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My World Cup - Darren Anderton

Posted on 30 June 2014  - 14:14

With the World Cup knockout stages underway in Brazil, our former midfielder and England international Darren Anderton recalls his favourite moments from past tournaments and gives his predictions for this year’s final.

Darren Anderton at White Hart LaneScoring for England against Colombia at the 1998 World CupAll smiles at Ledley King's Testimonial recently

What was the first World Cup you can recall watching?

That would have been 1982 when Bryan Robson scored against France after just a few seconds. I would have been 10-years-old at the time. England won that game 3-1 in the end but I just remember the Brazilians from the tournament. They had some great players there - Socrates, Falcao – they were just incredible to watch.

Who were the stars you remember from that tournament?

Those Brazilian players I’ve just mentioned were unbelievable, but I also remember the semi-final match between West Germany and France that ended in a 3-3 draw. Some of the players from that game stuck in my mind, players like Michel Platini. I also remember the Germany goalkeeper Toni Schumacher, because he took out one of their forwards when he was going through on goal. In terms of England, the way we went out was so disappointing. Kevin Keegan and Trevor Brooking came on against Spain, as we needed to win by two clear goals, but we couldn’t quite get the job done.

Have you ever been to a World Cup match as a supporter?

When we went to the World Cup in 1998, we went to watch Brazil play in one of their games. In 1994 I actually went to the USA to watch Erik Thorstvedt, our former goalkeeper, play for Norway. Erik got me some tickets to see their match against Mexico in Washington.

If there was one World Cup game you could have gone to, which one would it be and why?

That’s a difficult one. Obviously it would have been great to have seen the 1966 Final, but in terms of my lifetime..... I don’t know. There’s so many great games to choose from I really couldn’t pick one individual match.

Have you ever represented your country at the World Cup before?

I played for England in France ‘98. I had missed a lot of the season for Spurs through injury, but I came back in and played the last two or three games and ended up going to the World Cup. Glenn Hoddle picked me, and I was fortunate enough to have played in all our group games, and obviously I capped it off by scoring against Colombia. That’s every boy’s dream. It’s just a shame the way we went out of the tournament in the end, especially after we had played so well.

What are the best memories you have of your own country at the World Cup?

For me it has to be when we beat Belgium in the last minute of extra time back in 1990, David Platt scoring that dramatic goal. Of course, we got through to the semi-finals to face West Germany, but I remember that probably for all the wrong reasons.

What has been the best match you’ve ever seen at the Finals?

Again there’s so many to choose from, it’s hard to pick one. That West Germany v France semi-final from 1982 that ended 3-3 after extra time is right up there.

And what has been the best goal?

The goal that everyone remembers Michael Owen scoring in 1998. I was on the pitch at the time and that was a special moment.

Who do you think will have a big impact at the 2014 World Cup?

I think Brazil will do well and Germany will do OK as well. Brazil have home advantage, but that comes with extra pressure, although they also have the extra support. In terms of individual players, I’d like to see Lionel Messi have a good tournament. For me he’s the best player in the world. I’d like to see him get the opportunity to really show what he can do on such a big stage.

Which two teams do you fancy to make it to the final, and who will lift the trophy?

Bearing in mind what I’ve just said, I’ll say Brazil to beat Germany in the final.