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.
Peter Woodfine, Business Development Director at Vermantia, is the latest to join the growing ranks of The World Cup’s Finest alumni, as he discusses Maradona breaking young hearts, “probably the best midfielder in world football” in 1990 and an “epic battle” in 1998.
First World Cup memory
The Hand of God, Mexico 1986. Sketchy memories of Mexico ’86 as I was only 8 years old, but I certainly remember the Panini sticker album and the large poster I had my in bedroom at the time – I also seem to remember the Gillette logo being a dominant figure on the poster so I guess they must have been major sponsor.
Being the first World Cup I had ever seen, I think I presumed that England would win it (oh how that was to change), so I was as shocked as anyone, if not more so, by the Hand of God! Maradona was indeed phenomenal in that tournament, but its only in later years that you basically learn that he pretty much won the World Cup on his own!
Favourite World Cup
Italia ‘90. Greatest England side in my memory (although Euro ’96 squad came close). The tournament had everything, it’s always best when hosted by a strong footballing nation, a good run from Italy which added to the atmosphere, and Schillaci winning the Golden Boot too! England had a genuine world class player in several positions: Gazza, Waddle, Beardsley, Lineker, Platt, Walker, Barnes…. Rather than dwell on the penalties, a more bizarre memory that sticks in the mind is the Cameroon Witch Doctor who predicted the final score. Which until Lineker’s equalizing penalty was almost the result!
Brazil, 2002. Ronaldo (the original!), Rivaldo, Ronaldinho + Kaka all in the same team… enough said.
Paul Gascoigne. In 1990, probably the best midfielder in world football. Gazza had a turn of pace back then, before his knee injury in the following years FA Cup final. To See an England player going toe to toe with the best in the world was truly a joy to watch.
David Platt (England v Belgium, 1990). Looked for all the world that England were destined for penalties and ultimately progress no further than 4 years previous. Great technique from Platt, beautifully flighted free kick from Gascoigne, and at pretty well the final kick of the game!
Holland v Argentina, 1998. Epic battle of the highest quality.. Bergkamp’s winner! Unbelievable first touch and finish – truly world class. Who knows what might have happened had the Dutch progressed to the semi-finals.
Brazil, 1998. Typical Nike kit of the 90’s but stylish in the traditional blue and yellow. After that, the kits started move away from the traditional formats and ultimately became the skin-tight jerseys that we see now. Remember the supporting classic Nike ad at the airport? Brilliant.