World Cup memories
- 10 Jul 06, 06:51 PM
IBC, MUNICH – So after 31 days, 64 games, 147 goals (2002 = 161), 28 red cards, 305 yellows and four penalty shoot-outs, another World Cup is over.
It’s been a long tournament for the Match of the Day team – most of us have been out here in Germany for at least five weeks. But what a fantastic experience! Being paid to work at World Cup is as good as it gets for a football fan.
Now it’s time to get in reflective mood, so I want to know what will you remember most about this World Cup?
To help jog your memories, here are the Match of the Day experts’ favourite moments of the tournament. Over at the Guardian they've also been listing their best/worst moments of the tournament.
My own? I’ll never forget being at the opening match at the Allianz Arena in Munich when Germany beat Costa Rica 4-2. The atmosphere was amazing, and the goals weren't bad either - Lahm and Frings' efforts made Match of the Day's top 10 goals of the tournament!
Roll on South Africa 2010.
Leonardo: My best memory in this World Cup is when Ronaldo scored against Ghana. It was his 15th World Cup goal, breaking Gerd Muller’s World Cup goalscoring record. A fantastic achievement.
Marcel Desailly: My favourite memory is Philipp Lahm’s goal in the Germany v Costa Rica match. I really enjoyed the goal because it was the first of the tournament and it got everybody in the World Cup spirit and created a great atmosphere. It opened the World Cup for everybody. My second favourite moment was Asamoah Gyan’s goal for Ghana against Czech Republic after two minutes. It was amazing because it was Ghana’s first World Cup goal, and set up their first ever World Cup victory.
Alan Hansen: Definitely Argentina’s second goal against Serbia and Montenegro. It had everything you could want in a goal: pace, control, movement, subtlety, flair, imagination and a fantastic finish. Unsurpassable.
John Motson: It's always nice to see mutual admiration between two master craftsmen in the heat of the battle. Seconds after the final whistle in the semi-final in Munich between France and Portugal, Zinedine Zidane and Luis Figo swapped shirts in an emotional exchange between two of the most influential European players of the last decade. It reminded me of Bobby Moore and Pele in 1970 - one world-class superstar acknowledging the status of another.
Alan Shearer: Joe Cole’s fantastic volley in the first half against Sweden. Just when England needed a bit of class and a bit of quality up pops Joe Cole with exactly that. Not many players could have done that. There’s been some fantastic goals in this tournament, but for me that just might have been the best of the lot.
Gordon Strachan: I’ve been to a few World Cups as a player and as a fan and I definitely think this has been the best World Cup ever. Normally the streets at a World Cup only come alive around the stadium but the streets all around Germany, especially here in Berlin, have seen a magnificent coming together of fans from all over the world and they’ve been welcomed brilliantly by the Germans. It’s been absolutely fantastic and something I’ll never forget. In terms of football, Argentina’s goal when they had 24 passes was definitely a work of art. I do feel sorry for the right back though, Nicolas Burdisso. He was the only one who never touched the ball in that move!
Lee Dixon: Maxi Rodriguez’s goal against Mexico. It was Esteban Cambiasso’s goal for Argentina before that, but I think he just wins it on technique and for the importance of the goal in that precise moment of the game.
Martin O’Neill: My favourite moment concerns Zinedine Zidane, one of the greatest footballers that ever lived. France struggled in the first two games of the group stage, Zidane himself also struggling for form. When it came to the third game and they needed to beat Togo, he was suspended. I don’t know whether in moments of reflection he thought 'is this the way I really want to end my career?' I’m not sure. But deep down something stirred within this genius and he roused himself once again. It was like getting a second chance, if France could beat Togo and get through to the next stages, he was going to leave his mark on this World Cup. Along came Spain in the last 16, then Brazil in the quarter-finals and Zidane was back to his imperious best. I just thought he was absolutely fantastic, and his display against Brazil was the big, big moment for me. I thought France deservedly won that game simply because Zidane rolled back the years and became the player we all know he has been for the last decade.
NB: Pundits interviewed before Sunday's final.