World Cup 2014: Memories of a World Cup Tragic

My first memories of the World Cup are from USA 1994. The soon-to-be-as-fat-as-a-house Diego Maradona and his cohorts put together eight and a half seconds of football wizardry and I was hooked.

Four years later and France 1998 took my 12-year-old mind off footy, cricket, and girl germs for a month. Three things stick in my mind from the ’98 tournament: a very naughty David Beckham, my sadness at learning Brazil star Ronaldo was sick on the morning of the final, and Zinedine Zidane’s twisting body as he headed in the goal that put Les Bleus on the path to their first World Cup trophy.

On the opening night of South Korea and Japan 2002, I was at the MCG watching the Kangaroos beat Essendon in a Friday night thriller. The score from the France vs Senegal game was flashed up on the big screen every few minutes and a huge cheer met Papa Bouba Diop’s winner against the French. Then there was Rivaldo’s Oscar nominationRonaldinho’s cheeky free kick to seal England’s capitulation, South Korea’s incredible wins over Italy and Spain, before Ronaldo (the one that was likeable and is now fat) reached the zenith of his career by owning the final week with a goal in the semi and two in the final.

2006, Germany. First, there was Craig Foster going completely ballistic and forgetting he was commentating when Australia qualified. Then there was ‘Tim Cahill has done it again’. Then Guus’s boys made it out of their group thanks to Harry Kewell’s winner against a Croatian side that had a bloke get three yellow cards. Then those diving Italian bastards broke our hearts. Finally, Zizou confirmed once and for all the flaws in his genius with his outrageous headbutt in the final.

Pretty much all I remember from South Africa 2010 is those fucking vuvuzelas. Apparently Spain won, in a final which Arjen Robben would hope to forget and Nigel de Jong was lucky to escape charges for assault.

What will 2014 bring? Who cares? It’s all rigged anyway.

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Brendan Park