What was the first World Cup you can remember watching?
The 1994 World Cup in the USA. France were not involved in that competition but I have some images in my mind about some of the games like the final between Brazil and Italy, which Brazil won on penalties after a 0-0 draw.
Who were the stars that year?
Romario and Bebeto were some of the stars from Brazil and Diego Maradona was still there for Argentina, but he only played a couple of games before being sent home. Also I remember Hristo Stoichkov, who scored a lot of goals for Bulgaria. They got to the semi-finals and ended up finishing fourth.
Above: Hristo Stoichkov in action for Bulgaria at the 1994 World Cup.
If there was one World Cup game in history that you could have gone to, which one would it be and why?
Brazil v France, the final in 1998, when the French team won 3-0 in the Stade de France. I was on holiday in the south of France with my grandparents at the time so I watched it from there on TV.
What are the best memories you have of your own country at the World Cup?
In France, if you talk about the World Cup, the first thing that comes to mind is the final from 1998 when the team won the trophy at home, so it has to be that moment.
What is the best match you’ve ever seen at the finals?
For me, as a French person, it would be Brazil against France in the quarter-finals of the 2006 World Cup in Germany because Zinedine Zidane was just unbelievable. The context was that it was his last competition as he’d announced before the World Cup that he would retire afterwards, so every game was like his last game. Against Spain in the last 16, there was a lot of pressure but France won, then against Brazil, a lot of pressure again, but Zidane was always top, top, top and in this game he was just amazing from the first second until the last.
And the best goal?
One from before I was born that I’ve since seen on television – Maradona against England in 1986 when he took the ball from inside his own half and drove forward with it, taking it around so many players and then scoring from the angle. It was in the same match as the ‘Hand of God’ goal, just a few minutes later. Argentina won 2-1 and went on to win the whole tournament.
Above: Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Pat Bonner in 1994.
What is the most unusual kit you’ve seen at the tournament?
I still remember from the 1994 World Cup that a few teams including the Republic of Ireland had an unusual goalkeeper kit with a lot of squares in a grid pattern. There were red squares all down the middle and yellow squares on the arms, all with a black background. This kit sticks in my mind.