In The World Cup’s Finest we ask various individuals to delve into their own personal history of football’s quadrennial showpiece extravaganza, selecting a number of favourites as well as revealing what is their very first World Cup memory.
Paul Lowery, Head of Sports Trading at Sky Betting and Gaming, is the latest to share his own personal World Cup highlights and memories, featuring THE Ronaldo, an all too rare Scotland appearance and Germany brutally breaking Brazilian hearts, at the Estádio Mineirão in Belo Horizonte four years ago.
First World Cup memory
17 July 1994 (Brazil v Italy)/10 June 1998 (Brazil v Scotland). I vaguely remember sneaking down the stairs late at night as a kid to catch the end of USA 94. The only thing I can remember is Baggio missing the crucial penalty. Running home from the school bus to catch the Brazil v Scotland game of France 98 is a much more vivid memory for me though!
Favourite World Cup:
James Rodriguez (Colombia v Uruguay, 2014). I was rooting for Colombia at the last World Cup, and James Rodriguez bringing the ball down on his chest and thumping in the goal of the tournament in Brazil still brings a big smile to my face. I think my pocket has done a lot of the talking at the more recent World Cups, and my enjoyable moments seem to coincide with winning bets!
Ronaldo (of Brazilian number 9 fame). He was a big hero for me as a kid. I was at the impressionable age where I wanted to mimic his shirt, his boots but thankfully not his awful haircut! The furore that surrounded him at France 98 in particular makes him hard to beat for me, although I always loved watching Pavel Nedved as well.
South Korea, 2002. Although they got some very questionable refereeing calls to help them out along the way, I will always have a soft spot for South Korea in 2002. The way their performance gripped a nation was something truly incredible to see, and the scenes in the city of Seoul when they knocked Italy out were stunning.
Brazil v Germany, 2014. I’m sure I’ve missed an older classic from France or Korea but I was stunned like many by Germany’s absolute demolition of Brazil on home soil. I’ve never watched a match and been so truly stunned by such a mismatch between sides that were expected to be going at each other hammer and tongs for 90 minutes.
Nigeria, 2018. It’s only recently had its first official run out but I’m hoping you let me have Nigeria’s effort from this year’s tournament. It’s achieved cult status already and I’m positive it’s the most fashionable effort at this year’s tournament. If I’m not allowed that then in recent years I’ve always thought the Croatian red and white kit is a great sign that the world cup is off and running.
The World Cup’s Finest is to be a regular feature during the Russia World Cup, profiling a different individual each week day.