In The World Cup’s Finest we ask various individuals to delve into their own personal history of football’s quadrennial showpiece extravaganza, selecting a number of favourites as well as revealing what is their very first World Cup memory.
Today’s edition is brought to you by Heavyweight Sports’ PR Director Darren Haines, who discusses David Beckham’s Argentinian redemption, a Zico/Roberto Baggio conundrum and a love for “the first Brazilian number 10”.
First World Cup Memory
16 June 1982 (Bryan Robson v France). Not just for the goal itself – England’s first in that tournament after just 27 seconds – but everything around it. The shadows on the pitch were a revelation to an eight year old boy, that football could be played in sunshine and not just on the wet and heavy pitches of England, whilst that slightly-off colour hue to the overseas television pictures, and distant sound to the commentary, we used to get in those days added to the World Cup’s sense of far-away wonders. Naranjito was the best World Cup mascot too.
Favourite World Cup:
David Beckham (England v Argentina, 2002). Watched in a South London pub. Not just for the redemption of Becks and what it meant in the match at the time, but also because a woman then poured her pint in super slow-mo style over my friend’s head, having inadvertently spilt some of his beer on her arm during the celebrations. That happening to your mate is never not funny. An honorary mention, too, for Carlos Alberto’s thunderblast in 1970. Whilst before my time it remains, for me, the archetypal World Cup goal – swaggering team play, sublime skill and a stunning finish – and its yet to be beaten.
Zico. With Heavyweight putting together many ambassador deals for bookmakers, such as the Alan Shearer partnership for Coral, it has been great to work with one or two World Cup heroes in recent years, such as Big Al, Geoff Hurst (Sky Bet), Michael Owen (BetVictor) and Rio Ferdinand. None of them have disappointed but Zico gets my vote – the first Brazilian Number 10 in my lifetime who in 1982 scored four, including an overhead kick, and assisted four more. Roberto Baggio comes a close second.
Brazil, 1982. Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be, so it’s back to 1982 again and the side that probably made me truly fall in love with football. Regarded as the greatest team to never win the World Cup, the likes of Socrates, Zico, Junior, Falcao and Eder all produced iconic World Cup moments that we tirelessly tried (and failed) to recreate in the playground. Probably the purest attacking football ever to be played – unfortunately they forgot about defence! Millennials should YouTube it for 20 minutes well spent.
West Germany v France, 1982. This game sits alongside Brazil-Italy in 1982 and England-Argentina in 1998. They all had drama, tension, goals, comebacks and jaw-dropping moments written into football folklore (Beckham getting sent off, Schumacher not) to prove that heartbreak plays a greater part in football – on and off the pitch – than its more glamorous younger brother jubilation.
England, 1990. There has been plenty of chat about Nigeria’s kit this year being the hipsters’ choice but I’m not sure having sold four million of them strictly qualifies as alternative-cool so surely the unbuyable Iran shirt is this year’s choice of the true hipster. But for me, seeing England’s Italia ’90 kit, whilst not a classic in the design sense, will forever be the one that bristles the hairs on the back of my neck.
The World Cup’s Finest is to be a regular feature during the Russia World Cup, profiling a different individual each week day, if you would like to be involved please email [email protected].