IF you really want to know whether this has been the best World Cup of all time – record a few games and look back at them in a decade.

People have been drooling over the excitement in Brazil with good reason and despite my acute narcolepsy spoiling some of the 11pm kick-offs, I would have a tough time arguing the case for any other tournament right now.

I look back with rose-tinted spectacles to Mexico 1986 because it was the first time I was allowed to stay up past my bedtime and watch football. I remember a lot of games in Italia ’90 being boring – but didn’t care because England were good.

In 1994, we didn’t need to stress about England’s involvement but I still maintain that my interest was held longer as a result of not caring who won.

By 1998 I had discovered beer and women, although mainly beer. The games started to blend together after that, a bit like Ronaldos and Ronaldinhos.

I vaguely remember Japan and Korea because of the body-wrenching experience of turning up at a pub at 7am. Note to anyone considering it, Guinness and cornflakes do not “go together” under any circumstances.

When pressed about my favourite tournament, though, I can make a case for each of them. My memory – or the aforementioned Guinness – wiped my memory of the bad games and replaced them with a video montage of the best bits; like the end of Big Brother.

It is exactly the same with children’s television. I maintain it was miles better when I was young but every time I find an episode of Knightmare, He-Man or Fun House on YouTube, it, well, looks a bit naff.

I tried to make my kids watch an episode of Danger Mouse the other day and they looked at me as if I had put their iPad through a shredder (the office machine, not the bad guy from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).

Nostalgia does funny things to the mind. People pine for their teenage years despite, for most people including myself, them being the most awkward of your life.

Perhaps after the Qatar World Cup in 2022 we will look back at Brazil and share misty-eyed stories about the Robin van Persie header, spray painted free kicks or Adrian Chiles’ hairy knees.

Or maybe time won’t be as kind and preserve bad memories like England’s abject failure, Luis Suarez’s wandering teeth... or Adrian Chiles’ hairy knees?

All the statistics point to this being the best World Cup ever and we have already eclipsed the total number of goals from four years ago.

We have also had 27 goals from substitutes, which I am told is also a record; a completely pointless one, but a record nonetheless.

Right now I’m determined to “live in the now” and enjoy every last drop of this tournament before considering my verdict.


Gordon Strachan’s rant about the lack of morals in football was bang on. He is the best reason for watching ITV at the moment, and has definitely made himself comfortable in that chair.


Kevin Kilbane scores the fastest own goal by mistaking the man he was sitting next to – Simon Brotherton – for Jonathan Pearce barely 10 seconds into the France v Nigeria game.