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Dirty Tackle

Argentina vs. Nigeria match marks 20 years since Maradona doping incident

Dirty Tackle
Maradona 1994
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(Michael Kunkel/Getty Images)

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Argentina faced Nigeria on Wednesday in both teams' final group stage match and it seems only fitting that it also marks the 20-year anniversary of the doping incident involving Diego Maradona.

[Related: Argentina and Nigeria make World Cup history]

Maradona played his last international game for Argentina at the 1994 World Cup game in the United States against Nigeria, winning the match 2-1. And while he left a great legacy on the soccer field, his infamy follows him everywhere.

Maradona was chosen to undergo a random doping test following the match. After five days of waiting for the result, Maradona was found guilty of using a banned stimulant (ephedrine) on June 25 and was barred from playing in the rest of the tournament.

During a press conference in Dallas following the discovery, the 1986 World Cup champion famously cried to the press, “They have cut off my legs.”

[Related: Most controversial calls by World Cup referees]

This controversial incident would lead to the end of Maradona’s international career - an unfortunate occurrence, considering Maradona had been doing great throughout the tournament with a 4-0 win against Greece alongside the victory against Nigeria.

Things only got worse when they shocked the world by losing 2-0 to Bulgaria during their last group match. Argentina still qualified for the round of 16, but once there they lost 3-2 to Romania, the Cinderella team of the tournament.  

June 25 is a day of unpleasant nostalgia for the Argentinian nation and the fact that Maradona is currently spending his days accusing FIFA of banning him from World Cup stadiums to watch the matches isn’t helping.

But with Messi as the new captain and the “Messiah” of this Argentina team, better days seem to be ahead for the team and the nation.

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