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The ultimate sports theme tune

Philip Bernie Philip Bernie | 15:20 UK time, Thursday, 6 September 2007

It was very sad to hear of the news of the death of Luciano Pavarotti.

He will, for many, be most associated with his wonderful rendition of the aria "Nessun Dorma", which was used famously as the theme tune for the BBC's 1990 World Cup coverage.

Watch the BBC's Italia 90 titles

Since the announcement of his death, we have had quite a few queries as to how this piece of music came to be chosen for that event.

It was certainly at that time an unusual choice; sports theme tunes had tended to be variations on the Match of the Day/Grandstand template, or occasionally borrowed from pop songs, such as the great use of Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain" for the BBC's Formula 1 coverage.

But taking up this beautiful excerpt from an Italian opera (Turandot by Puccini) seemed to chime perfectly with the very stylish staging of the World Cup in Italy; and the sense of lament in the music also struck a chord with the most potent image of the tournament, when Gazza cried as England lost to Germany in the semi-final on penalties.


Normally the choice of music for such a big event involves a series of discussions, and this was no exception. I will try to give the best account of the process here I can recall.

In 1989 I was working as a producer in TV Sport. As the build up to Italia 90 gathered pace, I made a 30-minute film looking at Italian preparations, with the excellent Gerald Sinstadt as the reporter.

I had been poring over various music options for this film, and had heard Nessun Dorma being played as someone's choice on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs - I am afraid I can't remember who was the castaway.

In the end, I did not use Nessun Dorma in that film, but a few weeks later did decide it would go very well with some video inserts I was making for the draw for the World Cup - I think this was December 1989.

In particular, I could see a really strong music to pictures tie-up. In the aria, probably the most celebrated moment is the climax, when the word "Vincero" (meaning "I will win") is sung three times, with the third being the most dramatic - and this was where Pavarotti hit his most thrilling, highest note.

This seemed to me to fit perfectly, both in terms of the word and the intensity with an especially memorable image from Italian football: when Marco Tardelli scored the crucial goal in the 1982 World Cup final for Italy against Germany, he ran away, arms spread and mouth wide open in utter exultation.

The idea of this image matching Pavarotti's climax in "Nessun Dorma" seemed compelling.

So that is why I used the music for a montage of great World Cup moments, ending with that Tardelli clip married up to the final "Vincero".

This item seemed to go down well in the course of the usual interminable World Cup draw... The following week I had a chat about it with Brian Barwick, then editor of the BBC's football and now of course the chief executive of the FA, when I said we should definitely use it for the World Cup itself.

I was appointed to be assistant editor in TV Sport in 1990, and took this role for the World Cup. I was also asked to make the opening titles.

I was, however, not at the meeting when the music was actually decided; what I have been told about that meeting is Desmond Lynam was an ardent advocate for using Pavarotti - and such was Des's stature that his position would have been crucial to the decision.

I have to say also that, as well as being an exceptional broadcaster, Des's judgement on these matters was usually excellent.

There was some debate, I believe, on which piece of Pavarotti to use, and Brian was instrumental in settling on Nessun Dorma; in the end, of course, Brian, as editor, would have had the final say anyway, so both he and Des deserve proper credit for going with Nessun Dorma.

So I made the titles using Nessun Dorma, and once again for the climax had the final "Vincero" over that stunning celebratory image of Tardelli - the key to pointing up the music's resonance to the event, I thought.

Interestingly there was a bit of a stir initially from the record company about our use of the music; but it was settled pretty swiftly and amicably, and, once they realised how much the tune had caught on, they became extremely positive about it!

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 04:09 PM on 06 Sep 2007,
  • Orlando wrote:

I was only 4 at the time, and the 1990 World Cup was my introduction to the wonderful world of football. I remember 2 things vividly - Gazza's tears, and Nessun Dorma. Every single person that helped make the opening credits should be congratulated, it's the most iconic music for a sports tournament ever, sung by the most iconic opera singer ever, who will be sadly missed.

somehow I can't ever see the voice of Pavarotti's "Vincero" over an image of Steve McClaren !!!

  • 3.
  • At 04:12 PM on 06 Sep 2007,
  • George Mudley wrote:

I still remember the opening titles of Italia 90 even now. And also, I suppose, the less stylish and somewhat bizarre titles of ITV's coverage. It's funny how a World Cup as, apparently, disappointing in terms of classic games, number of goals etc. is so fondly membered in this country - mainly because England did so well, obviously, but also because of Nessun Dorma, John Barnes rapping on "Loves Got the World in Motion" and Gazza's tears.

I seem to remember Nessun Dorma being on an excellent advert (for Pirelli tyres?) around the same time, though. Maybe this first brought it to the wider public's attention?

  • 4.
  • At 04:15 PM on 06 Sep 2007,
  • J Mquire wrote:

Have to say i'm not in to opera and couldn't name one tenor but we all know Pavarotti for that piece in the 1990 World Cup, brilliant!

  • 5.
  • At 04:16 PM on 06 Sep 2007,
  • Aaron wrote:

A brilliant blog post - thanks!

  • 6.
  • At 04:37 PM on 06 Sep 2007,
  • rob kane wrote:

Not exactly a huge Pavarotti or indeed opera fan but there WAS a certain something about Nessun Dorma and Italia 90 that did enthrall. It was the marriage of the "vincero" bit and Tardelli's celebration that just seemed to work. Plus the tournament itself saw England do well and in truth if we had got past Germany in the semis we would have won - after all Argentina were a poor team in that tournament. The music the tournament and our performances made it memorable World Cup for me. All the tournaments since then have not been as enjoyable.

  • 7.
  • At 04:43 PM on 06 Sep 2007,
  • Andy wrote:

Ever since that moment I always look forward to what the theme tune will be for major events on the BBC.

Is there any chance we could have a programme dedicated to showing theme tunes from World Cups, European Championships, Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games etc? It would be great to see how these themes changed over time. For example I would love to see whatever the theme was the 1966 World Cup, or the 1972 Olympics or whatever. Perhaps as a programme in the run-up to Euro 2008 or the Beijing Olympics?

If not, is there any chance of an archive of theme tunes on your website?

I would also be interested in how discussions are going for the themes to be used for Euro 2008 and the Beijing Olympics. As Vienna and Salzburg (two of the host cities) have a strong link with Mozart, how about a Mozart piece for Euro 2008?

  • 8.
  • At 05:30 PM on 06 Sep 2007,
  • Nick wrote:

Strange how much the part the BBC and England's fortunes in the World Cup resulted in the Three Tenors and Pavarotti himself reaching even greater heights and the world including the Italians following that lead. (Still we're very good at doing tragedy)

This is not a sycophantic post but we easily forget how important having a public service broadcaster which because of it's extensive coverage of all walks of life can hit a chord that more populist-led media would not chance (although they have embarssingly tried subsequently and Auntie hasn't quite hit the spot either).

Those who can remember would perhaps agree with me that the powerful synergy of football and music began with the indelible music and 'ticket'-tape fanfare of Argentina in '82 (No England Required).

  • 9.
  • At 05:33 PM on 06 Sep 2007,
  • David wrote:


Yeah, we could have a top 100 sporting theme tunes. That would be an evening of cheap TV.... Pitch it to Channel 4 and it's happening!!!

  • 10.
  • At 05:37 PM on 06 Sep 2007,
  • mark wrote:

Hot diggedy damn!

I always thought 'Nessun Dorma' was the official song for Italia '90. Not only did I think that but so did my colleagues from work and they're French, German, Italian and Portuguese!

I did a quick Wikipedia check and it told me it WAS the official theme song. Then 10 minutes later I re-did the Wiki check to show my French colleague and it had been changed to 'the BBC's song....'

Congratulations for choosing such a fitting piece of music for a World Cup montage and for leading probably millions of people across the world into thinking it was the official theme. Giorgio Moroder, composer of the OFFICIAL theme must get pretty tired of people ignoring his efforts.

  • 11.
  • At 05:51 PM on 06 Sep 2007,
  • Louise Collison - BBC Sport wrote:

More details on theme tunes for BBC Sport programmes are available by clicking on this link:

Am I the only one who's been humming Nessun Dorma all day...?

  • 12.
  • At 05:59 PM on 06 Sep 2007,
  • Rob Payne wrote:

I was ten in 1990, I remember 4 years before my dad and uncle getting very cross with a small man called deigo, but 1990 would be my first world cup as a football fan. I recall running home form school to catch Argentina play Cameroon in the first match as if it was yeasterday. I had never been so excited about anything before, it's possible I haven't been as excited about anyting since! I had no idea who Pavrotti was, or what opera was even! To this day, however, whenever I think about that World Cup (which I do quite a lot as it was a bit of a golden age!) it is soundtracked by Nessun Dorma, and the image of Toto Scalchi reeling away after one of his six goals! That music, and that little unknown striker, took over my school that summer, every goal scored in the playgrund was soundtracked by us all 'singing' the theme, and running around wide eyed and open mouthed in slow motion! Ok, I'm rambling, but never has a piece of music been so perfectly matched to an image, not on television, not in Hollywood. I have used the end of tornement montage set to Nessun dorma to argue against non football people about what is so wonderful about the game. The Rugby world cup that followed, in '91 I think, used opera, but it was that Dame form New Zeland and it wasn't the same. Football at it's best is pure art, and never has that been more beautifuly illustrated than Nessun Dorma and Italia '90. The day after we lost to Germany I was running some errands with my mum and dug out a Pavrotti album in her car and put it on. As I sat there while she was in the shop Nessun Dorma came on and I wept uncontrolably. I always hoped I would get to see him sing this wonderful piece of music in the flesh. I am very sad that will never happen. Just writing this is making the hairs on my arms stand up, bravo to you, and Des for selecting Nessun Dorma for the theme, and making a lot of lives more full because of the wonderful voice of Pavrotti. RIP

  • 13.
  • At 06:56 PM on 06 Sep 2007,
  • Richard Simpson wrote:

That World Cup and that song will always be special to me. Scotland as usual crashed and burned disappointing me and many others. But my late wife, being American, knew little about football and nothing about the World Cup but she was captivated by Pavarotti's beautiful, no GLORIOUS, rendering of Nessun Dorma and sat down with me to watch the games. I won't say she was captivated by football in general but she did love the World Cup. Thank you Luciano. The heavenly choir has now got another great tenor, maybe the best ever.

  • 14.
  • At 07:00 PM on 06 Sep 2007,
  • Mark Bunn wrote:

I had my 15th birthday during that world cup, was it really over 17 years ago.
It was truly a memomrable time. Pavrotti's theme, John Barnes rapping.
It was when I think BBC Football coverage came into the modern era, it was the first main tournament that Des Lynam was the main frontman, everything just clicked which was also a little like England during those four weeks. It was proved that ITV at that time cound't host football, (it did help them lose the Premier League TV Deal in 1992).
The success that year, by the probably the 2nd best England squad in history, helped to change around football in this country. After all it was only then 5 years since the dark days of Hysel and Bradford, and
just over a year since Hillsborough.
Football became popular with everyone, and was only after that summer that people within the FA started looking at a Premier League which started just two years and one
month after England's tragic semi-final defeat.
Pavrotti's theme is the music of those times.

  • 15.
  • At 07:06 PM on 06 Sep 2007,
  • Shiv wrote:

Nessun Dorma..
Can words really describe it??

Not many would be worthy of mentoined to describe what i believe to be the best piece of music for any sporting event, also one of the greatest pieces of music ever..

Like the first poster, i myself was very young at the time of italia '90, 5, but nessun dorma used to send me into a trancelike state, few memories from italia '90 will never die.. Tardelli.. Gazza, and lastly but by no means least.. Nessun Dorma..

Luciano Pavarotti. Rest In Peace..

  • 16.
  • At 07:12 PM on 06 Sep 2007,
  • Gary wrote:

Thanks Philip for a very interesting blog.

I have always realised that the BBC has taken huge care in its choice of music. It is telling, isn't it, that you can name a range of major sports (or even one off annual events such as the London Marathon or Grand National) and many of us can hum the appropriate theme tune. Telling too that one of the loudest cries at the announcement of the demise of Grandstand was about the future of the theme tune - a plea that it might perhaps be considered for the Six Nations coverage?

It won't, I am sure, still be available now, but for many years the BBC produced an audio cassette of their iconic theme tunes. as a previous post suggeststhis might make an interesting programme - surely a subject suited to Five Live? If you want the visuals there's plenty on YouTube.

  • 17.
  • At 07:12 PM on 06 Sep 2007,
  • snake man wrote:

The choice of 'nessun dorma' for the 1990 world cup theme was inspired. It was particularly evocative of a romantic vision of Italy and turned football into a sort of operatic art. The image of Tardelli is particularly fitting when placed with 'vincero' although I confess at the time I thought Pavarotti was singing something like 'green shadow' - hey I was only about 14 at the time so I didn't pay much attention to translation.
Naturally, as I have discovered since, "nessun dorma" is even more fitting when placed in its original context i.e. within the opera as Turandot demonstrates his unbreakable will in the name of his desire to win the resisting and simultaneously persecuting princess, but nevertheless the use of this piece of music has had a very great nostalgic effect on me for that particular World cup and also served as some inspiration to explore Puccini.

It is a sad day to hear of Pavarotti's death but he will be remembered fondly in England by both fans of opera and football alike.

  • 18.
  • At 07:13 PM on 06 Sep 2007,
  • Joe wrote:

Those titles were a great piece of work. Moving, powerful, joyful, and at the same time so calm and stately.

Shame we can't say the same about the terrible new MOTD titles, in which you have somehow made Wayne Rooney miss-kick the ball sideways!

  • 19.
  • At 07:27 PM on 06 Sep 2007,
  • snake man wrote:


I agree they should go for more classical music as themes for important sporting events. In fact I was rather hoping that for the Germany 2006 World cup they would have used the liebestod music from Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde" - a passionate atonal 20 minute love duet between a couple caught in the throes of a metaphysical love-death union pact. They could have had an image of Eriksson and Beckham together, united in fate, unconditionally intertwined.

On a plus side, I really like the end of the coverage where there was a little poem extract by Goethe about 'fate' and we saw the mad genius Zidane meet his rising and then falling, from World cup hero to headbutt merchant.

  • 20.
  • At 08:20 PM on 06 Sep 2007,
  • paul napier wrote:

It still sends a shiver up my spine listening to that song,seeing those images of gazza crying with pure emotion and agony. Nobody sings like the great man himself (pavarotti not gazza)and it makes me sad to think that he will only be singing it in heaven. thank you for the memories of a great time in my life,and probably most english football fans.

  • 21.
  • At 08:48 PM on 06 Sep 2007,
  • Gavin Tranter wrote:

It is a shame that he has gone because he was my hero, because i loved his singing and at the time gazza was favorite player


Luciano Pavarotti.

  • 22.
  • At 08:52 PM on 06 Sep 2007,
  • Khudael Ashraf wrote:

"Those who can remember would perhaps agree with me that the powerful synergy of football and music began with the indelible music and 'ticket'-tape fanfare of Argentina in '82 (No England Required)."

I don't think many people can remember Argentina in 1982. However, England did get to 'Espana '82' and as much as my anorak memory serves me, England were unbeaten in their group.

The ticker-tape fanfare in Argentina was in 1978, the second consecutive World Cup missed out on by the England national team.

But believe it or not, England not making it to a tournament is a huge loss.

To England fans, players, even rivals. The economy, both in England and Switzerland/Austria can be deprived of without England qualifying.

England may not have started the carnival atmosphere in football but they certainly have played their part in making sure they are the most powerful nation in every other sense, even if their football skills aren't up to scratch.

  • 23.
  • At 08:53 PM on 06 Sep 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

Des Lynam's intro to that momentous semi-final still makes the hairs on the back of neck stand up. "Good evening. There are three teams left in this year's world cup finals. Argentina, Germany, (pause) and England" then straight into Nessun Dorma. Wonderful stuff.

  • 24.
  • At 09:15 PM on 06 Sep 2007,
  • Scott wrote:

Nice article. It really is the greatest theme of all, I don't think the BBC could have chosen a more apt soundtrack to that magical summer.

I was 13 at the time and it was the first World Cup to actually mean something to me. In fact, I don't think the World Cup will ever hit the emotional heights of 1990. It's also a great reminder to how gifted Gascoigne was as a player and Des was as a broadcaster.

It was a real watershed moment in terms of the popularity of football. Even though the quality of the football at Italia '90 was variable (at best), it brought football back to mainstream (and some what middle class) acceptance after the so called 'dark days' of the 1980's.

RIP Luciano.

  • 25.
  • At 09:33 PM on 06 Sep 2007,
  • Del wrote:

Fascinating! But I'm sure I remember the now retiring Barry Davies saying during that tournament that his wife had been the one to suggest Nessun Dorma's use. Am I imagining that entirely or is there a grain of truth in my addled brain?

Events throughout life can be linked instantly to a piece of music. One thinks of Ravel and his Bolero and you instantly picture the purple costumes of Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean. Think of Elton John's Candle In The Wind and that emotional late summer of 1997 comes instantly to mind.

Nessun Dorma sits very nicely in this list and Luciano Pavarotti played a big part in that unforgettable summer. May he rest in peace.

  • 27.
  • At 09:54 PM on 06 Sep 2007,
  • Jeremy Simpson wrote:

I was a young engineer in 1990, and in those days a serious football fan. By pure luck I went on a visit to an Italian sister factory up in the Alps with the directors of the company that I was posted to. The town was plastered with Costa Rica (flags, writing on the road) who had been knocked out, and I felt I was missing out. But that night we went out to a restaurant ... on the night that England was playing Belgium. We sat and ate and they all talked, but I could hear a TV in the kitchen. Eventually I couldn't take any more and asked the waiter what the score was, and he said 2-1. I went "YESSSS!" then he said "To Belgium". The whole table went quiet and the waiter laughed and said "Only joking." The MD, God bless him, said "You don't want to be here do you?", and when the waiter invited me into the kitchen it was a no-brainer. We watched through that thrilling extra-time until Platt scored THAT GOAL. The chef, the waiter (both Italian) and myself then leapt up and danced around the kitchen with a bottle of wine in our hands... It is one of my most wonderful, happy memories, and whenever it pops into my mind I hear Nessum Dorma. Thank you BBC and thankyou Luciano. I think you would be happy to be remembered this way.

  • 28.
  • At 10:08 PM on 06 Sep 2007,
  • Andrew Webb wrote:

Nessun Dorma WAS the offical song of the 1990 World Cup..its been all over the news.
Its a very big shame that Pavrotti died today.
But it will be for this song for that World Cup that he'll be remembered for!

  • 29.
  • At 10:42 PM on 06 Sep 2007,
  • Stephen B wrote:

Nice story, great memories.
As a Uni student at the time it always brings back fond memories of evening visits to the pub with flatmates - one of which was from germany. Of course the tournament, gary Linekers extra-time penalty against cameroon, david platt's fantastic volley against Belgium, Gazza, the ecstacy and agony of the semi against Germany - although my flat-mate disagreed! & many more including a certain cute blonde. :)
All overlayed with the theme tune which still evokes these memories nearly 20years later.

Nick (Post 8): Argentina held the World Cup in 1978!

It was held in Spain in 1982, where England were present - although Keegan's header made sure we didn't overstay our welcome :0(

Peace out,

The Mooj

  • 31.
  • At 11:07 PM on 06 Sep 2007,
  • Alan Newman wrote:


This is soemthing we have been wondering in the office.

Was it co-incidence that the BBC chose Nesun Dorma and the three tenors performed the piece on the night before the 1990 final?

Did one influence the other - was the performance already organised or had the BBC's choice influenced the concert's organisers?

  • 32.
  • At 11:53 PM on 06 Sep 2007,
  • Arran wrote:

A fantastic blog post, that piece of music is possibly the finest of lifetime and it has become even more apparent now the big man has gone..

The 1990 world cup is how it should be but i am afraid i dont see the likes of it again!

  • 33.
  • At 12:22 AM on 07 Sep 2007,
  • ian buckley wrote:

Rob Payne, brilliantly put. I was you in a different part of the country.
Was great to see the title sequence on the website today, gave me goosebumps. Thanks Philip/Des/BBC for selecting the piece, a masterful stroke if ever there was one.
Thank you Pavorotti.

  • 34.
  • At 01:04 AM on 07 Sep 2007,
  • Nicko Coates wrote:

I was 9 years old when Italia 90 kicked off. I can remember it vividly. 'Nessun Dorma' has and always will remind me of this World Cup, what a fantastic piece of music and what a singer to sing it. The emotion with which Pavarotti sang pretty much symbolised the emotions of every England fan during that World Cup. Stuart Pearce missing the penalty, Gazza having a little moment when we lost on penalties. Pavarotti will always be remembered as an opera singer of great magnitude but he will also be fondly remembered by England football fans (those who were old enough) as the man who sang the most iconic theme music for a fototball World Cup. Rest In Peace Maestro.

I think the theme tune did bring opera to some people like me who before that had not been concerned about opera at all.

  • 36.
  • At 04:28 AM on 07 Sep 2007,
  • Peter Dale wrote:

As much as Nessun Dorma I remember another song played as a background to Paul Gascoigne's tears or skills or both. Could have been "About a Boy" or something similar, probably sung by Billie Holliday...can anyone refresh by memory here? It was very moving, anyway, as much as Pavarotti.

  • 37.
  • At 05:48 AM on 07 Sep 2007,
  • Pieter wrote:

Your choice of Nessum Dorma as BBC's World Cup theme, the link with such a world audience-event and the subsequent Three Tenors concert opened up the wonderful world of opera music to millions of people across the globe.
Thank you for your enlightening, in fact brilliant, blog post. BBC should save it in their archives as it adds to the history/past of the BBC.

  • 38.
  • At 07:10 AM on 07 Sep 2007,
  • Dave Cotton wrote:

I don't know about Gazza but i can't hear Nessun Dorma without remembering the great TV coverage and getting a lump in the throat. We were robbed no risk about that. I only wish that we'd learned something from that amtch

  • 39.
  • At 08:24 AM on 07 Sep 2007,
  • john cb wrote:

On the general point the first BBC coverage I remember was that of 1962 from Chile which was of course before geostationary satellites, and featured filmed highlights about a day late. I have no idea what the theme was. However the BBC's groundbreaking 1966 coverage was the only time I remember the Grandstand theme being used. This was of course the original 1958 theme, but the titles themselves were specially designed featuring the Jules Rimet trophy. I can't remember either of the MOTD themes being used at any World Cup. From 1970 the music was IIRC specially selected. Does anyone else remember anything different?

  • 40.
  • At 08:29 AM on 07 Sep 2007,
  • umesha wrote:

It is suppose to be a world cup theme and clips from past world cups should have been shown. Marco Van Basten's clip is from Euro88 in Germany. Is there a reason for this?

  • 41.
  • At 08:29 AM on 07 Sep 2007,
  • Peter wrote:

I think that the Rugby World close has come the closest to having an iconic theme tune after Italia 90. "The World in Union" to me instantly reminds me of the world cup and Nelson Mandela handing the World Cup trophy to the Springbox.
I think this may now be the official theme to all of the rugby world cups?
The theme to USA 94 from Maria also worked reasonably well I thought.

  • 42.
  • At 09:26 AM on 07 Sep 2007,
  • Tony Leo wrote:

World Cup Italia '90 I feel was the first World Cup that had a real Buzz about it. All the major Nations were there and each team had 1 or 2 superstars. All the big teams progressed to the later stages of the tournament and Pavarotti was an immense signature of Italia '90. I feel the theme used at Italia '90 will always be remembered as the greatest World Cup anthem ever. RIP Luciano!!

  • 43.
  • At 09:31 AM on 07 Sep 2007,
  • Chris wrote:

Nessun Dorma, Pavarotti, Des, Gazza's tears, Butcher & Waddle "having a disco" after the Belgium game (let us not forget David Platt's volley),- a very memorable World Cup, the 1/4 finals and semi-finals of which I was lucky enough to go to. In Turin 15,000 England fans outsang 40,000 Germans for over 2hours - there was a real sense of pride, and the West German match was the game of the World Cup (I went absolutely ape when Lineaker equalised!!) Great memories

  • 44.
  • At 09:37 AM on 07 Sep 2007,
  • Basil Juice wrote:

I didn't remember the title sequence (I was sixteen at the time) but it was great to see it again -- the first forty seconds are so cheesy, who came up with the idea of having a couple of dancers in diaphanous robes prancing around an enormous golden football-globe? That must have been Des's idea. The classic world cup footage was brilliant, though -- highlighting the colour in the shirts was extremely classy.

  • 45.
  • At 09:41 AM on 07 Sep 2007,
  • stephen barlow wrote:

wonderful choice! ps can we clarify gazza was crying about a yellow that would ban him from the final should england reach it :p

  • 46.
  • At 10:30 AM on 07 Sep 2007,
  • Graeme Davison wrote:

the two worked brilliantly in tandem so much that russ abbot did a fantastic sketch based on the link. he dressed up in a fat suit as pavaroti and stood in goal while shots rained in from all angles. nesun dorma started and russ dived about all over the place, some in beautiful slow mo, never reaching a single shot. to end it he ate a goal post, got booked, ate the yellow card and then bent over to show his backside at the displeasure of the booking etc and a ball bonced off his backside for the only save of the sketch. i was only about 11/12 but it was one of the funniest things i've ever seen.

  • 47.
  • At 10:39 AM on 07 Sep 2007,
  • Rio wrote:

Never have I celebrated an England goal more than David Platt's last minute volley against Belgium in the second round. He may have looked like Tin Tin, but for that one brief second, he was the greatest player on the planet. Vincero indeed!

  • 48.
  • At 11:28 AM on 07 Sep 2007,
  • Robbie wrote:

Will always remember Nessun Dorma as a song that could make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. 1990 was also the first time the Republic of Ireland qualified for a world cup and also did well in getting to the quater finals before losing to Italy.

  • 49.
  • At 12:45 PM on 07 Sep 2007,
  • Rob Payne wrote:

Thanks Ian Buckley! It was hard to keep it shortish, at one point I had gone off on a tagent about Roger Miller and corner flags, Roberto Baggio wonder goals and those little mini Italia '90 footballs that you got with coke cans that summer! Also the best world cup mascot, didn't know what it was, but it was cool!

  • 50.
  • At 01:20 PM on 07 Sep 2007,
  • Paul Staveley wrote:

Whenever I hear that wonderful piece of music I will always picture emotional football moments in slow motion - is there any more appropriate setting for such a thing?!

I was only 8, and not a massive football fan, but was hooked on that world cup, and cried along with the music as England went out, so it will always evoke powerful memories for me.


  • 51.
  • At 02:18 PM on 07 Sep 2007,
  • Peter Jackson wrote:

Nessun Dorma will always be synonomous
with ITALIA'90, and Pavarotti, may he rest in peace.

My own favourite was the theme for the
1976 Montreal Summer Olympics.
Copelands composition, "Fanfare to the
Common Man" given special treatment by
the great band Emerson Lake and Palmer.
A great Football theme me thinks.

  • 52.
  • At 03:31 PM on 07 Sep 2007,
  • HAWTHORN wrote:


I was only 7 and a half during the World Cup in 1990, and can remember almost all of the tournament, but in particular, can remember staying up well past my bedtime (a big achievement for a 7 year old in 1990), to see my hero Stuart Pearce represent England in the semi finals.

The fact it was England vs Germany was irrelevant, I was just captivated from the beginning of the tournament by the exceptional voice of Pavarotti, as pitch perfect as anything I'd ever heard.

It was a shame that England were defeated in that tournament, as all that comes to mind when I hear Nessun Dorma now, is the anguish on Psychos face when he missed the penalty, the tears of young Gazza, and the general despondency of the English support following that shoot out. However, it also brings to mind some of the more fantastic moments from Italia 90, with Platt's fantastic volley against Belgium, Schillaci scoring all those goals, the magic of Roger Milla, and all those exotic stadia.

The thing that stands in my mind the most however, is the haunting melody of Nessun Dorma. To a 7 year old whose taste in music was still growing, it was amazing. I'd never heard anything like it before, and its because of the way Pavarotti performed it (it wasn't sung, it was performed), I will remember it for the rest of my life.

RIP Luciano Pavarotti, the choirs of heaven have just got a magnificent singer.


  • 54.
  • At 12:59 PM on 08 Sep 2007,
  • Marcus Smith wrote:

I was really looking forward to seeing Pavarotti's Nessun Dorma and some evocative footage from Italia 90 on Football Focus today. What did we get? Nessun Dorma, yes, but with some rather less evocative modern footage of England, Northern Ireland and Wales. Congratulations, you couldn't have stuffed that up better.

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