Maradona: England defeat made me cry

Diego Maradona sent an open letter to the Argentina team, professing his faith in their ability to recover from Friday's defeat to England. He told the players that the 1-0 setback should not spell the end of their World Cup hopes and insisted it was time to move on and beat Sweden. Maradona was originally banned from Japan due to his criminal record, but authorities have relented and he is expected to be at Miyagi on Wednesday for the Sweden match.

Below is the complete text of the letter, published in sports newspaper `Ole':

`Dear boys,

'Why would I deny it: the defeat against England hit me as much as any of you. I was sad and cried. I tell you that I cried a lot, as surely you did it too. But it's over. Crying is useful for nothing. It's the time for giving the heart and move on.

'When things are going badly, you have to find strength from anywhere if you want to accomplish what you desire. It happened to me, I gave my heart and could move on. And I know you will do the same, because I know you and I love you. You make up a great squad, something you proved me in my tribute match.

'The country is with you and you know that. From Fiorito to Ushuaia, there's a dream going on. In each place there's a person with the same illusion as you and me. The kids, the grandpas, [Maradona's daughters] Dalma and Gianinna, your family, we're all with this team until the death.

'That's why I think that one hit can't knock you down. It has to give you, on the other side, more push. And the valuable teams, as the one you make up, know how to react to these things. I know that you will defeat Sweden and qualify to the round of 16. I have no doubts.

'Argentina needs you. And me... I have a huge faith on you. I know that you will place the light blue and white flag in the top, as I did it some day. I want you to know that I never will let you alone. In each national anthem, in each dribbling, in each pass and in each stadium I will be with you. Because I always play for you.

'You can be sure of that. Sure as that my name is Diego Armando Maradona.'

The above rubbish from the man who stated clearly that he had handled the ball to rob England of victory, but there's always the Falklands to forget, too.

Remember this, and then this, and then . . . .

Left: Beware the Hand of God. Right: Just look at what happened to Maradona, under repair in Cuba (2000), a result of major dependence on cocaine.