After four years in waiting South Africa 2010 is nearly upon us, but as we prepare for the next installment of world football, I take look back at some of its most memorable moments.
The world cup is arguably the most iconic tournament of its kind, but it is not just about what goes on, on the pitch and something that makes this sporting occasion stand out above any other, is its ability to unite 32 nations for four weeks of a year as they come together to battle it out and attempt to win the most coveted football tournament around.
Spirits are high and emotions run deep as countries across the globe come together in support of their team, in the hope it will be their home nation that reigns supreme and is declared world champions.
World cup stadiums erupt with the joy of a nation, as we witness deeds that defy all common sense, logic and physics. One of the best things about the World cup is that regardless of how good or bad your country performs there are always moments of brilliance, moments of magic, games and memories that stick in your mind for years.
It’s been around for eight decades and as fans of the game we’ve been blessed with football of the highest calibre and treated to some unforgettable instances; I went out onto the streets of the UK to hear some of your favourite world cup moments.
Sue Lang remembers the day England were crowned champions of the world, but while many will remember where they were on the day and what they were doing; Sue remembers the event for a very special reason.
She said: “It was a fantastic day, made even better by wedding my late husband in the most perfect day of our lives; a day I’ll never forget.”
“We got through the ceremony and we got thorough the reception and then to my mother and fathers frustration we got changed and made our hurried exit, so we could get back to my in-laws house to watch the game on television. Winning was such a fantastic end to my day”
44 years ago England lifted the iconic trophy and it is a memory that lives long live in the hearts of those that are old enough to remember it.
For Julie Quilter she remembers leaving the house on the day of the final in 1966, because her father was getting hysterical. She said: “My mother and I went Up West and did some window shopping, came home and found it was extra time!
“Straight afterwards we went down to Kensington, fairly near the hotel where England were going to be celebrating.
“We waved madly as they went past in their coach. I got a wave from Jackie Charlton!”
While her husband Andrew Quilter described the day’s events from his perspective: “It seemed all over, and then the Germans scored near the end of 90 minutes, taking it to extra time. When we finally won my wife’s father and I were jumping up and down. My father-in law died 20 years ago, but the memory of that day stays with me.”
England winning the world cup is by far the proudest moment of any England fan, however having to wait so long for success of a similar caliber in the years since, England fans have had to take salvation from some of the majestic talent on show.
While for American Travis Ayers, when the World Cup came to the U.S. in 1994 he attended 10 of the 14 matches played in California by driving solo up and down the state in a beat-up 1974 AMC Hornet that had no radio nor air conditioner. He said he put 3,500 miles on the odometer by the time the tournament ended.
His favourite moment was: “The mass of Colombian supporters prior to the Romania match. Everyone’s hopes were sky high at the thought of doing well in the tournament and the number of fans wearing Carlos Valderrama wigs was amazing.”
“I also remember driving six hours to watch the brilliant Romania 3-2 Argentina contest, then making the return trip and driving another two hours the following day for the big Brazil 1-0 USA game. Loved every sleepy minute of it.”
While many remember the positives aspects of the world cup, no one can forget some of the less tackles events that often make public enemies out of those involved in them.
“It was the World Cup Final we all wanted to see the stylish Brazilians versus the tactically astute Italians,” describes Tim Lancaster.
“It was a bore fest from the kick-off to the final whistle. Then we had the penalties and even they were a disaster but when Roberto Baggio strolled up to take his penalty the world waited in anticipation and waited for the talented Italian to stroke the ball home and give Arrigo Sacchi’s men a faint chance of capturing the 1994 World Cup. Unfortunately Baggio decided to attempt to put away the perfect penalty only to see his effort go sailing over the bar and finally we could all switch off the tv after the worst World Cup Final in the history of the world.
“When this incident occurred many were fooled into thinking that Rivaldo was made of twigs,” said Jack Andrews.
“How else could it be explained that a barely hit football kicked by Turkish international Hakan Unsal which made contact with the Brazilian’s legs led to the Barcelona legend clenching his head as though he was having an aneurysm.
It was no surprise to see Gascoigne’s infamous tears top of the list of memorable moments, a list that could go on forever, one thing is for sure and that, is that South Africa 2010 is set to provide us football fans with a whole host of magical moments that we will no doubt be talking about for years to come.
Listen to my radio feature on World Cup memories here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjAo6r4Z3Uo
Follow me on twitter @iamdannmorris
And post your favourite World Cup memories below.