Soccer fans ..

Which world cup was the best in terms of overall quality ?

I think '86, followed by '90 .

Ooooooh, good question, hard to say. I didn’t see any matches before 1982, and only saw one semi and the final in that year. By all accounts, some of the WCs in the Pele years were real crackers. And I would give anything to have watched the Magical Magyars play; the WC of 1954 by all reports was an awesome display of footie!

Of the ones I’ve seen, 1990 was one of the poorest. Perhaps you don’t recall the relative lack of scoring, the infamous sendings off in the final (not to mention the stupidity of one Diego Maradona, who got away with pushing a linesman without being sent off)? If it hadn’t been for Roger Milla and the Indomitable Lions, the whole mess wouldn’t have had much interest at all. To be fair, there were a number of upsets in terms of who went through to the knock-out: Costa Rica, Ireland and Cameroon being three who made it through somewhat surprisingly.

1986 was much better, as was 1998. 2002 was a hell of a tournament, but for many, it was marred by the relatively poor quality refereeing. 2006 has been regarded as an average WC, filled with plenty of cynical play by the winners. I’d put it above 2002, behind 1998 and 1986.

Then there is 1994. I refuse to try to rank it: it’s the only finals I was able to actually attend. Nothing, I mean NOTHING can compare. I will carry to the grave the following sights and sounds: the roar of the 80,000+ at Stanford Stadium when Brazil opened the scoring in the 20th min. (or so); the pre-game partying around the stadium for Switzerland v Columbia, with people interacting wonderfully with each other depsite being unable to speak each other’s languages, sharing food, flags, pins, etc.; the pride of watching my national team in person on our national birthday with my sons (even though we lost while up a man to a quite wonderful Brazil). I refuse to try and rank it; it will always be the best for me.

Off the top of my head, I can recall four terrific games:

(1) England 0 Brazil 1 in the group stage, in which the two teams were very evenly matched and played football of the highest quality throughout (except for Jeff Astle’s awful miss in front of goal).

(2) England 2 W Germany 3 (aet) in the quarter-final. England had the Germans totally on the rack at 2-0 but allowed them back into the game with the direst of consequences.

(3) Italy 4 W Germany 3 (aet) in the semi-final. One of the most thrilling matches I’ve ever seen, although the goal glut in extra time came about largely because of tired defences.

(4) Brazil 4 Italy 1 in the final. The finest World Cup winners in (my) living memory beat a very good Italian side with ease. And it had that goal by Carlos Alberto - check this build-up play (video 48 sec) for accurate passing, and note Pele’s awareness of Alberto’s run down the right.

Watching that video shows how much the game has changed. No way would those players have that much time to handle the ball unmolested now.

I agree that the '70 World Cup was one of the best. Many people say that the 1970 Brazilian team was the best national squad ever. I would like to be able to go back in time though, to watch the 1958 Brazilian squad: Gilmar, Djalma Santos, Zagalo, Didi, Vava and a 17 year-old Pelé.

The 1982 World Cup had one game that many people consider the game of the century: Germany vs. France, so it has to be considered also.

1974 wasn’t bad either, with the Dutch displaying their “total football” and us winning it all. :smiley: I think 1990 was horrible, even though we won that one also.

Here’s an even better video of the Game of the Century

Of the ones I’ve seen, 82 and 86 are my fondest memories. 82 for the great Brazil team, France, England beating France :), the Brazil - Italy game. 86 for Maradona at his peak, Denmark with Michael Laudrup et al, the flowing USSR team, two great England games, pretty good final. 74 has a special place because it was my first World Cup, and I was beside myself with excitement at suddenly having all this top class football on telly.

90 was memorable for England and really the beginning of the change of mood towards the game in this country, the end of the hooliganism years. But the tournament as a whole was not very good.

I’m too young to remember 70, but the clips of Brazil in that tournament are burnt into my memory.

Overall I’d probably vote for 86.

82, 86 and 90 for me. Just on memories of enjoying the football, rather than any objective measure of overall quality.

I was a kid in 82, but still remember the great Brazilian side that lost to Italy - epic game. France also had great flair in that tournament.

I’ll second Ximenean that 86 is a standout tournament for featuring Maradonna at his iimperious best. Greatest player of the modern era IMO.

90 was also enjoyable for me because England had a good side, and Ireland did well. Maradonna still must have had something left because that Argentina side that got to the final were mediocre IIRC, two man band with Maradonna and Caniggia.

The last two WCs have been shite IMO, and really lowered my interest in the international game. The standard of play has been, for the first time I’ve noticed, really a long way behind the top domestic leagues. I don’t mind this up to a point, as the overall spectacle and excitment of the tournament is unique. But I’m hoping 2010 will feature better football.

What you said.

I wasn’t following football in 1966 (which was obviously better, because we won) so I don’t count it. This was the first World Cup I saw, and it was amazing.

It also helped that my family acquired a colour TV about a month before the tournament.

I also have fond memories of the Dutch in 1974 and England in 1990. Oh, and Scotland v Peru in 1978.

The word I would use to describe that game is “infamous.” The West German goalkeeper should have been sent off and banned from any part in organised football ever again.

If you want to know why, watch the video from 1:33 to 2:01.

I just did. The goalie saved a free kick from Platini.


And Garrincha!

Both the 1954 and 1958 tournaments (1954 especially) produced a feast of goals, with most sides playing four or five attackers. This must have produced plenty of excitement, and I can’t deny the quality of forward play from many teams of that era. However, I’m guessing that defensive qualities were in many cases sadly lacking.

So, in terms of overall quality, I’m not sure about the 1950s. That said, and broadly speaking, I’d rather be watching that brand of football that some of the uninspiring fare I see in the modern era. Also, my own team were in the first division during those days, so that’s another reason for wishing to join you in your journey back through time.

I’m going out now to shout at a few kids.

No, that’s not the footage.

The incident in question is where the French full back was put clear through, shot wide, then had the German goalkeeper jump into him with both feet and leading with the studs.

Outside the penalty area.

I haven’t looked at that video but this incident is what MHaye is referring to.

I’m not even going to watch that again, one of the worst things ever seen on a football pitch.

I personally have the fondest memmories of 1998, but that might be because the dutch did well and Bergkamp’s goal in the quartesr was superb. Winning the game in the last minute was awesome.

As I was born during the tournement in 1982, I really only remember 1990 and onwards - although, like al dutchmen, I’ve seen enough of 74 to have the feeling I was it following at that time - and the tournaments were the dutch did well seem to have left a bigger impression.

First of all, lets not be overly dramatic about what was indeed a poor foul.

He did not lead with the studs. He doesn’t even hit him with his feet.

Instead, he hip checks him while trying to deliver an elbow, and both the hip and the elbow catch Battiston in the head.

And it wasn’t outside the penalty area.
Really, have you watched it lately? :dubious:

That game was the one I watched on the television in the department store. :slight_smile:

It was. But I always feel bad for Frank De Boer who gave him fantastic service. He always seems to be overlooked when this play is talked about. Great ball. Then great control & finish By Bergkamp.

How could I forget Mané! Not for nothing was he called “Alegria do Povo” (Joy of the People). He would sometimes play his opponent dizzy and then let him catch up again just for the sheer fun of it. What I wouldn’t give to have watched him play for Botafogo and the Canarios during his heyday.

That was indeed a brutal foul. Probably the worst part is how cynical Schumacher was about the whole thing after the game. He said he’d pay the dental work for Battiston. :rolleyes:

I don’t think it mars the game itself though, because of the way it flowed back and forth with both teams attacking relentlessly and then Germany equalizing on Fisher’s bycicle kick after being down 3-1 in extended time. I was on the edge of my seat for the entire three hours it took to play the whole game and do the penalty kicks.

Didn’t Schumacher fly down later to meet Battiston in hospital and apologise ?

Also, are the Brits and their former subjects , only people interested in Soccer here ?:smiley:

Mycroft was born in Germany.

I’m not at all sure that Germany (under whatever historical name one cares to choose) has ever been subject to British rule. In fact, thinking about the House of Hanover, it might be the other way round.