Opinion

Friday 22 June 2018

A life measured in World Cup finals

Ray Houghton scores against Italy at USA 94: ‘For five days, after our 1-0 win over Italy, Ireland believed we were going to win the World Cup’
Ray Houghton scores against Italy at USA 94: ‘For five days, after our 1-0 win over Italy, Ireland believed we were going to win the World Cup’

Eamonn Sweeney

1974: Initiation

It begins with Cruyff and Holland. Maybe a kid's first World Cup finals permanently creates their idea of what's excellent in football. The first cut is the deepest. So there will always be something uniquely magical for me about the memory of long-haired men in orange jerseys destroying the opposition in West Germany.

Holland hooked me on football. The acrobatic volley their leader executed to kill off Brazil in the semi-final transfixed me in a way no goal has since. I knew Cruyff was the best player in the world and Holland the best team.

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