Football great Maradona was at the Leicester City Stadium to see the Pumas move to the brink of quarter-final qualification after a 45-16 win over Tonga.
Fly-half Nicolas Sanchez’s kicking was deadly and he also scored a late try as Juan Imhoff became his country’s record World Cup try-scorer during a first-half blitz.
Maradona visited the Pumas’ dressing room after the game and danced with the squad to Rodrigo Bueno’s song ’The Hand of God’, written in the footballer’s honour.
Creevy said: “He said the whole of Argentina was dreaming with us and everyone was behind us and supporting us. He was here because he wanted to be a part of this. We sung and danced and it was lots of fun. It was something different and I could never imagine he would have been there with us. It was a beautiful surprise for all of us.
“He said if we reach the semi-final he will be there. He has set us a very high goal and we hope he will be there again.”
Joaquin Tuculet, Santiago Cordero and Julian Montoya also went over as Argentina recovered from conceding an early try from Kurt Morath.
Morath missed five kicks to put Tonga under pressure and they never recovered after half-time. They face New Zealand in their final game and while they are not mathematically out of the tournament, captain Nili Latu vowed they will go down fighting.
“We’ll regroup and come out twice as hard against the All Blacks,” he said. “We let ourselves down with poor control and discipline.”
Tries: Tuculet, Imhoff, Sanchez, Montoya, Cordero.
Tries: Morath, Tonga’uiha.
Joaquin Tuculet, Santiago Cordero, Matias Moroni, Jeronimo De La Fuente, Juan Imhoff, Nicolas Sánchez, Martín Landajo; Marcos Ayerza, Agustín Creevy (c), Ramiro Herrera, Guido Petti, Tomás Lavanini, Pablo Matera, Martín Fernández Lobbe, Juan, Leonardo Senatore.
Gonzalez Iglesias for Moroni (67), Agulla for Imhoff (59), Cubelli for Landajo (65), Noguera for Ayerza (65), Montoya for Creevy (65), Orlandi for Herrera (65), Alemanno for Petti Pagadizabal (65), Isa for Senatore (51).
Vungakoto Lilo, Telusa Veainu, Siale Piutau, Sione Piukala, Fetu’u Vainikolo, Kurt Morath, Sonatane Takulua; Soane Tonga’uiha, Elvis Taione, Halani Aulika, Tukulua Lokotui, Joseph Tuineau, Sione Kalamafoni, Nili Latu (c), Viliami Ma’afu.
Halaifonua for Lilo (70), Fosita for Piukala (50), Fisilau for Takulua (70), Taumalolo for Tonga’uiha (60), Lutui for Taione (60), Puafisi for Aulika (70), Mafi for Tu’ineau (67), Fonua for Ma’afu (60). Att: 29,124 Ref: Jaco Peyper (South Africa).
Jaco Peyper (South Africa).