1966 was brilliant because football came home (and we won it). My dad raves about 1970 and England’s games against Brazil and West Germany and 2006 set the bar so high for a brilliantly organised and memorable World Cup with the weirdest twist in the final.
However when it comes to the best World Cup of all time it has be Italia 90 – here’s why
1 The sheer joy of watching Cameroon beat Argentina in the opener. And especially that fabulous tackle on Caniggia at the death. An absolute classic!
2 The USA giving Italy a real scare in Rome - The Americans were back and almost pulled off the biggest World Cup shock ever.
3 Plenty of home interest. It wasn’t all about England. Scotland and Ireland qualified too and both had memorable World Cups. The Irish were fantastic fun and got very close to knocking out the home nation in the quarters.
4 Argentina’s very dodgy win against Brazil in the first of the knock out rounds – Incredible to think that the two giants of South American football could meet so early in the competition. A Caniggia goal sealed it for the Argies but it later transpired that there may have been some dodgy shenanigans in the dressing room.
5 Platt’s goal – It broke a million Belgian hearts, but it still ranks in the top three goals ever scored by an Englishman at a World Cup.
6 The comeback against Cameroon - Just when you thought that Milla and his hip swivelling antics had won the day up pops Gary Lineker with two perfect penalties.
7 Knowing that England were within an outstretched Gazza boot of reaching the finals – Of course the penalty shoot out was heartbreaking, and we had already had Gazza’s tears and an amazing display by an England team, but the most galling thing was knowing that we go so very close.
8 The total lack of cynicism about the England football team – We started slowly, but by the end of the tournament had played some of the best football of tournament. Italia 90 made stars of Gazza, Lineker, Platty and many other England players. They returned home as heroes.
9 The weather – The sun shone all throughout the tournament in England. It was bliss…
10 The good things that followed – After the tragedies of Heysel and Hillsborough football in England finally started to re-emerge. Without Italia 90 there would have been no Premier League, Fever Pitch, Fantasy Football (with Dave and Frank), Euro 96 and a whole load more.
11 – Bonus – the best football song ever