What Are Your Earliest Memories Of Music?

I can’t remember what were the first songs I heard as a small kid. I do remember liking ABBA and Boney M – the former in particular. My older sister used to play their songs for me a lot and I think I loved them a lot. Other than that it as usually kid songs, usually with the artists not really well known or at times eve credited.

I remember this one cassette of all kid songs that I absolutely loved and I would play it over and over again. I can’t remember the titles or the songs now but I do remember the feeling of playing it in the afternoon or evenings (before my cartoons or tv shows came on) and being so absorbed in the songs. I would ofcourse sing along.

Since then as I started listening to more and more of what my sister bought. Wham!, Culture Club, Stevie Wonder and Madonna was what she listened to and I sat along with her. At the of of 8 I got into Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5 music and I developed my own taste since then.

Prompt from Over 1,000 Writing Prompts for Students at The New York Times Learning Network

How My Love For Pizza Began!

Before the of 14 I knew about pizza but I had no little access to it. When we lived in Kuwait the only fast food my family usually had was KFC chicken and we used to get Hungry Bunny burgers and once in a while I think we did go to McDonalds a few times. I vaguely remember getting some pizza, maybe Pizza Hut or Dominos but it wasn’t something that my family really went for.

But until the age of 14 I didn’t consider pizza as my favourite food. What changed? Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! The 1990 movie on the fab 4 in which we see that the turtles have their obsession with pizza. And in the movie you see them ordering Dominos and I was tempted to try more pizza but we had a dearth of them. The only cafes & restaurants that offered pizzas did a piss poor job of making them. And it was mostly bland. Until the early 2000s when a couple of places popped up that offered better versions. Finally Dominos arrived in the city.

Pizza Hut soon followed and that began a revolution of sorts and we started getting a lot more pizza places. I can get so many different kinds of pizza now and I love it. But I always think back to those days back in 1990 and my love for this awesome, or should I say radical, movie that began my love for pizza. Cowabunga dude!

Movies I Wasn’t Supposed To Watch As A Kid But Did

What’s a movie you weren’t supposed to watch as a kid but you saw it anyway?

I was 5 years old hen I watched the original Evil Dead, and a few days later, Basket Case. I was scared shitless by them both and was hiding behind the sofa while my parents and my older sister watched it. Scared me for days. My parents told me to go and sit in my room but I defied them as I wanted to see the movies. Evil Dead has since become one of my favourite horror movies of all time and a beloved icon of my childhood. Basket Case is a stupid movie in comparison but remains a big part of nostalgic memories.

And then there is one which I am teased about even to this day, 36 years later. You see I was a big fan of this cartoon series called Thundercats. I watched it over and over again and was obsessed with it. When we came back to India in the summer of 1987, I was saddened to know that they show was not being shown on Indian television. However we did have a couple of video lending libraries (think lower quality versions of Blockbuster) and my family would go every weekend and get some movies to watch for Saturday and Sunday.

And one holiday I picked up a movie called Cat People thinking that it would be just like Thundercats – but man was I wrong. A few of my cousins and I sat in the living room and I put the movie on and there were some naked women scenes and sex scenes and the adults got wild and made us switch it off. I had no idea what the heck was happening, I was not yet 12 and had no clue about sex. I didn’t understand what the big deal was but I couldn’t watch it. And I still haven’t watched the full movie to this day! Maybe I should change that someday.

Write About Your First Memory Of Going To The Doctor.

When I was a kid growing up back in Kuwait my parents took me to this pediatrician who was really popular in the city we lived in. His name was Dr. Kamaar and he was originally from Egypt. A lot of kids’ parents took their sons & daughters to see him because he was not just a good doctor but he was very good with kids.

I know it is quite common in kid’s doctor’s offices in the Western world to have lollipops in their drawers and after they consult with a patient, they then ask them to pick a lollipop. It’s not common in India and I do not know how common it was the Kuwait or in other countries but it was a fact in this doctor’s practise. Every kid that I knew who went to him would get excited at the end of the consultation because they knew what was coming.

So even if I was unwell and even if the medicine was bitter, I would have a smile on my face as I was going home because, I would have a nice red lollipop (I think those were the only ones he had) in my hand as my dad took me home. It felt special and it felt nice. From family friends, I came to know that he passed away quite a few years ago. He was middle ages when I used to go and see him. So thanks Doctor Kamaar on behalf of all the kids.

Prompt from Writing & Journaling Prompts Lists at Journal Buddies

Stuck In The 90s

What do you think it would be like to live in the past? What year would you choose?

I have lived in the past since I am 46 and was born in 1976. But I think the 1990s were the bomb and a great time to live through as a kid. When 1990 came around I was 13 and 7 months away from turning 14. I remember so much from that decade from the age of 13 to 23. And it was a fun decade, with so many great things that happened and also some really bad times as well. But overall I think it was a great period to live through and experience. Much like the awesomeness of the 60s, the 70s & the 80s before them.

The music we had was so great. Pop, rock, metal, grunge bands all delivered great albums throughout the decade. Many legendary bands came out in the 90s like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Alice In Chains. So much great music. 90, 91, 92 & 93 are according to me some of the best years for rock music in general just because of the sheer amount of great songs and excellent albums to be released in those 4 years. Metallica, Van Halen, Bon Jovi, Guns n Roses etc were all on top form. Alice Cooper, Ozzy Osbourne, Rush, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and others had some awesome music too.

The beginning of the 90s were when I got introduced to cable tv with the rest of India and I loved it. Spent many hours on a weekly basis watching lots of tv shows, music videos and movies. Sports events too. Oh and 3 World Cups as well! I prefer life in the 90s if only we had high speed broadband during those years. Spend a lot of time with my friends and cousins. Brought home a puppy who would steal my heart and then break it 11 years later when she passed away. Fell in love and experienced sex for the first time in my life. It was all a fantastic time with some heartbreaks along the way.

Prompt from Lalilo February ’22 Writing Prompt Calendar at Lalilo

1991 Music Nostalgia : For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge By Van Halen

1991 – the year we started to get MTV in India with the introduction of cable tv which until then was something we only heard off & seen in foreign movies & tv shows. MTV used to play Poundcake & Runaround continously and I was hooked. I had listened to some songs of VH till then and knew about them – Jump & Panama were my favs but this album made me into a bonfide fan and it was also the first VH album I bought. Ofcourse I would get their entire catalog till that time soon but I am a Van Hagar guy.

With songs like the aforementioned Runaround & Poundcake leading the pack, we also get Spanked, Top Of The World, the lovely 316, The Dream Is Over and the brilliant Right Now they had the hits comings one after the other. During the long world tour they recorded a live album and concert film at two 1992 F.U.C.K. tour shows in Fresno, California called Live: Right Here, Right Now.

Great album for a 15 year old to get into.

My Pick For The Ultimate Jeff Beck Album

One of my favourite albums of all time is 1989’s Jeff Beck’s Guitar Shop. My first time listening to Jeff Beck was on a documentary from the late 80s about rock music and there was a clip of him playing the solo to “Just Ambitious“. That was 1987 or 88 I think. Then on a VHS tape of music videos I watched the video for People Get Ready. After that I think it was in the early 90s when, after listening to a lot of Joe Satriani, Steve Morse and Steve Vai, I wanted to get more and Beck was next on the list for more guitar instrumental music.

I bought the 1989 album at a time when I didn’t know what a whammy bar was I was wondering, how the heck did he get these amazing sounds out of the guitar. I listened to this album on cassette many many times and later on in the late 90s when cds were cheaper, I got it on cd. I can remember many weekend morning of me sitting in my room, glass of juice in my hand, with a magazine or novel lying open and teenage me listening to Jeff over and over again. Seriously all I could think about yesterday when I read about his passing, is sitting in the big bedroom, pulling out the cassette and then cd on certain days and playing it (its’ only about 40 mins long) and reading a book.

Great songs like Savoy, the title track, Sling Shot, Behind The Veil, Big Block and the melancholic Where Were You. No wonder he won the Grammy, one of 6 that he has won. But this is my favourite album of his and I play it all the time.

Goodbye Jeff. Thank you for all the great music.

I Wish I Could Remember The Snow

Have you ever seen snow? How do you feel about it?

I have but I don’t remember it at all. I was 2 & 1/2 or maybe 3 when my parents took me and my sister who was 9 at the time all the way to Newcastle, England. At that time my mom’s second youngest sister and her family lived in Newcastle before moving to Glasgow in Scotland. We also had my mom’s elder brother and his family living in Cardiff, Wales. So one winter vacation my family took a couple of weeks off and decided to go and visit our family in the UK.

I am not sure how much time we actually spent over there; I’d have to go and ask my parents since I was too young to remember anything. However my aunt filled me in a bit especially about our time in Newcastle which was the first and only time that I, or my parents & sister, have ever experienced snow. It was snowing at the time that we went there. My aunt says that little tyke that I was was overly excited at the sight of the falling snow and that I begged to go out in the open.

She said that it wasn’t very cold at the time so she told my mom that it would be ok for me to spend some time out there. So I did, with my sister and cousins and apparently had a blast. And apprently I even tried to get a spoon and eat some of that snow that had piled up before me. Classic kids stuff. Now if only I could remember the feeling.

Prompt from 60 Blog Post Ideas for The Month of December at The OC Academy

A Look Back At The 2014 World Cup In Brazil

With the 2014 World Cup returning to Brazil, the country had much to prove since it had suffered two consecutive quarterfinal exits in the preceding competitions. The 2014 World Cup did not disappoint. During the tournament, players found the back of the net a whopping 171 times, matching the 1998 record in France. Many would argue that the 2014 World Cup was the best one since the 1982 iteration. The tournament was chock-full of controversy, drama, brilliance, and heartbreak. The first week of the 2014 World Cup brought about the biggest upset. Spain’s unexpected demolition was the talk of football nerds for years to come. Spain entered the competition after bagging the Euro in 2008 and 2012, with the 2010 World Cup between them. A double defeat by the Netherlands and Chile, took Spain out in the first round.

Fans were left with their jaws on the floor when Suarez bit Chiellini in their final group stage match. Uruguay won 1-0, but Suarez’s (not so) unexpected bite overshadowed the game’s outcome. Costa Rica stunned everyone when they beat Uruguay 3-1 in their opening match. Brazil’s chance to wipe out the Maracanazo memories from 1950, where they lost in the final, came in the 2014 World Cup. They had spent years building themselves for the 2014 tournament. Unbelievably, they were routed by Germany in a 7-1 defeat. Germany scored four of the goals within six minutes. The tale of national redemption for Brazil turned into one of humiliation in the 2014 World Cup. The drama surrounding Germany’s win over Brazil almost overshadowed Miloslav Klose’s fete of beating Ronaldo’s 15 World Cup goals.

More than one billion fans tuned in to watch the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil final. In addition, the competition reached a global in-home television audience of 3.2 billion people, according to final figures from FIFA and Kantar Media. An estimated 280 million people worldwide watched matches online or on a mobile device, which shows that more and more fans are embracing new technology for sports content. The 2014 FIFA World Cup broke several TV audience records in key international markets, including the United States and Germany. Six hundred ninety-five million people watched the final between Argentina and Germany, up 12 percent from the 2010 final. Over 1.013 billion people watched the final, including those who watched for more than a minute at home and away from home.


2010 saw the World Cup being held in an African country for the first time and we also had a first-time winner. In 19 editions of the tournament, only eight teams have won the soccer tournament: Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Italy, Germany, England, France, and Spain. The 19th FIFA World Cup would be held in Africa, which meant only African countries could place a bid. Five countries were interested: Egypt, Libia, Tunisia, Morocco, and South Africa. South Africa lost the voting process for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, receiving 14 votes for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

A controversial match was Uruguay against Ghana. Ghana’s national team had the opportunity to be the first African country to reach the semi finals. With the game drawn at 1-1 it seemed Ghana was scoring the winning goal in the nail-biting last minutes of extra time. But the ball didn’t enter the net. Instead, Uruguayan forward Luis Suárez deliberately stopped the ball with his hands. He immediately received the red card, and Ghana was awarded a penalty. The last moment of extra time was a penalty. Asamoah Gyan would have the chance to bring Africa to the Semi-Finals. Unfortunately, the pressure was too much for him, and he missed it. Luis Suárez watching from the sideline, openly celebrated. Uruguay won on penalties.

Germany and Argentina met in the quarterfinals. Everyone expected this match to be challenging for both sides. But it appeared Argentina somehow couldn’t overcome Germany’s playstyle. Thomas Muller scored the first goal three minutes after kick-off. Then, in the 2nd half, Miroslav Klose and Arne Friedrich scored three goals in total in 21 minutes. Argentina was knocked out in the quarter-finals, as was the case 4 years earlier. After the Netherlands defeated Brazil in the Quarter-Final, they became more confident about reaching a FIFA World Cup Final. Their next opponent was Uruguay. Many people wanted the Netherlands to win due to how Uruguay won the Quarter-Final against Ghana. It was an exciting match with five goals scored in total. The first goal was a surprising one by Dutch midfielder Giovanni van Bronckhorst.

The 2nd half saw its first goal in the 70th minute by Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder. Three minutes later, Arjen Robben scored again for the Netherlands. The Netherlands knew they would advance with a score of 1-3. In injury time, however, Uruguayan right back Maximiliano Pereira woke both teams up by scoring the second goal for Uruguay. Netherlands reached a FIFA World Cup Final for the first time since 1978. Wesley Sneijder became the 2010 World Cup top scorer with five goals, Diego Forlan, David Villa, and Thomas Muller. Spain survived the knockout stage by defeating Portugal and Paraguay with 1-0 scorelines. In their semifinal against Germany, this continued as Germany couldn’t score and a Carlos Puyol goal sent his side to the finals.

Spain finally made it to the FIFA World Cup Final for the first time in World Cup History. Their opponent was the Netherlands which never won a FIFA World Cup either. The last time a Final consisted of two countries who never won a World Cup was in Argentina in 1978. With an attendance of 84,000 the match was pretty rough, with many fouls made from both sides. The Netherlands was playing aggressively, resulting in a total of 9 yellow cards. Spain received five yellow cards. Everyone expected that the Final would end with a penalty shootout until the match reached the 116th minute. Andres Iniesta scored the most crucial goal in the history of Spanish football. The Netherlands became the only national team to have lost 3 FIFA World Cup Finals without having won once.

2010 FIFA World Cup Facts

Dates: 11 June – 11 July 2010
Final: Netherlands – Spain 0-1
3rd place: Uruguay – Germany 2-3
Teams: 32
Stadiums: 10
Host cities: 9
Matches played: 64
Goals: 145
Attendance: 3,178,852
Top scorers: Thomas Muller (Germany), Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands), David Villa (Spain), Diego Forlan (Uruguay) (5 goals)


Ah the 2006 World Cup. This tournament would stand out and be remembered for two things – the first being that Italy won the World Cup for the 4th time and for the Zindane incident. Hero of the French 1998 World Cup title, Zinedine Zidane, also stood out in the 2006 World Cup in Germany. The playmaker managed to steer France into yet another FIFA World Cup final. But instead of going into the hall of fame, Zidane ended up losing his head: Marco Materazzi showered him with verbal insults, and in retaliation, he headbutted him and was sent off in his last ever match. In the end, Italy won the 2006 FIFA World Cup on penalties and their fourth title.

Five countries initially showed interest in hosting the 18th FIFA World Cup. Germany, South Africa, England, Morocco, and Brazil were the countries. In the end, only four countries placed their bid since Brazil withdrew. As a result, three voting rounds were needed before the winner was announced, which was a first. Germany (12 votes) received one vote more than South Africa (11 votes). For the first time in 72 years, the defending champion of the previous FIFA World Cup had to qualify for a World Cup. This meant Brazil, the 2002 FIFA World Cup champion, did not qualify automatically.

Trinidad and Tobago played their first World Cup. They managed to draw against Sweden, which alone deserved a little celebration but lost 0-2 to England. The two countries I support were in the same group. As expected, Netherlands and Argentina advanced. Both countries had equal points and drew 0-0 in their match, so the goal difference rule determined who would top the group which would be Argentina. Only after 84 minutes of playtime did Tim Cahill score the first goal ever for Australia in a FIFA World Cup in a 3-1 win against Japan. The most infamous match until the final was the round of 16 between Portugal against the Netherlands. A record amount of cards were handed out. Four red cards and 16 yellow cards! Players screamed, pushed each other, and performed aggressive fouls.

Germany beat out Argentina on penalties in the quarterfinals. Argentina defender Leandro Cufré received the red card due to violent conduct towards German player Per Mertesacker. He became the first and only player so far in World Cup history to have received a red card after a match was already over. Portugal beat England on penalties in a match in which Rooney stamped on Portuguese defender Ricardo Carvalho, Ronaldo ran to the referee and appeared to call for Rooney to be sent off. The referee gave in, and Rooney received a red card for his behavior. Thierry Henry who scored a goal coming from a free kick as France beat Brazil 1-0.

In the semis Italy beat hosts Germany 2-0 : two goals were scored by Italy in three minutes! France beat Portugal by a solitary penalty scored by Zidane. For the second time for France to reach the Final, and for Italy, it was already the 6th time. So the Final would be the 4th Final, consisting only of European countries. Zidane took a successful penalty in the 7th minute of the match. In that same half, Marco Materazzi equalized pretty fast in the 19th minute. Materazzi. Materazzi pulled Zidane’s jersey before the Frenchman walked away from him. Zidane suddenly turned around since the Italian midfielder started to provoke him. Zidane responded with a headbutt in Materazzi’s chest. As a result, Materazzi was knocked to the ground, and the referee had to give Zidane the red card.

Italy would go on to win on penalties. Zidane ended up being awarded the Golden Ball despite the headbutt. The Golden Ball poll was conducted halftime during the Final before the headbutt incident occurred. Germany would still finish third, beating Portgual, and would end the 2006 FIFA World Cup tournament with the best attack, 14 goals. Miroslav Klose scored five times and finished the competition as the top scorer.

World Cup 2006 Facts

Date: June 9 – July 9, 2006
2006 World Cup Winner: Italy – France 5-3 (penalties)
3rd place: Germany – Portugal 3-1
Teams: 32
Stadiums: 12
Host cities: 12
Matches played: 64
Goals: 147
Attendance: 3,359,439
Top scorer: Miroslav Klose (Germany) (5 goals)

2002 World Cup Japan South Korean Facts

In 2002 I watched most of the afternoon games (shown in India in the afternoon) at my uncle’s house two doors away with my uncle and grandmother – who was under medication and supposed to sleep a little after lunch and her medicines but still wanted to spend time with her son & me. On May 31, 1996, FIFA decided the 17th FIFA World Cup would be hosted in continent Asia. Never in soccer history had Asia hosted this magnificent event. For the first time in FIFA World Cup history, two countries would host the 2002 World Cup together: South Korea and Japan. Another exciting aspect was that in 1996 when the announcement was made, Japan had never yet qualified for a FIFA World Cup Finals. They would, however, qualify for the 1998 FIFA World Cup.

China qualified for the first time. South Korea became the first country outside Europe, South America, North and Central America, and the Caribbean to qualify for the fifth successive finals tournament. France showed an excellent performance four years earlier to lift the FIFA World Cup trophy. But four years later, France finished last in Group A. Their first loss was against Senegal. Senegal drew the two other matches against Denmark and Uruguay. As a result, both Senegal and Denmark advanced to the Round of 16. Senegal would also beat Sweden and advancing to the Quarter-Final.

Another surprise was Portugal known for players such as Rui Costa, Luis Figo, Joao Pinto, and trainer Paulo Bento. It was highly expected that Portugal would win their group, but this didn’t happen. Their first surprising loss was against the USA. Germany started the tournament with an impressive victory: 8-0 against Saudi Arabia. Miroslav Klose scored a hat trick with his head! As with France, Argentina played one of their worst World Cup performance in 2002. Argentina only won the first match against Nigeria. In this match where the rivals England and Argentina played each other, it was England which was finally able to defeat Argentina. David Beckham scored the only goal, which was a penalty.

A highly controversial match was the Round of 16 match between South Korea against Italy with the former winning. This is because the mistakes that referee Byron Moreno made were so controversial. Italian Damiano Tommasi scored a Golden Goal, but this was controversially ruled offside. Another controversial decision by the referee was giving Francesco Totti his 2nd yellow card in extra time since he supposedly dived. Brazil would beat England to advance to the semis. The Koreans were finally stopped by Germany in the semis, while Brazil beat Turkey, who eventually won 3rd place by beating the co-hosts. After Brazil lost 1998 final, it once again had a chance to become the first country to win five World Cups.

After 12 years, Germany managed to reach the Final again. However, this was the first time Germany reached the Final as Germany instead of West Germany. A crucial player who would miss the Final was Michael Ballack. He received his first yellow card against Paraguay and second against South Korea. On the 30th of June 2002, the Final was held in the International Stadium Yokohama in Japan, with an attendance of 69,029. Brazil won again with Ronaldo scoring 2 goals.

2002 World Cup Facts

Date: 31 May – 30 July 2002
Final: Germany – Brazil 0-2
3rd place: South Korea – Turkey 2-3
Teams: 32
Stadiums: 20
Host cities: 20
Matches played: 64
Goals: 161
Attendance: 2,705,197
Top scorer: Ronaldo (Brazil) (8 goals)


Ah, The 1998 World Cup held in France. Probably one of the best world cups ever and I really liked it a lot. Lots of memories. I watched most of the matches and I was able to watch a few of them with some of my cousins. I was studying at NIIT at the time – the matches would end at 2:30 am and I would sleep till 5:30 am because I had to get up and shower and shave to go to classes which started at 7:30 am. But it was worth it. After our classes, a bunch of us friends would discuss the games and the goals.

The 1998 World Cup in France allowed more nations to participate in the tournament. Instead of 24 teams, 32 sides would qualify for the FIFA World Cup finals. Therefore, South Africa, Japan, and Jamaica managed to qualify for the first time in history.  For the 16th World Cup, three countries were interested in hosting the tournament. The European countries Switzerland and France and African country Morocco placed a bid. Switzerland had to withdraw due to the inability to meet FIFA’s requirements. As a result, only the remaining two countries would be included in the voting process. Morocco received seven votes and France 12 votes. France would be the 3rd World Cup country to host the famous sporting tournament twice after Mexico and Italy. The first time France hosted a World Cup was 60 years earlier, back in 1938.

Memorably Norway beat Brazil in the group stages 2-1. Roberto Baggio had his moment of redemption in which he scored off a penalty in the exciting match against Chile which ended in a 2-2 draw. In the Quarter-Final, Robert Baggio had to retake a penalty in a penalty shootout. Although he scored again, it was France who won the shootout. This world cup saw the rise of Nigeria on the world stage as in the match between Spain and Nigeria was fatal for Spain losing 2-3. Also Iran beat USA 2-1. One of the most memorable and entertaining matches was between Argentina and England. Classic moments occurred in this match. Each team scored its first goal with a penalty kick. The first was scored by Gabriel Batistuta for Argentina and the 2nd by Alan Shearer for England.

Sixteen minutes later, English striker Michael Owen scored a legendary goal, considered one of the most incredible goals. He was only 18 years old. rgentinian midfielder Javier Zanetti scored the equalizer just before halftime. David Beckham received the red card. While lying on the field, he made a kick attempt at Argentinian Diego Simeone, who purposely fell to the ground, and was sent off. Argentina won on penalties. But they then went out to the Dutch in another beautiful game 1-2 with goals from Patrick Kluivert and a magnificent goal from Denis Bergkamp.

Brazil would win on penalties against the Dutch while France edged out Croatia 2-1 with goals from Lilian Thuram. Brazil and France met for the first time in a Final. This was the first time France reached a World Cup Final; for Brazil, it was the 6th time. Brazil was considered as 1 of the favorites with star players Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Bebeto, Roberto Carlos, and Denilson, among others. With star players such as Zinedine Zidane, Lilian Thuram, Marcel Desailly, Laurent Blanc, and Youri Djorkaeff won all of their matches Zindane scored twice while Emmanuel Petit added the 3rd as France won at home 3-0.

1998 World Cup Facts

Date: June 10 – July 12, 1998
1998 World Cup Finalist: Brazil and France

1998 World Cup Final Score: Brazil 0 France 3
3rd place: Netherlands – Croatia 1-2
Teams: 32
Stadiums: 10
Host cities: 10
Matches played: 64
Goals: 171
Attendance: 2,785,100
Top scorer: Davor Suker (Croatia) (6 goals)


1994 – the United States succumbed to soccer, as they call the world’s most popular sport, and hosted the 1994 World Cup. The 1994 World Cup had the biggest crowd in the FIFA event’s history, 3,587,538 spectators, and other equally impressive figures. This victory made Brazil the first nation to win four World Cup titles. The competition saw no less than 141 goals, the best mark since 1982. During qualifiers, 147 teams fought for 24 spots. In addition, Cameroon player Roger Milla got another record: he became the oldest player to ever score a goal in a World Cup. This World Cup was a tough time period for me personally and I was devastated at some personal stuff. I remember even breaking my spectacles by accident one night while trying to watch the games and I was like “great”!

Milla was 42 years, one month, and eight days when he scored Cameroon’s only goal in their 6-1 defeat to Russia. That match also registered another record in World Cups: Russian player Oleg Salenko scored five goals in just one game. The 1994 World Cup is also remembered because of two episodes. The first was Diego Maradona testing positive after a drug test, caught on the anti-doping test, which detected ephedrine. The second damaging episode was the death of Colombian defender Andrés Escobar. The player scored an own goal against the United States in the group stage of the 1994 World Cup. The mistake resulted in Colombia losing 2-1 and being eliminated from the tournament. After returning home, Escobar was murdered in front of a nightclub in the city of Medellín, supposedly ordered by Colombian gamblers who lost a lot of money with the negative result.

Europe had its turn four years earlier, in 1990, so the following non-European countries placed a bid: Morocco, the United States, and Brazil. The FIFA Executive Committee (Exco) announced on July 4, 1988, in Zurich that the United States won the bid with a little more than half of the votes. For the United States to host the 1994 World Cup, it had to meet one condition. This condition was that the United States had to create a professional football league. The sport has become more popular, and the professional football league was established in 1993 called the Major League Soccer (MLS).

West Germany and East Germany finally reunited in 1990; therefore, the German participant in the 1994 World Cup was called Germany again. The 1994 World Cup had country Russia as a participant as well. Due to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia would never be referred to as the Soviet Union again. This was the first World Cup where the country qualified as Russia. Yugoslavia was suspended from international competition in 1992. This suspension was part of the United Nations sanctions against the country due to the Yugoslav Wars. The suspension ended in 1994, but it was too late to qualify for the 1994 World Cup. Euro winners in 1992, Denmark did not qualify, and neither did England and France.

In their five previous World Cup finals, Bulgaria had never won a game. Their fourth place finish was a surprise. Under coach Dimitar Penev, Bulgaria surprised many soccer fans. Bulgaria had never even won a game at the World Cup finals prior to this tournament. Led by top scorer Hristo Stoichkov they defeated the reigning World Cup winning side Germany in the quarter-finals while on their journey to the 3rd place play-off. In the World Cup 1994 quarter-final, the most exciting match, Brazil had to play the Netherlands, with players like Dennis Bergkamp, Frank Rijkaard, and Marc Overmars. At the beginning of the second half, they scored twice, with Bebeto’s famous celebration, pretending to carry a baby, in homage to his son who had just been born.

Then the Dutch equalized with Dennis Bergkamp and Aron Winter. It was then that left-back Branco, also the target of criticism, was fouled outside the box, took the ball, and scored via the free kick. Brazil also had to beat Sweden in the semis, who finished 3rd. After five successive World Cup Finals containing Argentina or West Germany, or both, the 1994 World Cup Final consisted of different countries. On the 17th of July 1994, the Final was played in Rose Bowl, Los Angeles, with an attendance of 94,194. For the first time in history, the world title would be decided on penalties. What no one expected happened when Roberto Baggio went up to take his penalty. Italy’s World Cup hopes relied on the forward to score his penalty.

The player responsible for carrying the not-so-brilliant Azzurra on his back ended up a villain when he sent his shot over the bar. Brazil was the 1994 World Cup winner and the first nation to win the FIFA World Cup four times.

1994 World Cup Facts And Records

Dates: June 17 – July 17, 1994
Final: Brazil – Italy 3-2 (penalties)
3rd place: Sweden – Bulgaria 4-0
Teams: 24
Stadiums: 9
Host cities: 9
Matches played: 52
Goals: 141
Attendance: 3,587,538
Top scorers: Hristo Stoichkov (Bulgaria), Oleg Salenko (Russia) (6 goals)

1990 World Cup Italy Facts

When the 1990 World Cup was again hosted in Italy, 56 years after the Azzurra’s first title, a lot had changed in the country and the world too. I was about to turn 14 and this was the first World Cup that I was able to sit up and watch a lot of the matches. Infact I think I missed just a few games and every day at school we would discuss the games and the goals. Many European countries were interested in hosting the 14th World Cup. Austria, England, France, Greece, West Germany, Soviet Union, Italy, and Yugoslavia were all interested. However, most of them withdrew their bid before the vote started.

Only Italy and the Soviet Union remained. On the day of the vote on May 19, 1984, in Zurich, it was announced by the FIFA Executive Committee that Italy gained the most votes, a total of 11. Italy would become the 2nd country to host a World Cup for the 2nd time after Mexico. Of the 24 teams participating in Italy 1990, Italy (host country) and Argentina (1986 World Cup winner) automatically qualified. The Republic of Ireland qualified for the first time. Romania qualified for the first time since 1970. This is the last World Cup where only 2 points were awarded to a win. Argentina still had the brilliant Maradona. In addition to Gary Lineker, the top scorer in 1986, England also had Paul Gascoigne, who was on top form.

Germany boasted Franz Beckebauer as their manager and had Lothar Matthäys, Jürgen Klinsmann and Andreas Brehme amongst their ranks. However, despite the great line-ups, the 1990 World Cup had the lowest goal average in history: only 2.21 per game. Led by the charismatic Roger Milla, the contagious Cameroonians started to make history with a 1-0 victory over Argentina in their first match. Then, they beat Romania and qualified first in their group, beating Colombia in the round of 16. The first ever African team to reach the quarter-finals, Cameroon had to say farewell to the dream when England beat them in extra time.

The English made it to the 1990 FIFA World Cup semi-final for the first time since 1966 and have never managed to get as far since. Indeed, in 1990 their chance of winning their second title was real. The English team had outstanding players like Gary Lineker, David Platt, Ian Wright, and veteran goalkeeper Peter Shilton. In addition to Paul Gascoigne, of course. They were eliminated in the semi-finals by Argentina on penalties. Hosts Italy would face Argentina in Naples, a city that idolized Diego Maradona in the second semis, which saw Argentina win on penalties and get through to the final. The final in Rome was a rematch of the previous four years earlier. The winner would match Brazil and Italy in the number of world titles.

Argentina and West Germany. West Germany entered the Final for the 6th time and Argentina for the 4th time. Germany wanted revenge. And it came from Andreas Brehme’s feet. Argentina, however, entered the Final with several players injured and booked. On the 8th of July, in the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, the Final was played with an attendance of 69,029. Pedro Monzón had the unfortunate honor of setting the record of being the first player to be sent off in a final. He was sent off due to a foul on German player Jürgen Klinsmann.  the only goal of the World Cup final was scored, which was a penalty. The referee awarded West Germany a penalty due to a foul by Roberto Sensini on Rudi Völler. It was German player Andreas Brehme who successfully shot the penalty (85?) as German went on to be crowned champions.

World Cup 1990 Facts

Dates: 8 June – 8 July 1990
1990 FIFA World Cup Final: West Germany – Argentina 1-0
3rd place: Italy – England 2-1
Teams: 24
Stadiums: 12
Host cities: 12
Matches played: 52
Goals: 115
Attendance: 2,393,031
Top scorer: Salvatore Schillaci (Italy) 6 goals