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World Cup Nuggets: Everything You Need To Know About Every World Cup

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World Cup Nuggets: Everything You Need To Know About Every World Cup

8.99

Kindle eBook link is here, also available on iBooks and all other formats

Can you name the three World Cup winners who have also won the Golden Boot outright?

Who went on to win the World Cup despite losing their first match?

What was the significance of the black bands that appeared around the goal posts in Argentina in 1978?

Which two World Cups featured no red cards at all?

What did Just Fontaine receive for his feat of scoring 13 goals for France in 1958?

Answers to all these and more in World Cup Nuggets: Everything You Need To Know About Every World Cup. There have been 20 tournaments in 16 different countries since 1930 and each has its own unique moments and stories all captured here. Whether you’re a football addict, a World Cup devotee, or a casual fan there’s something within for everyone.

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Kindle eBook link is here, also available on iBooks and all other formats

Can you name the three World Cup winners who have also won the Golden Boot outright?

Who went on to win the World Cup despite losing their first match?

What was the significance of the black bands that appeared around the goal posts in Argentina in 1978?

Which two World Cups featured no red cards at all?

What did Just Fontaine receive for his feat of scoring 13 goals for France in 1958?

Answers to all these and more in World Cup Nuggets: Everything You Need To Know About Every World Cup. There have been 20 tournaments in 16 different countries since 1930 and each has its own unique moments and stories all captured here. Whether you’re a football addict, a World Cup devotee, or a casual fan there’s something within for everyone.

1990

“I think Italia’90 was hugely important to football in this country. After that everyone became interested in football. It wasn’t just working class men it was all classes, women, kids - it returned to the family game it should be. Bobby was at the helm then and that helped to cement his popularity” - Gary Lineker 

The 1990 World Cup was a watershed moment for several reasons. English fans’ memories are suitably tear-stained. Inspired and thrilled by the genius of Paul Gascoigne, then crushed by the yellow card that would have ruled him out of the final and tormented by the agony of Stuart Pearce and Chris Waddle’s penalty misses. All washed down with a splash of Luciano Pavarotti. For once England had actually made a good impression, admittedly after a tentative start and were in with a chance of success but that proved elusive and being that close to glory seems a million miles away from where we are now. At least England did not come home empty-handed as they picked up the Fair Play award.

The final itself was one of the worst in the entire history of the World Cup, with neither side providing anything particularly positive or attractive during the tortuous, nay tedious, 90 minutes. Pedro Monzon became the first player to receive a red card in a final and to make doubly sure that we noticed rgentina had a second player, Gustavo Dezotti, sent off for good measure, or maybe that should be bad measure in this case.

It was entirely apposite that the only goal of the game was a penalty, as there was not enough invention or intention in open play to merit a goal of any other sort. So thanks to Andreas Brehme’s 85th minute spot kick, the Germans avenged their defeat of four years previously in the only final contested by the same sides who met in the final of the previous tournament. That Franz Beckenbauer became the first man to captain and coach World Cup winners felt almost incidental and although it was the 14thstaging, Argentina became the first finalist who failed to score. Since then five of the six finals have featured at least one team drawing a blank and in the 1994 World Cup final neither team troubled the scorers—the only time the final has ended in a goalless draw. This could be seen as the start of a more practical, dour age where winning was considered more important than style. From the land of Macchiavelli came a more Macchiavellian approach.

The whole tournament was a sterile affair as negative tactics seemed to have become the tactical lingua franca and there was very little in the way of attractive or stylish football on show. With an average of 2.2 goals per game this was the lowest-scoring World Cup. Oh for the heady days of 1954 when the average was more than double that. As a consequence FIFA introduced the law prohibiting goalkeepers from handling the ball after it was played back to them by a teammate thus closing off that particularly boring tactical means of stifling games.

Beneath this pall of negativity there were, of course, some uplifting moments and Cameroon provided a fair few. By becoming the first African nation to get to the quarterfinals they built on the progress made by the likes of Algeria and Morocco. In Roger Milla they had perhaps the greatest story of all. Milla was rescued from semi-retirement at the grand old age of 38 and became the definition of a super sub as he scored all four of his goals after coming off the bench against Romania and Colombia. His joyous, hip-gyrating celebrations around the corner flag were the perfect embellishment to this symbol of longevity.

Having become the oldest goal scorer at a World Cup, Milla then broke his own record at the 1994 tournament aged 42, although there was not so much of a celebratory feel as his goal came in a 6-1 hammering by Russia. His achievements were recognised when in 2007 he was voted the best African player of the last five decades. Not bad for a player who would not even have played in a World Cup were it not for the Cameroonian President’s insistence and the coach bowing to political pressure.