Diego Maradona will root for his beloved Argentina from his hotel when they play Nigeria on Wednesday, opting to skip the stadium after the country's football association president suggested he had jinxed the team against Iran.
Julio Grondona said Lionel Messi's brilliant stoppage-time winner, which gave the South Americans a passage to the last 16 on Saturday, was thanks to "jinxed" Maradona leaving the stands.
The temperamental 1986 World Cup winner promptly shot back by showing Grondona the finger on live television.
Maradona struck a softer tone on Tuesday night during the "De zurda" soccer commentary programme broadcast on Venezuela's Telesur and Argentine public television.
"I don't want to be a problem for the government or for those who don't want me to go. I'll stay in the hotel watching on television," Maradona said. "I would never wish ill upon Argentina."
Maradona still stokes passions at home, where he is revered for his phenomenal career as a player but draws fire for his checkered stint as national team coach, and foray into drugs and alcohol.