The Panini sticker albums are near completion*, the vintage shirts have been dug out and ironed, the wall charts are up, the office sweepstake is sorted and the friendlies are all wrapped up... It's finally upon us. We're ready for the World Cup. The tournament that (to paraphrase our friends at Mundial Mag) reminds us why we love football so bloody much.
Football chat circulates our barbershops every day, but the next few weeks will see our barbers go into overdrive with clients; debating the ins and outs of every decision and maybe even working out where exactly Sterling should play. And we can't wait. Below, we've gathered our collective memories of the greatest tournament. Iconic moments, personal highlights (for better or worse) to reflect on in final preparation for kick off...
*Does anybody have a Wahbi Khazri swap??
David Platt’s goal against Belgium in 1990. It was in the dying minutes of the game and came from a Gazza free kick. The ball floated in the box and Platt took it over his shoulder, first time, BACK OF THE NET!
Michael Owen’s goal against Argentina in 1998. This is my first World Cup memory. A great finish from Owen. We needn’t talk about the Beckham red card OR the fact we later got knocked out on penalties (again).
Luis Suarez's handball against Ghana in 2010. This lead to a penalty and red card and Asamoah Gyan then missed the pen. This took the game to a shoot out and Uruguay ended up winning 4-2. The way Suarez celebrated on the sidelines to the missed penalty from Gyan is particularly memorable.
James, Murdock Head Office
Sol Campbell's header against Sweden in 2002 comes to mind instantly. A thumping header from a Beckham corner was enough to get the entire nation pumped 23 minutes into our opening game. The confidence that oozed from that celebration; An ecstatic Sol who almost couldn't believe he'd scored and a trademark clambering Rio on the shoulders - it summoned that familiar, all-too-deceiving mindset of 'bloody hell, we're looking good and could actually do quite well here'. We obviously went on to draw 1-1 and despite following up with a victory over Argentina (a solid, emotionally-driven Beckham penalty putting the demons of '98 to rest), the Quarters would be the end of the line courtesy of THAT Ronaldinho goal.
Also, a deserved shout out to Tim Cahill's goal vs Holland at the last Cup. Just a thing of beauty.
My Best 'Worst' Moment was the absolute devastation of Frank Lampard's clearly over-the-line goal being disallowed against Germany in 2010. I was in Torquay on a lads' weekend and everybody just suddenly went so quiet. We were absolutely devastated knowing it was downhill from that moment. Someone before that game said, "If we lose today, the drive home is going to be awful." - and it was! Just depressing.
South Africa 2010, the opening game between South Africa and Mexico. Tshabalala’s opening World Cup goal set the tone for the rest of the tournament. It highlighted the togetherness of the country and not forgetting the impact of the infamous vuvuzelas. How can you forget the celebration of the first goal? I’d wake up and do it every morning!
Josh, Murdock Head Office
The 2006 Final was epic. Zidane's headbutt on Materazzi shocked everybody and would draw a close to one of the most prestigious and reputable careers in the game. Italy then went on to win it, already incentivised to seek revenge for the 2000 Euro Final loss.