I have one of those little plastic figuines of the World Cup 1994 mascots on top of my
computer that I received as a gift from my mother right before the US World Cup
began that summer. I was looking at it thinking about how I can't wait until the next
World Cup when it dawned on me that the next World Cup begins this summer.
France has the World championship of soccer this year (football to the rest of the world), so I assume the mascot will be Jerry Lewis ( just kidding! Honest! Put down that cheese knife!) I do wonder how well France will host the
tournament this summer.
There was a lot of speculation and worry about the US hosting the world's game back
in 1994, but, from what I read and heard, it was a great success. More goals were
scored in 1994 than the previous Cup in Italy in 1990, which led to an exciting and
highly watched tournament. Everything was great, except the final.
Brazil and Italy
were tied after regulation and overtime, sending the match into penalty kicks. Those
of us who saw it witnessed perhaps the greatest choke in World Cup history as Roberto
Boggio skied his penalty kick a good 10 meters above the crossbar. The thing was so high it needed
Of course, the US tournament had some early dramatic moments as well. The US
upset Columbia, 2-1, after Colombian defender Andres Escobar put one in on his own
goal to give the US the lead. The US eventually won that game and Colombia was
knocked out of the tournament after the first round.
About a week later, Andres
Escobar was killed following an arguement with a rabid soccer fan outside a bar in
Bogota. It didn't really need to be said, but it put a damper on perhaps the most
important US victory in soccer history. The US went on to lose to the eventual
champions, Brazil 1-0, in the second round.
Also a soccer soap opera was Diego Maradonna. In perhaps his best soccer shape
since Mexico 1986, the last year Argentina won the World Cup, Maradonna was
kicked out the tournament after he tested positive for several drugs. FIFA dismissed
Maradonna even though every drug he tested positive for could be found in
non-prescription, over-the-counter medication. I feel it was a matter of Maradonna's
image, troubled with drugs and even prostitution. It looked like the regulating
committee simply wanted him out of the tournament. Maradonna didn't appeal the
Despite the drama surrounding the World Cup 1994, it really was some of the most
entertaining soccer I've ever watched. There were some rule changes over the past
four years to ensure that, but I think it went beyond the scoreboard.
We'll see very
soon if France 1998 is just as much fun.
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