With the World Cup now well and truly underway, we got a group of artists to tell us their favourite World Cup memories.
The highs and the lows, the memories made with friends, the celebrations with randomers at the pub as a pint comes thrashing over your head. Whether it was Beckham's freekick against Greece that sent England to the World Cup in Japan in 2002 or Luka Modrić’s pearler against Argentina in 2018 which would see him go on to win the Golden Boot, we all have memories that we hold dear to us. We asked some talented folk what their favourite memories are and this is what we got.
If I remember correctly we’d (Jimi and Lou) just come home from primary school after hyping ourselves up all day to switch on England v. Sweden in the 2006 World Cup - Joe Cole scored an absolute screamer, chest and bang, no-nonsense. It was one of those goals that you use as your reference every time you step onto the pitch for years after. Seemed like he was miles away from the goal at the time. Wore that England shirt everywhere after even though we drew. Typical mate.
World Cup 2018 has to be my favourite so far. As a child, the 2002 quarter-final was a huge moment because I remember being in Primary school and the whole school came out of lesson to watch the game, but there was something different about 2018. I was at an age where I could enjoy it in a pub environment around friends and that's what I really enjoy about those games. The energy in the room was insane and we really felt as though we had a chance at the cup.
Being Welsh, it is really difficult to get excited for the World Cup. We usually are more interested in the anticipation of the build-up and what could be. I think it's probably a case of 'small nations' syndrome but I tend to align really strongly with the underdogs in these sorts of things, probably for that reason. A couple of moments stand out, but I think my favourite moment I can remember is Tshabalala's goal at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. I am pretty sure it was the first goal of the tournament (If it wasn't then that's embarrassing for me). I was about 14/15 years old so was probably at the peak of being football-mad. South Africa didn't really boast a team full of big-name players, yet there are all these Vuvuzelas going off in the crowd, the atmosphere seemed electric and Tshabalala, this small, fast player has just topped off an incredible team goal, ran to the corner flag and started dancing with all his team-mates - perfect choreography. I think at that moment, that was the best celebration I had ever seen. It was ahead of its time. His name is forever etched into my mind, I can still hear the commentators!
On the 24th of May 2010, 88,638 people went to see England play Mexico in a World Cup friendly match at Wembley stadium. One of those people was 12-year-old me. With an official England shirt fresh from Sports Direct on my back and a dream (of one day being a WAG like Cheryl) in my heart - I took the steps into my beloved North West London’s Wembley stadium. I had an inflatable England ‘foam-finger’ on my left hand whilst the right gripped the hand of my 5-year-old little brother, our parents a couple of steps behind us. This was my brother's first time watching a match and I was excited to introduce him to our ritual. The cheeseburger from the stall outside that always has the perfectly cooked onions, the rumble of sound you hear before stepping into the stadium that hits you like a tsunami, the shared despair and joy you feel with the hundreds of strangers that surround you, the chanting, the swearing, the Mexican waves, the impeccable lyricism of “I’m England till I die, I’m England till I die, I know I am, I’m sure I am, I’m England till I die,” (Bob Dylan could never…) the way your favourite footballers become superheroes for 90 minutes as they run faster than you can blink and watch their faces flash on the giant screens like Gladiators. I was excited to bring my brother into this world. I was excited for him to fall in love with football like I did when our Dad took me to my first game at Arsenal's old Highbury stadium when I was his age. That night my brother did it all and of course, he fell in love with the beautiful game. 13 years later, there are not many things my brother and I have in common but our shared love for football is one that unites us still. Maybe if we hadn’t won 3-1 that night my brother would’ve become a tennis or a golf man. But thanks to Peter Crouch’s glorious lanky body, a brother and a sister haven’t fought over the remote since 2010. Thanks, Crouchy!
My favourite World Cup moment…2014. Arguably the most exciting World Cup to date (Netherlands vs. Spain to be specific). Me and my friends were neutral fans at the time but decided to choose our favourites for this game since we were watching it together. My boys thought Spain would easily beat the Netherlands so I naturally chose the Netherlands as the underdogs. Lo and behold, the insanity that followed. Spain started well, Xabi Alonso scored a penalty to start it off but someone must’ve passed the pad because then the Netherlands went crazy! A moment that stood out for me and everyone watching was Robin Van Persie’s goal. The Flying Dutchman! That diving header made us all go crazy, I couldn’t believe it. 43rd minute and I just saw one of the greatest goals in World Cup history. The energy in the room was electric even though we chose separate sides we all went wild seeing that goal go in. It was a moment of pure joy for me. I was alot younger, and probably less stressed about life and I was able to witness greatness. Scenes.