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What the World Cup means to... Christian Eriksen

Posted on 9 June 2018  - 13:37

As we count down to the start of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, we caught up with some of the players who are set to take part to talk about their memories of past tournaments. Today, Denmark’s midfield sensation Christian Eriksen.

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What was the first World Cup you can remember watching?
The first one I can ever remember was in 1998 in France. I was only six years old at the time so I don’t really remember much of it but I have clearer recollections of the 2002 World Cup when Ronaldinho scored that free-kick for England against Brazil. In 1998 I was only a young kid watching it on television in Denmark.

Who were the stars that year?
To be honest I don’t recall too many of the real stars because, like I said, I was only six, but I do seem to remember Fabien Barthez in goal for France. I could say a few more names now because I’d know but back then I wouldn’t have been watching and remembering players in detail.

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Above: France goalkeeper Fabien Barthez lifts the World Cup in 1998.

If there was one World Cup game in history that you could have gone to, which one would it be and why?
That’s a tough one but, thinking about it, if you’re going to see a World Cup match you’d probably want to go and see the final one year so I’ll say Italy against France in the 2006 final. It was Zizou’s (Zinedine Zidane) last game and you had the Panenka penalty as well. Italy won in the shootout, but that’s one of the games I’d have liked to have seen live.

What are the best memories you have of your own country at the World Cup?
Obviously Denmark reached the quarter-finals in 1998 after a big win against Nigeria before losing to Brazil, but it was a very proud moment for me when I made my debut at the World Cup in 2010 against Holland, when I was the youngest player at the tournament.

What is the best match you’ve ever seen at the finals?
The Brazil v England one in 2002 because of all the stars in the Brazilian team with Ronaldinho, Rivaldo and Ronaldo. Michael Owen scored for England but Brazil turned it around and won 2-1.

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Above: Siphiwe Tshabalala scores for South Africa in 2010.

And the best goal?
It was in 2010 when South Africa played Mexico in the first game – Siphiwe Tshabalala scored from the left side. That was a very nice goal. Also that Ronaldinho free-kick against England’s David Seaman, when he floated it all the way over his head in 2002.

What is the most unusual kit you’ve seen at the tournament?
There was a Cameroon one that was green with patterns set into it. I remember it because it looked so tight on all the players!