In the lead-up to the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, Herald writers are looking back on their favourite World Cup memories.
Today, Michael Brown, Herald on Sunday sports editor who covered the 2010 World Cup for APN, shares his top moments.
First World Cup memory
A nurse wheeling a TV into the children's ward in the middle of the night to watch the 1982 World Cup with me. I was getting my appendix out after it burst earlier in the year but nothing was going to get in the way of watching my first World Cup. I remember a lot about New Zealand's qualifying campaign but, strangely, little about their games in Spain. Except that corny song done with Ray Woolf.
Favourite World Cup match
Italy 1 All Whites 1
I was lucky enough to be in Nelspruit to cover the match for the Herald and couldn't believe it when Shane Smeltz put the All Whites ahead after seven minutes. I was still in nervous disbelief as the clock wound down. New Zealand's 1-1 draw with Slovakia was meritorious but this was truly special - a draw with the world champions. It was then terrific when Rory Fallon accused the Italians afterwards of "diving around like little girls". Of course, Italy finished below New Zealand in their group.
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Favourite World Cup player
He wasn't the most gifted player nor the most spectacular to watch but there was something special about Roger Milla, and it wasn't just his dance around the corner post after each of his four goals at the 1990 World Cup. Cameroon's feats in Italy changed a perception about African football after they became the first team from the continent to reach the quarter-finals. Milla, aged 38 at the time, personified that. He returned with Cameroon four years later, scoring against Russia to become the oldest goalscorer at a World Cup.
Prediction for 2014 final
Brazil vs Argentina
Amazingly, no team from outside South America has won the World Cup when it's played there and there's a good chance that trend will continue. Germany are always good and Spain could still figure but it would be great to see an all-South American final between the two heavyweights. It would make the tournament.