Jun 082006

The kickoff just one day away, it’s time to take a trip down the memory lane of past games.

2002 is remembered less for the brazilians fifth championship than the taint of unsportsmanlike conduct – chief protagonists of which were Brazil’s Rivaldo (a truly swan lake performance against Turkey) and the referees who ensured that South Korea beat both Italy and Spain. France sucked horribly, which was a nice bonus.

In 1998 Ronaldo choked in the finals and the french cruised to an easy victory. Spain choked. But played an entertaining last (but meaningless) game after a very disappointing tournament.

The 1994 games were hosted in the US, a definite football wasteland. Saw almost the full tourney in Utah, rejoiced at Bulgaria’s surprising demolition of the germans and after returning home watched the final, Brazil beating Italy on penalties, in a hopelessly jetlagged state in the middle of the night.

In 1990 Brazil played a horribly ineffective game against Argentina, and lost on Claudio Caniggia’s goal on the opponents lone decent offensive move. Rijkaard and Völler engage in a spitting contest that ends in multiple red cards. Africa arrives on stage, with Cameroon almost reaching the semifinals.

For the 1986 games in Mexico the Lavonius clan bought its very first VCR (and ended watching the games live anyway). Maradona’s “hand of god” gets proven only long after the games. Brazil ousted in quarterfinals when Zico fails to score on a penalty (to be fair he was cold, having just been put onto the field).

Brazilian dream team plays beautiful soccer in the 1982 games, but loses to Italy after disgraced Paolo Rossi’s hat trick in the second round.

Not much recollection of the 1978 games. Apart from wondering why perfectly good toilet paper is tossed on the field after the hosts narrowly beat Netherlands in the final game.

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