came," said Maradona, who was the team captain. "I told them, 'Come hug me or the referee isn't going to allow it.' "
Maradona's controversial goal gave Argentina a 1-0 lead. He scored a second goal in which he went past five defenders.
Maradona refused to acknowledge immediately after the game that he had used his hand on the first goal.
-- From News Services