Belfast Telegraph

Friday 28 August 2015

10 things you’ll love about the World Cup

Published 11/06/2010

<b>Great games</b><br />
I'm certain there will be some cracking matches in this World Cup. Once we get over the group stages, traditionally cautious affairs, the ante will be well and truly upped for the knockout matches. When it is do or die, the cream tends to rise to the top and class begins to tell.
Great games
I'm certain there will be some cracking matches in this World Cup. Once we get over the group stages, traditionally cautious affairs, the ante will be well and truly upped for the knockout matches. When it is do or die, the cream tends to rise to the top and class begins to tell.

Great goals: The best World Cup goal remains Carlos Alberto's wonderful strike to finish a flowing Brazilian move in the 1970 World Cup final against Italy. When he was Azerbaijan manager I had a huge row with him in a press conference after a Northern Ireland game, but that's another story. My favourite individual goal in a World Cup came from Diego Maradona in 1986. No, not that one, or the Hand of God goal either. It was against Belgium in the semi-final. Magical. All of Holland's goals, struck from about 40 yards, in 1978 and any goal scored by the Brazilian side in 1982 are also memorable. I'm sure there'll be a few like that this year.

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Great goals: The best World Cup goal remains Carlos Alberto's wonderful strike to finish a flowing Brazilian move in the 1970 World Cup final against Italy. When he was Azerbaijan manager I had a huge row with him in a press conference after a Northern Ireland game, but that's another story. My favourite individual goal in a World Cup came from Diego Maradona in 1986. No, not that one, or the Hand of God goal either. It was against Belgium in the semi-final. Magical. All of Holland's goals, struck from about 40 yards, in 1978 and any goal scored by the Brazilian side in 1982 are also memorable. I'm sure there'll be a few like that this year.

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Great goals: The best World Cup goal remains Carlos Alberto's wonderful strike to finish a flowing Brazilian move in the 1970 World Cup final against Italy. When he was Azerbaijan manager I had a huge row with him in a press conference after a Northern Ireland game, but that's another story. My favourite individual goal in a World Cup came from Diego Maradona in 1986. No, not that one, or the Hand of God goal either. It was against Belgium in the semi-final. Magical. All of Holland's goals, struck from about 40 yards, in 1978 and any goal scored by the Brazilian side in 1982 are also memorable. I'm sure there'll be a few like that this year.

Great players
Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Kaka, Fernando Torres, Xavi and Steven Gerrard all playing in the same tournament. Can't be bad...
Gordon Strachan
Likely to be the most interesting pundit on TV. It's a pity Roy Keane's not on, but Strachan should liven things up.
Diego Maradona
You never know what you are going to get with Maradona which is exactly why you watch him. If the TV companies are smart, they'll devote a corner of the screen to Maradona's antics on the bench when Argentina are on the box. His team have the potential to win it or, like their manager has done so many times, self destruct. Whatever, Argentina are going to be explosive to watch.
Watching Spain
It'll be like Barcelona but better because they'll also have Xabi Alonso, Cesc Fabregas and Fernando Torres to pass and move. Joy oh joy. The way football was meant to be played.
England games
Love them or hate them, watching them will be great because you will get so involved. Just turn the sound down on TV to avoid the commentators or alternatively listen to the brilliant Alan Green on Five Live telling it how it is. By the way Alan's writing a column in the Belfast Telegraph every Tuesday for the duration of the tournament. Don't miss it.
Wall to wall coverage
Football will be on almost 24/7. Even the adverts will be World Cup related. TV heaven, or TV hell depending on your viewpoint.
Penalty shoot-outs
Don't you just love them. I know pundits will say it is a horrible way to lose, but there is no more dramatic or exciting way to decide a game of football. It's compelling to watch the best players in the world step up to the spot and see if their bottle holds. Plus England are sure to be involved in a shoot-out. Can't wait.
The event itself
In sporting terms it doesn't get better than this. Yes, the Olympics is special, but the World Cup truly is the greatest show on earth.

Penalty shoot-outs, hilarious pundits, wonder goals...what's not to like about the World Cup?

Sports Editor Steven Beacom runs down his 10 favourite things about the tournament.

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