The countdown to South Africa 2010 has well and truly started and so we thought we’d take a look back at some of our greatest ever World Cup moments. We’d also like to know what has been your greatest World Cup moment? Maybe it was a win for your country; a superb goal or a moment of madness? Let us know by writing a comment below.There is vocabulary support below for the words in bold.
1. Ireland 1-1 Germany (Japan: 2002)
The atmosphere had been building all day among the thousands of Irish fans who had gathered in Ibaraki to watch the ‘Boys in Green’ play the mighty Germans. Despite our optimism before the match, few could have predicted such a dramatic finale when in the 94th minute Robbie Keane scored that goal. It was only an equaliser but it felt like a winner. Ireland went out in the next round while the Germans played in the final itself but for a few minutes, standing behind the goal we all thought we had won the trophy itself.
2. West Germany 2-1 Holland (West Germany: 1974)
I was only 8 but I simply could not understand how Holland lost this match. They had captured our imagination through the tournament by scoring loads of great goals while at the same time looking extremely cool. In the playground at school we had all wanted to be Johan Cruyff, Ruud Krol, Jonny Rep and Johan Neeskens. My youth meant I could not understand such matters as tactics, organisation, power and the fact their opponents that day were playing at home and were a fine team with a deadly goalscorer in their ranks. My tender years didn’t stop me from crying when it was all over either.
3. Italy 3-2 Brazil (Spain: 1982)
Much like the Dutch in 1974 most people felt that the winner of the 1982 World Cup was not necessarily the best team in the competition. That, however, would be unfair on an Italian side that threw caution to the wind in the crucial second round match against everyone’s favourite team, Brazil. The South Americans had been in magical form throughout the tournament – a real embodiment of the joga bonita that everyone expects from Brazil. Socrates, Zico, Falcao, Toninho Cerezo and Junior all made football look easy while Italy had looked dour, uneasy and overly conservative in their matches till then. But from the moment Paolo Rossi scored in the 5th minute the Italians threw off their defensive shackles and both teams just went for it. When the final whistle blew, many fans bemoaned the fact that Brazil were out but Italy had deserved it and proved it by becoming World champions a week later.
‘Boys in Green’: Nickname for the Irish football team
a dramatic finale : A really exciting end to the game
an equaliser : A goal to make the scores level (e.g. 1-1)
captured our imagination:To cause great excitement; to stimulate interest
in their ranks: In the team, a team member
threw caution to the wind : Did not hold back, to take a risk
embodiment: Demonstration, take on physical form
overly conservative: Too defensive, not attacking or open
shackles: In chains, something holding you back
went for it: To attack, to take a risk
bemoaned the fact: Complained about something