A part of

Issue # 13 Thursday, Jan. 29, 1998

About the Author:

Charles Loyd McIntosh

In 1997 Charles Loyd McIntosh was a news writer for the Talledega Daily Home (www.dailyhome.com). He was a former reporter for The Western Star in Bessemer (a small city west of Birmingham), Alabama, and a former Sports Editor for the Clanton Advertiser. At the time he was writing for the Sideroad, Loyd was pursuing a Masters in English degree at the University of Montevallo, Alabama. An avid sports fan, soccer is Loyd's sport of choice, one he has been known to coach in the recent past.


World Cup Memories

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 oxygen.

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 decision.

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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Text copyright Charles Loyd MacIntosh, 1997 - '98. Part of the original Sideroad ezine.
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