Football World Cup memories: David Leggat

By David Leggat

Gerd Muller, left, Der Bomber of the 1970 and 1974 finals. Photo - Allsport UK /Allsport
Gerd Muller, left, Der Bomber of the 1970 and 1974 finals. Photo - Allsport UK /Allsport

In the lead-up to the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, Herald writers are looking back on their favourite World Cup memories.

Today, David Leggat, who covered the 1982 World Cup in Spain, shares his top moments.

First World Cup memory
England winning the 1966 final. It started my brother's lifelong love affair with West Ham United, courtesy of cup winners Bobby Moore, Martin Peters and Geoff Hurst. Check out the official film of the tournament, for dodgy haircuts, terrific sunglasses and it's spare, staccato commentary.

Favourite memory
It's 1982, Malaga and New Zealand's debut against Scotland. They were 3-0 when Steve Sumner jabbed the All Whites first cup goal from close range. At least that's something anyway, we NZ writers in the stands thought. Shortly after Steve Wooddin blasted a left-foot drive past the hopeless Scots keeper Alan Rough. 3-2. On our feet.

Dare, briefly, to dream. The All Whites had one opportunity to draw level, couldn't take it and the Scots added two more. Favourite? Because I was there.

Favourite team
Brazil, 1982. They didn't win the cup, should have, but didn't have an ounce of pragmatism in their bones. They lost 3-2 to Italy. They strolled and strutted, no-look passes, wonderful players, who scored wonderful goals. Brazilians don't talk about the cup winners of 1994 or 2002, but they remember the effortless magnificence of Socrates, Zico, Falcao, Eder, Cerezo, Junior and co.

Favourite player
A few options, the elegant, chain smoking, deep political thinker Socrates chief among them. But let's go for Gerd Muller, Der Bomber of the 1970 and '74 finals. Goals is the name of the game and while he was no spectacular athlete, no one did it better than the chunky German striker. He scored a phenomenal 68 goals in 62 internationals, 10 at the 1970 tournament. He would often do nothing in a game for 84 minutes, then jab one in from five metres. A genuine matchwinner as he showed in the 1974 final. Or just ask England in 1970 when his late, acrobatic volley dumped them out in the quarter-finals.

2014 Final tip
Argentina to beat Brazil in South American showdown. Messi magic to have the hosts in tears.

- NZ Herald

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