• June 22 down the years

The Hand of God

Diego Maradona's famous 'Hand of God' goal © Getty Images

At Mexico City's Estadio Azteca, a rivalry dating back two decades boiled over as England took on Argentina in what is now one of the most memorable matches in World Cup history. Diego Maradona, called on fans to "forget politics and just respect two fine teams," but the feeling among the 114,800-strong crowd was fierce and, despite the presence of riot police, fighting inevitably took place on the terraces. For all that, though, the game is remembered for Maradona, whose match-winning performance comprised of two goals - the infamous "Hand of God" and the majestic dribble and finish that ended England's campaign. As England boss Bobby Robson put it after the game: "The first goal was a disgrace … but the second goal was a miracle."
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Phil Mickelson finally started winning Major tournaments in 2004 (April 11). But even after that, he carried on not quite winning some. Today he became the first golfer to finish runner-up in the US Open five times, an event he's never won. Even Sam Snead didn't manage that. An eagle at the 13th hole gave Mickelson a share of the lead, but he missed a putt at the next and made bogeys at 15 and 17 to finish joint second, two shots behind Lucas Glover. Mickelson had finished second in the Open for the first time ten years earlier (June 20).

The youngest motorcyclist to win a World Championship event. Britain's Scott Redding was 15 years 170 days old when he won the 125 cc race at the British Grand Prix. On the podium afterwards, officials stopped the under-age winner from taking a swig at the celebratory champagne.

After Jack Johnson lost the world heavyweight title (April 5, 1915), it was 22 years before another black boxer was allowed to fight for it. To be fair to White America, Joe Louis was the first to make a watertight case for the opportunity. Once it was offered, he was always going to take it. Jim Braddock had performed his Cinderella Man act to win the title from big Max Baer (June 13, 1935), but he was a limited fighter with no big weapons. Like Baer, he enjoyed his year as champion. Unlike Baer, he remembered how he'd earned the big money, and came into the ring in good condition. He even made a startling start, taking advantage of Louis's notoriously poor defence to knock him down in the first round. Cinderella shall go to another ball? No, the fairytale ended before midnight. Braddock kept getting through with punches, but Louis was nine years younger and hit that much harder. A big right to the jaw knocked Braddock cold in the eighth round. He retired after one more fight, while Louis kept the title for another 11 years.

Phil Mickelson won his third green jacket in 2010 © Getty Images

Top seed and former champion Martina Hingis lost in the first round at Wimbledon. She was still only 18, but Jelena Đokić had just turned 16. An Australian born in Croatia, she'd lost to Hingis at the Australian Open and had to qualify for Wimbledon. But now she enjoyed the hard bouncy courts that allowed her to hit through the ball - and the absence of Hingis's mum. Đokić's dad soon became a notorious figure, thrown out of Wimbledon (June 29, 2000) and jailed for threatening the Australian ambassador. Meanwhile Hingis's mother had been with her at every major tournament - until now. She was back home in Switzerland, to give her daughter 'some space'. In her absence, Hingis had a break point for 3-3 but lost the last ten games: 6-2 6-0. She'd won the title at 16 but she was history now. She never won Wimbledon again.

The first woman to throw the hammer over 70 metres did it twice on the same day. Russia's Olga Kuzenkova followed her 71.22 metres with a huge 73.10. Before today, the world record was 69.00. Kuzenkova won Olympic silver in 2000 and gold in 2004.

After their collision with Jonah Lomu at the rugby union World Cup (June 18), the last thing England needed was a third-place final. France had also lost a galling semi-final (June 17), but they did have the incentive of ending a run of eight consecutive defeats by England. And they achieved it, in a dismal match against a team who couldn't wait to get home, scoring two tries to nil in a 19-9 win which only gets in here because it was the end of the road for two famous players. Prince of centres Philippe Sella was winning his 111th and last cap, a world record at the time. A year earlier, he'd become the first player to win 100. Meanwhile Rob Andrew was brought on as sub a couple of years later, but this was his last England match really, and the last in which he scored any points. His three penalty goals took him over 400 in international rugby.

Jonah Lomu sent England crashing out in the semi-finals of the 1995 World Cup. England also lost the third-place final against France. © Getty Images

The night John H Stracey lost the WBC welterweight title. Manager Terry Lawless guided a number of good but not great British boxers to world titles. The system was similar every time. Match your man with a champion who was past it or never had it, then cash in with some relatively easy defences before risking a step up in class. It worked for Jim Watt, Maurice Hope - and Stracey, who won the title against the shell of the great José Napoles (December 6, 1975) and made a comfortable defence against Hedgemon Lewis before taking on Carlos Palomino tonight. Now, this was supposed to be another comfortable defence, not the jump in class. Palomino had only drawn with Lewis, who was stopped by Stracey. But what Lawless hadn't bargained for was Stracey's will to win. It wasn't there. He troubled Palomino with head punches, but he was always a flat-footed fighter and couldn't follow up his advantages. And Stracey's had the body language of a loser: arguing with his corner, even shaking his head during the rounds. He kept his guard high to avoid punishment rather than coming forward to throw punches. So Palomino hit him with body punches, and Stracey didn't have the stomach for them. Two of them got through like the kick of a horse in the 12th round; Stracey went down each time and the fight was over. He had two more fights before retiring, the first against Dave 'Boy' Green, who challenged Palomino for the title on June 14, 1977.

The end of the longest winning streak in men's athletics. Parry O'Brien won 116 shot putt competitions since 1952 before a ganglion on his wrist held him back and he lost by two inches to Ken Bantum at the AAU Championships. The previous men's record was also held by a shot putter: 88 by Jim Fuchs - until O'Brien beat him at the 1951 AAU. The women's record, which was longer than the men's, ended on June 11, 1967.

The astonishing Cornelius Warmerdam was born to Dutch parents in Long Beach. Forget your Sergei Bubkas: here's the greatest pole vaulter in history. From the moment this farm boy was discovered clearing 13 feet in a spinach patch, he was a phenomenon. Before he got to work on the world record, it stood at 4.54 metres. By the time he set his last, in 1942, it was 4.77 and ready to survive until 1957. Even then, it was broken by a vaulter with an aluminium pole - and 'Dutch' Warmerdam used poles made of bamboo. Imagine what he would have done with the fibreglass and carbon catapults they use today. Acrobat, sprinter, human shock absorber, he would have won two Olympic gold medals but for the War. In 1941, he improved his own official world record by 12 centimetres in one day, and by the time anyone else cleared 15 feet (4.57 metres), he'd done it 45 times. No-one else has ever been so far ahead of the competition in any single event. By the time he died in 2001, he'd been married for more than 60 years.