Friday, June 11, 2010

World Cup Memories

Feel free to treat the below as meme and share your own if you want.
 
First World Cup Memory
 
It was 1978 and the World Chart being hung on the cork tiling (hey it was 1978 that was the trend) in the kitchen amongst me and my brother's paintings. It was of course the World Cup of Ally's Army taking on the Argentine. The first memory of an actual game was the Scotland v Netherlands game. Having lost 3-1 to Peru in the opener and then drawing with Iran 1-1 in game two, they had to face the 1974 finalists in the final group game. They may have been without Cruyff but they were still the team to beat in the group, but Scotland had to, and by a 3 goal margin.
 
But the Dutch scored first. Then King Kenny equalised, Archie Gemill put one away from the penalty spot, then he scored his iconic goal that gave the Scots everywhere hope, a class goal and only needing one more to go through. Of course it never happened as Johnny Rep got another for the Dutch in the end, but Ally's Army almost did shake them up.
 
Best World Cup Memory
 
As a Northern Irish lad it had to be one night in Valencia in 1982. Like my first memory it was the last game of the group stages. Little Northern Ireland had drawn 0-0 with Yugoslavia then 1-1 with Honduras. We were up against the hosts in a stadium they had never lost in, needing to win to progress as Yugoslavia had one the night before*.
 
Two minutes into the second half Gerry Armstrong ran unto a through ball and beat Luis Arconada in the Spanish goal. We were ecstatic. But in the 62nd minute Mal Donaghy was sent off. We had to survive for almost half an hour. It was seat of the pants stuff. But then the referee blew his final whistle, the players were jumping for joy. We'd beaten the hosts and won the group. In only our second world cup we'd again got out of the group stages.
 
Best World Cup Crowd Experience
 
When I was working in Hammersmith for USA 94 across the road was an Irish run pub. Just before the World Cup there had been a reward scheme to earn 15 minute early leaving. I'd stored my up in readiness for the matches. When Ireland were playing in the early games I was straight across the road to book space for the others.
 
The public bar was full of anyone, the side bar had the Irish at the bar and others at the table, the lounge bar at the back was full of Irish. The landlord came round at various times with a tray to bash to get the singing going. We ordered our Guinness to settle as the one before was almost done, me not moving from the side bar bar. Ireland emulated their achievements of 4 years before and got through to the last 16, though no further. But I spent 3 of their games in that pub watching them play amidst a mix of ex-patriot Irish from both sides of the border.
 
First International Experience
 
As I prepare for this World Cup yet again I'm surrounded by different nationalities all getting excited about their home team doing well. The French, Dutch, Germans, Brazilians, Portuguese, Italians, Spanish etc. Plus I've just seen pictures of our team in Joburg all geared up joining in the excitement.
 
However, my first experience of an international flavour goes back to 1982 and being in Northern Ireland on holiday on the north coast between Portrush and Portstewart. We were there for  the final which featured the Italians, who of course owned the ice cream parlours on the proms. So when they won it was ice cream cones on the house, they were so happy.
 
 
 
* This was before all final games were played simultaneously.

3 comments:

Paul Walter said...

Even a Sassenach like me remembers it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1axsnMRbbo

For some reason, in my memory, he ran a lot longer down the pitch than, looking at the video, he actually did.

Paul Freeman said...

First World Cup Experience

1978 and I don't remember any actual games; just swapping Scotland stickers with my friends and being all excited.

I mean, I know the goals now, but I don't remember watching them at the time

Best World Cup Memory

The 1982 Group of Death with Brazil, Italy and Argentina. What a set of games, particularly Brazil 2 Italy 3 - Rossi!

Best World Cup Crowd Experience

England losing to Argentina - that Micheal Owen goal, Beckham sending off, disallowed goals - I was in a pub down in England and the place was electric

First International Experience

Oddly, my first internation experience was a Rest of the World team playing the Football League for the 100th centenary at Wembley. Me and my friend had to drink all our juice outside the ground before being let in, and then I was sick missing quite a lot of the first half. Some magical players in that game - Maradonna, Brady, Platini and *cough* Pat Nevin

burkesworks said...

First World Cup Experience

The first that I remember much about was the quarter-final against the Germans in 1970. Poor old Peter Bonetti will never live that one down.

Best World Cup Memory

Nine-man Cameroon's splendidly unlikely defeat of world champions Argentina in the opening match of the '90 finals. I had £25 on them to win at 12/1.

Best World Cup Crowd Experience

Watching the "Hand of God" match on a black and white television in the back of a camper van with half a dozen very stoned Bristolians during the 1986 Glastonbury festival, who appeared to own the only working telly on the site. I don't remember a great deal about the game but I enjoyed the experience very much; far more mellow than most football crowds :)

First International Experience

England v Germany, 1972 at Wembley in the Nations' Cup qualifier; Hoeness, Muller and the brilliant Gunter Netzer made Bobby Moore and Geoff Hurst look very old indeed and showed up Hunter and Madeley for the cloggers that they were. Even the brilliant Gordon Banks couldn't save England from being outclassed there.

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