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

Today, NZ Herald columnist Chris Rattue, who covered the 2010 World Cup, shares his top moments.

First memory
West Germany v Holland - the 1974 final in Munich. It was a Good Guy v Bad Guy contest, and there was widespread disappointment when the Germans won. The game has become more interesting over time, through documentaries and features on both the match and longstanding antipathy between the sides.

Favourite World Cup match
Argentina v England, the 1986 Maradona 'Hand of God' game. I was living in England at the time, which made the aftermath more memorable. This involved a crazy mix of drama, controversy, sport, politics, nationalism...the game also included Maradona's amazing and legitimate goal.


Favourite World Cup player
Socrates. The Brazilian midfielder was uniquely majestic, a central figure in maybe the greatest World Cup team ever, even though that 1982 team did not win the tournament. Learning more about the man and his ethos increased the fascination and admiration.

World Cup final prediction
Germany v Spain. Even though history suggests a European team won't win on this continent, players are more worldly these days so location is not so important. Champions Spain are being written off by many but the Brazilian-born Diego Costa can give a great team new life. Hopefully the sudden death games won't degenerate as in the past but the World Cup can strangle the best of players after the pool stages. It would be fabulous to see an outsider like Belgium or an African team make the final.

World Cup memories
Steven Holloway
Daniel Richardson
Kris Shannon
Coen Lammers
David Leggat