In the lead-up to the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, a selection of writers are looking back on their favourite World Cup memories.
Today, Coen Lammers, who will blog for nzherald.co.nz from Brazil, shares his top moments.
First World Cup memory
1974 World Cup final in Munich. Even though I was only a seven year old back in the Netherlands I can still vividly remember the trauma in my family living room after the 2-1 defeat against West Germany. The Dutch had been the best team in the tournament and took an early lead in the first minute. The Germans struck back twice as the Dutch TV commentator bizarrely yelled "We've been sucked in again". The war was clearly not over.
Favourite World Cup match
Impossible choice. Few games will get close to the semi-final extra time dramas between Italy and West Germany in 1970 (4-3) and West Germany and France in 1982 (3-3, Germans win on penalties. However my favourite personal memory is another semi-final, this time in 2006 between Germany and Italy in Dortmund. With 70,000 over-excited Germans riding a wave of expectation, you could have run the Dortmund grid on the electricity inside the stadium. Sadly for them a great Italian team send the host nation into a tailspin with two dramatic late goals in extra time after a spectacular match.
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Favourite World Cup player
It can only be Pele. Sadly I never saw him play live but the grainy black and white footage and his World Cup triumphs as a 17-year-old in 1958 and in his last tournament in 1970 make it hard to go past him. If he hadn't been kicked out of the tournament in 1962 and injured in 1966 his legacy may have even been greater.
2014 final prediction
Brazil will be the team to beat, brimming with talent and the support of a football obsessed nation, which however could also turn into unbearable pressure. If they can handle that and get past a potential tricky second round match against Spain or the Netherlands they may strike the other form team Germany in the final. The Bundesliga is getting better each year and the talented Mannshaft has matured since 2010 to become a real contender. Dark horse Belgium will probably lack the tournament experience to make the final but could get close.