Officially, my first World Cup was that of ’74 but I don’t remember a thing. I don’t think I was remotely interested in football at that age.
Next up: Argentina ’78. I have a couple of clear memories. One is of me chanting a popular stadium song at the time about Holland. It went “Holanda, la copa se mira y no se toca” Something along the lines of Holland, the trophy beyond your reach. I don’t think my younger sisters joined in my frantic revelries. They were 4 and 2.
The night Argentina won the final, my dad piled all three of us in his car and we went round honking the horn and singing along with other hundreds of people partying in the streets. Mum stayed at home because she was heavily pregnant with my brother.
I have vague recollections of watching Argentina lose during the 1982 World Cup. It was not a good time for the country as we were at war and the defeat reflected that. It might have been an early exit but I’m not sure.
I have two distinct memories of Mexico ’86 etched in my mind. One is that of Maradona’s masterful goal against England. I mean the truly incredible Goal of the Century, not the hand of god nonsense. We were gathered round the TV at my grandparents’. With every player Maradona passed, with every yard he gained, my grandfather gradually opened his arms, his mouth and stood up. I didn’t know where to look: TV or grandfather. And then we all cried GOOOOOOAAAAALLL at the top of our voices.
I watched the final against Germany at the club. It was amazing to be surrounded by so many people rooting for our team, chanting, jumping up and down, hugging each other, crying. The atmosphere was electric. It was unforgettable.
Italy ’90: my friends and I got together at somebody’s home to watch a match after school. It must have an important one because I remember us in tears. I hope they were tears of joy!
The only memory I have of the 1994 World Cup is that of Diego Maradona being escorted from the pitch and then failing his drug test. Oh dear.
I was giving in-company language training at the time of the 1998 World Cup. I remember that one of my students invited me to watch a match, probably against Croatia, with the managers. Watching a football match in a boardroom with the bigwigs was surreal.
No memories whatsoever of the 2002 World Cup. Did it even happen?
2006 was my first World Cup as an expat in Dallas. I watched the matched by myself, wearing a blue and white hat and holding an Argentinean flag. We lost to Germany. A German acquaintance was less than gracious with me in victory. Tut tut.
We were staying in a hotel in Canada when the 2010 World Cup started, as Sean was working for Bell Canada. I watched some matches at the hotel’s lobby. At first timidly, the staff started to comment on the matches. Then we had animated conversations. The support of receptionists and bellhops helped me overcome the crushing defeat against Germany.