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My first World Cup

Our panel look back to yesteryear

Features Posted 28th May 2010 view comments

It's not long until the World Cup kicks off - and our panel of experts are here to tell you exactly what you can expect in South Africa.

Here on, we've brought together the studio stars of Soccer Saturday - Jeff Stelling, Matt Le Tissier, Paul Merson, Phil Thompson and Charlie Nicholas - to share their thoughts on football's showpiece tournament.

Our panel: remember their first World Cup

Our panel: remember their first World Cup

In the coming days they'll bring you their tips on the players and teams to look out for in South Africa - as well as debating some of the big World Cup talking points.

But first they'll share their memories of the World Cups of yesteryear... Right then lads. Let's take a trip down memory lane. Tell us about the first World Cup you can remember...

THOMMO: The first World Cup I remember was 1966. I was only about 12 at the time so I didn't go to any of the games but it was great because Goodison Park held quite a lot of the games and so you still felt like you were really a part of it on Merseyside.

JEFF: It would have to be 1966 and it's been all downhill from there of course! I remember watching the World Cup final at my home in Hartlepool on a black and white TV but the game that sticks out is the one between North Korea and Portugal. North Korea were 3-0 up and ended up losing 5-3 and it's one which I will never forget because it was just so amazing at the time.

THOMMO: I also remember North Korea and one name that always sticks out is a guy called Pak Doo-Ik. I remember watching him score against Italy in one of the group games and his name has always stuck with me. That and of course the great name of Eusebio who melted the hearts of everybody. Those are the things that really made the whole tournament so magical along with England winning.

CHARLIE: The first World Cup I remember with vigour was 1970 in Mexico. It was a football education for me at eight years of age and I remember sitting there feeling blessed to be watching it. I was a Celtic fan and they won the European Cup in 1967. I was fortunate enough to go and see them play Leeds, the best team in England back then, so I had seen some great European games at Celtic Park. But to watch international football was a total fascination for me at that time. I just remember total flamboyant football. I recall England were the holders and had a fabulous team, the Germans were talking about revenge for 1966 and Italy were a champion side. But Brazil were the star turn; everything they did was about pass and move and style.

LE TISS: For me it was Argentina 1978. I remember the ticker-tape reception the Argentina team would get in Buenos Aries when they stepped onto the pitch. They'd throw loads of tape and toilet rolls onto the teams as they walked out - and that was my one abiding memory apart from Archie Gemmill's goal for Scotland against Holland. England hadn't qualified so I was supporting Scotland - I support all the Home Nations at World Cups and that was a great goal, even though Scotland didn't get through.

MERSE: For me it was 1978 as well. I remember watching the final of 1974, but 1978 was the one for me when Argentina won it. My main memory is the way Mario Kempes used to run off when he scored. I was a big football fan anyway, but that tournament showed me that the World Cup is the ultimate.

LE TISS: The other thing I remember about that tournament was Argentina needing to win by four goals against Peru to get through to the final and they ended up winning 6-0. Even as a young lad I was a bit suspicious about that...

We want you to share your World Cup memories with the gang using the feedback form below... and check back as the panel reveal more World Cup memories on

Comments (42)

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John Greenfield (Leeds United fan) says...

My first world cup was the greatest in english history 1966 i watched every England game aswell as Brazil, Portugal. Watching the likes of Pele,Eusebio,Beckenbauer as an 11 year old was pure magic.One of my fondest memories was when England played Portugal in the semi final and my mum ,god bless her,kept saying" Don't let Essebo get it" meaning Eusebio.And who can forget the thrilling final My heart sank when West Germany equalised but we came good in the end.Hope we can repeat it

Posted 14:46 11th June 2010

Glen Beattie (Arsenal fan) says...

My first memory of the World Cup was '78 but my first clear memory of the World Cup was '82. The greatest Brazil team never to win it (Careca got injured just before the tournament started) who with a decent goalscorer should have gone on to win it with players like Socrates, Eder, Junior Falcoa and Zico was a fantastic memory. It was when the dissapointment first started with England that sticks out most. Once again starting brilliant against a top French team then just coming up short a usual. I remember a good Polish team and of course the great Paulo Rossi.

Posted 10:13 11th June 2010

Denzil Cheesley (Bristol City fan) says...

MEXICO '86!!! I was ten at the time. I had only just taken to the game then suddenly, down in Mexico there was a carnival of colour, drama & flambouyance. Lineker's goals, Brazil/France quarter-final, Igor Belanov, Denmark 6-1 Uruguay. Maradona. Broke our hearts a little but handball or not, he had the entire tournament in the palm of his hand.

Posted 14:26 10th June 2010

Peter Peter (Everton fan) says...

My first World Cup it was 1982 in Spain, witch I remember very well (Poland finished 3th after lose with Italy in semifinal 0-2). Not quite well I remember 1978 (I was 8 years old) be cos transmission was very late. 1982: Zico, Socrates, Platini, Rossi, Maradona, Boniek and Hungary-Salvador 10-1 ;)

Posted 01:27 10th June 2010

David Scholefield (Ipswich Town fan) says...

Surely the best moment in 1990. Cameroon v Argentina. Massings tackle, or non tackle, on Argentina's Canniggia. The guy got applauded by the crowd all the way off the pitch after his red card. Cameroon won and Massing became a legend!!!

Posted 22:31 9th June 2010

Gareth England (Chelsea fan) says...

first world cup 1982 brilliant the second best after 1990 only coz of england getting to semi finals cried me eyes out from london originally so makes me more patriotic come on the lads this time its ours

Posted 22:20 9th June 2010

Andrew Vaughan (Tottenham Hotspur fan) says...

Italia '90 was my first World Cup. So many great memories from that tournament. Roger Milla and his corner flag dance, Toto Schilllaci the Italian super-sub, Pavarottis theme tune that still brings back the memories, Paul Parker's bizarre own goal, David Platts late wonder goal against Belgium and Gazzas tears to name but a few. The tournaments since then have never really hit the same heights - he's hoping for that to change in 2010!!!!

Posted 16:49 9th June 2010

Bill Martin (Bolton Wanderers fan) says...

1970! black and white ball,colour tv,mexico heat and teams and names that live forever. Banks' save,englandvbrazil,pele,the great italianvgermany semi,that final football 40 years ago.Tackles with no bookings! flowing football in bright colours,referees in black. the tv opened up the greatest game and tourament ever,all in my own front room.....thank you

Posted 13:28 9th June 2010

Idris U (Manchester United fan) says...

France 98 my earliest memory of the world cup, what a special event that was... I always get a sense of jealousy before and during a world cup, want to be apart of it instead I have to watch it of TV with the rest... Having said that, it's special very special, World Cup creates this buzz all round the World for everyone which is unique in itself.... Come on Boys, just imagine the party this nation will have!!!!

Posted 13:13 9th June 2010

Rhys Heal (Leicester City fan) says...

The 1998 World cup in France! Only 7 at the time, but the England vs Argentina game, made me wanna play football as i grew older. I remember running upstairs after the penalty shootout crying like someone had stolen a thousand pounds worth of sweets from me! haha

Posted 11:55 9th June 2010

Danny Duric (Manchester United fan) says...

Mine was probably 98 as well, when zidane and crew were crowned kings of the world. to be honest i didn't mind them winning just because it was such a shock with everyone expecting brazil to lift it again. England going out was bad, but i supported yugoslavia, since i lived there at the time and to lose to the dutch in the semi's after having a good game and so many chances was truly heartbreaking.

Posted 11:50 9th June 2010

Jody Burkin (Crystal Palace fan) says...

My First world cup was U.S.A 94, the biggest memory i have of that was being a little 8 year old boy with an Ireland flag draped over me and the my house packed with loadsa irish screaming at the tele, Agaisnt Italy, And when Ray Houghton (Legend) Lobbed the keeper from 25 yards with a screamer and we beat them 1-0 was a moment to savour, also we were the only team to beat Italy that year in 90 mins. And the flay was out the window for months................

Posted 11:43 9th June 2010

Tom Green (Liverpool fan) says...

1974 , as England were not there I wanted Scotland to do well , but I remember following Poland (maybe because they knocked us out ) and in particular a forward called Lato .The first competition I drooled at was 1982 and the best international side I have ever seen "Socrates Brazil side" .

Posted 11:25 9th June 2010

Adam Whiteley (Newcastle United fan) says...

italia 90 was my first knowing experience of a world cup and me wanting england to do well i was only 6, shame i had to wait 8 years for the next one haha! but it is a unique feeling about it, its very special.

Posted 11:06 9th June 2010

Michael Potts (Manchester United fan) says...

my first world cup was 66 it has good and bad memories for me as my dad passed away during it. but Alan Ball on the wing was amazing, Geoff Hurst's hatrick a record I don't think will be broken. also watching OUR Big Jack fall to his knees at the final whistle

Posted 21:23 6th June 2010

Carlo Binanti (Liverpool fan) says...

it was the 1994 world cup in USA and i was a wee 7 year old lad at the time. I was actually in italy on holiday and the big games were being shown in the town square on big screen not far from where we were staying. I'll never forget watching the final game between brazil and italy and wittness baggio boot his penalty over the bar. people were screaming, crying, acting hysterical at times. . . i though was quite happy with my vanilla icecream cone, ahh to be young without a care in the world

Posted 05:53 5th June 2010

Charlie Melvin (Notts County fan) says...

As a person from Africa I expect this to be a world cup to remember. Rooney is going to be the best player in the early phase of the tournament unfortunately he wont go any further as England will be eliminated at the quarter finals. The obscession of winning the cup will evaporate.

Posted 22:32 2nd June 2010

Dean Killan (Bolton Wanderers fan) says...

I remember France '98, I was 10 years old. Ronaldo was my hero and I watched every game he was in. I cried when we went out to Argentina too haha. England 2010 come on boys!

Posted 22:14 2nd June 2010

Fred Morris (Manchester United fan) says...

great story trevor fairly, thats what the world cup is about!! mine, (being irish,) would have to be packy bonner and david o'leary in italia 90'! terrible game but winning on penalties was a really great moment and gave the country a huge lift at a bad time..... should have beat the italians tho!!!

Posted 14:19 2nd June 2010

Darren Coulter (Southampton fan) says...

Espania '82 and big Gerry's goal against Spain.I was only ten and missed the first half hour of the game as my mum was watching fame!!!!!!!!!What a night for wee Billy's team.

Posted 19:24 1st June 2010

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