Maradona calls for World Cup fair play

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Diego Maradona, scorer of the infamous "Hand of God" goal in 1986, has made a strong plea for fair play ahead of Argentina's World Cup entrance against Nigeria.

The South American suggested that when the Fifa yellow Fair Play banner is carried onto the pitch before matches it should not remain an empty gesture.

"It is nice to play against a rough and hard team, as Nigeria will be, and we are prepared for that. The only thing I can say here is that we end that with the four boys carrying the fair play signs. Let's not abandon the little boys. Let there really be fair play, let the referees understand what the words fair play mean," Maradona commented.

He said this despite being accused of cheating after his handball goal helped Argentina to a 2-1 quarter-final win over England on their way to lifting their second world title in Mexico in 1986.

Maradona is making his World Cup debut as coach, but he said he felt more comfortable than he did as a player.

"I was more nervous as a player, I was telling (Javier) Mascherano that yesterday. My palms would sweat, I would look for plays, I remember I would hold my legs up to save energy. Today I live it with the same intensity but with more peace," he said.

Argentina have faced Nigeria twice before in the group stage at the World Cup, beating them 2-1 in the US in 1994 and 1-0 in Japan in 2002.

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