Best world cup ever

TommiHelm

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I was 13 in 94' and it's the one I remember most fondly. So many of my childhood heroes playing. Romario and Bebeto, Baggio, Batistuta, Stoichkov, Hagi, etc. Hell even those slightly less known guys from our next door neigbours Sweden, who finished 3rd. Feels like such a different time.

I guess most Norwegians would say 98' though. Beating Brazil at that stage, and the with the quality they had at the time, probably won't ever happen again for us.
 
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GuybrushThreepwood

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While I enjoyed the 2014 tournament, I rank it behind 2018, because despite the names I thought that 3 out of the 4 semi-finalists were underwhelming.

Brazil were very lucky to get the semis in the first place (including from their opening game against Croatia and I also remember them continually cynically fouling Colombian players in their QF). I thought that Argentina also weren’t particularly great with Mascherano their best player and largely dragging them to the final. And while it is some exception, apart from the spectacular 2nd half against Spain I didn’t think that the Netherlands looked particularly remarkable either.
 

Demyanenko_square_jaw

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Italia 90 because of what it meant to me. I remember weeping so hard as a ten year old when Waddle skied the penalty. Some great games along the way. Argentina - Cameroon in the opening game and the ridiculous fouls on Cannigia, England’s run, Roger Milla, Platt vs Belgium, and of course Nessum Dorma.

Loved 98 too because of Brasil with Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Cafu and Roberto Carlos.

94 because there were some amazing individual performances from the likes of Hagi, Stoichkov, Baggio, Baresi, and Romario. Bulgaria and Romania were great that tournament.

2014 had two of the most amazing games in World Cup memory, Spain 1-5 Holland, and Germany 7-1 Brazil.

But nothing beats Italia 90 for me. Felt like a proper World Cup. Wish I was old enough to properly remember 86. I only have flashes of it.

Where the tournament is hosted plays a big part I think. You want it somewhere with proper infrastructure, good stadiums and a fervent football culture. The last two hosts, Russia and Qatar, are frankly ridiculous. USA 2026 will be good and hopefully it comes to Europe in 2030, it’s long overdue.
Russia was made controversial in large part because of Putin's later invasion of Ukraine and state doping program for the winter olympics. In footballing terms though it was the biggest country in the world with a long tradition in the game and football as the most popular sport that had yet to host a major tournament. Hardly a ridiculous destination at all at the time it was given, and i say that as someone that would much rather that money have gone to helping improve social services than a vanity project, though that sadly was never realistic under Putin.
 

simonhch

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Russia was made controversial in large part because of Putin's later invasion of Ukraine and state doping program for the winter olympics. In footballing terms though it was the biggest country in the world with a long tradition in the game and football as the most popular sport that had yet to host a major tournament. Hardly a ridiculous destination at all at the time it was given, and i say that as someone that would much rather that money have gone to helping improve social services than a vanity project, though that sadly was never realistic under Putin.
Well that’s just not the case is it? Firstly we had Russian laws forbidding “gay propaganda” and secondly it took place after Russia’s annexation of the Crimea.
 

RedDevilQuebecois

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I may be biased because it was the first World Cup that I ever followed for real, but France 98 takes the cake for me.

Some nations made their first steps onto the biggest stage in that year, top teams gave a great show, and, of course, a legend was born in the 1998 final.
 

Pearl.Jam

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1982 and when I properly fell in love with football, watching that Brazil side just blew me away as I’d never seen football played that way before, Zico, Eder, Socrates, Falcao…absolute football heaven
 

Demyanenko_square_jaw

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Well that’s just not the case is it? Firstly we had Russian laws forbidding “gay propaganda” and secondly it took place after Russia’s annexation of the Crimea.
It taking place after the annexation of Crimea was exactly why i said it became controversial in large part due to Putin's invasion of Ukraine, i include the annexation in that. When it was awarded all that was yet to take place.

There was the Georgian conflict of course, which in an ideal world with some consistent and strict rulings for hosting international sporting events might have caused a lot more issues, but at the time the precedent had been set with American actions in the middle east/afhganistan that aggressive invasion/occupation wasn't necessarily going to get you banned from anything, and the georgian conflict was distinctly small scale in comparison. Such matters were inconsistent and politically motivated, it took the later full on invasion of the entirety of Ukraine for a red line to be crossed. Even now Azerbaijan has got away entirely regarding any sporting consequences for its recent warmongering, because no one cares enough. It's a state of affairs.

the gay propaganda laws ( and general situation there in Chechnya especially) were a worthy thing to protest/highlight, but also something that came in years after the World Cup was awarded. As against that morally and politically as i am, i do not think it rises to the level to be used as dismissing a location that ticked all the footballing boxes, as being "frankly ridiculous". I'd imagine you would agree, if you're touting America, with it's increasingly authoritarian abortion laws, border camps and significant issues with homophobia from one half of government/voting bloc. I don't mention those as distraction/whataboutism, but simply to illustrate that once we get to this level of criticism (worthy as it is in itself) as being a singular reason for entirely dimissing a location, it's going to narrow options significantly, though i've no issue with anyone boycotting for any such reasons that they feel are sufficiently important to them. Maybe narrowing the options significantly would actually be for the best, but it's not the world we live in as related to hosting sporting occasions, and ploddingly slow, incrementally effective protest. It's taken a perfect storm of various direct footballing/non footballing issues to even create the current kickback against Qatar.

To clarify, as i don't want to seem to be defending Putin's regime at all here, it's simply the idea of the country being a frankly ridiculous place to host a world cup at the time it was given, and particularly right after bringing up things like infrastructure, stadiums and fanbase as the key factors that doesn't sit right with me. It's ignorance, and now that you're adding social issues while touting the usa? that comes too close to the Euro 2012 " don't go to Ukraine/Poland, you'll come back in a bodybag" "they are full of racists" level of criticism to me.
 

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1990 & 1998 for me.

The 2014 group stages were the most entertaining from what I can remember.
 

GueRed

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I'd rank Euro 2000 as the best, too. Zidane was fantastic in that tournament, and there were great, exciting matches in every round (maybe not the QFs so much) including a dramatic end to the final. Euro 2008 was up there as well - let down by a bit of a dull final and one-sided SF with Spain beating Russia easily.
Yeah Euro 2000 was the best ever tournament for me too.
The top players on form..in particular Zinedine Zidane. Here was a player at the summit of his art. was a privilage to watch.
 

Gabriel Djemba-Bebe

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My gut instinct tells me you're trying to troll us, but as someone who detested the 2010 world cup and loved 2014 & 2018, I couldn't resist responding to some of your 'reasons' in bold below.

2010 > 2014 > 2018

2010
- first time in Africa
Using that logic, Qatar 2022 has already cemented its status as one of the best ever world cups, because its the first time in the Middle East, right?
- opening goal to remember for the century
I'll give you that one.
- many dramatic moments
Same as any tournament then?
- mix of footballing styles
Again, same as any tournament.
- African team making deep run
That "deep run" was Ghana reaching quarter finals, which was no further than Cameroon in 1990 & Senegal in 2002: both of whom faced tougher opponents.
- best official songs (waving flag and waka waka)
It's apparent you were clutching at straws by this point.
- super competitive final with late winner
0-0 after 90 minutes pales in comparison to 6 goals in 2018.
- team which never won before winning it
Spain were favourites to lift the trophy going into the tournament. Hardly an underdog story.
 

Antarion

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While I enjoyed the 2014 tournament, I rank it behind 2018, because despite the names I thought that 3 out of the 4 semi-finalists were underwhelming.

Brazil were very lucky to get the semis in the first place (including from their opening game against Croatia and I also remember them continually cynically fouling Colombian players in their QF). I thought that Argentina also weren’t particularly great with Mascherano their best player and largely dragging them to the final. And while it is some exception, apart from the spectacular 2nd half against Spain I didn’t think that the Netherlands looked particularly remarkable either.
I thought the 2014 tournament was pretty much perfect in any way. Exciting country, great group stages with lots of upsets, the semifinal was PERFECT - two south american giants against two european giants. The 7-1. NEymar died. Exciting from start to finish.

I can see that if you are an England fan, you value 2018 above it because your team making it very far is always a recipe for enjoyment. But I think the final was a real downer with Croatia despite deservedly being there, was just no real competiton for France expecially after their nth overtime game on the way there. I can barely remember exciting games that world cup.

2014 > 1994 > 1998 > 2010 > 2002 > 2006 > 2018 is my recent ranking of all I can remember (I was too young for 1990).


I think this ranking isn't all down to games but also personal stuff around these cups happening...(why I rank 2010 higher despite many dull games) but I followed it on another great board which was fun to discuss from start to finish
 
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Tom Cato

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The 1994 World Cup only gives me fond memories of excitement and joy. To me its the best tournament Ive ever seen.
 

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I watched Italia 90 as it happened and just think it is nostalgia that makes people think it was such a great tournament. My recollection of it was it was insanely dull for the most part. Bbut it generated moments of tension and some heroic failure which with the backdrop of a country with a history as Italy has and the voice of Pavarotti created a legacy of it being greater than it really was. It has a narrative behind it which a tournament like 1982 didn't even though I would argue that was a superior tournament in terms of quality of football.
 

Tom Van Persie

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I loved 2014 and the whole vibe of that tournament. RvP's header, James' goal, Germany beating Brazil 7-1 etc. So many memorable moments.
 

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since I was born in 90, 98 and 2006 were the best in my books. I was in France in 98 and in Germany in 2006 and I thoroughly enjoyed both world cups as I was of perfect age to enjoy them for very different reasons. 98 was family friendly in France, lots of cool memories and childhood excitement. 2006 was basically a huge national wide party in Germany and I got to legal drinking age.
 

Revan

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From the ones I remember, I liked France 98, Germany 2006, Brazil 2014 and Russia 2018.

Thought that Japan-S Korea 2002 and South Africa 2010 sucked.

Russia 2018 was probably the best in quality considering that pretty much all teams were playing decently, and many results were quite unexpected.
 
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A thread for the football history enjoyers out there and it's pretty straightforward , which Edition of the aforementioned competition was the best.
You could list your criteria as well it being the footballing strength and quality , breadth of good teams , atmosphere, the narrative surrounding it and most importantly how enjoyable it may have been.

I'm a bit biases over here due to my love of the 80s but to me 2 world cups stand shoulders above the rest the 1982 and 1986 editions, packed full of stars, enjoyable matches (legendary in fact) and even more legendary winners.

So what's your opinion.

(Mods I'm aware there are threads similar in nature to this already but I think it's a topic worth going over again and after all we're closings the occasion itself.)
Any fecking one bar this one.
 

The Brown Bull

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Have seen them all Mexico 1970. Spain 82 is still my favourite. It had that superbly talented and entertaining Brazil team, a brilliant French team, a tough German team and the cunning & pragmatic Italians who’s star striker redeemed himself to help them win it .
 

World Game

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Using that logic, Qatar 2022 has already cemented its status as one of the best ever world cups, because its the first time in the Middle East, right?
Qatar is part of Asia which has already hosted one.

I'll give you that one.
thanks :)

Same as any tournament then?
2018 was a penalty and set piece slog fest for example.

Again, same as any tournament.
Nothing beats that Suarez vs Ghana moment and aftermath.

That "deep run" was Ghana reaching quarter finals, which was no further than Cameroon in 1990 & Senegal in 2002: both of whom faced tougher opponents.
Neither 1990 nor 2002 were mentioned in my post. Simply that 2010 > 2014 > 2018.
It's kinda implied that everyone in this thread is judging based on the world cups in their lifetime.
Personally I wasn't alive for 1990 and didn't watch 2002.

It's apparent you were clutching at straws by this point.
You may disagree but official songs are part of the identity of each world cup for me. And 2010 had the best ones.

0-0 after 90 minutes pales in comparison to 6 goals in 2018.
An even score line after 90mins requiring extra time is exactly what a "super competitive" final looks like.
2010 and 2014 both had very close and tense finals right to the very end.

By contrast 2018 was a one sided affair. Game was over at 60-65min mark already.

Spain were favourites to lift the trophy going into the tournament. Hardly an underdog story.
? Didn't say anything about underdogs.
Just that it was their first world cup trophy. Which made it more special.
 

GuybrushThreepwood

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I thought the 2014 tournament was pretty much perfect in any way. Exciting country, great group stages with lots of upsets, the semifinal was PERFECT - two south american giants against two european giants. The 7-1. NEymar died. Exciting from start to finish.

I can see that if you are an England fan, you value 2018 above it because your team making it very far is always a recipe for enjoyment. But I think the final was a real downer with Croatia despite deservedly being there, was just no real competiton for France expecially after their nth overtime game on the way there. I can barely remember exciting games that world cup.

2014 > 1994 > 1998 > 2010 > 2002 > 2006 > 2018 is my recent ranking of all I can remember (I was too young for 1990).


I think this ranking isn't all down to games but also personal stuff around these cups happening...(why I rank 2010 higher despite many dull games) but I followed it on another great board which was fun to discuss from start to finish
Me ranking 2018 ahead of 2014 has nothing to do with how England performed. I think that Euro 2000 when England were eliminated from the group stages, and Euro 2008 when England didn't even qualify, were 2 of the best major tournaments that I've seen. I just thought that overall the quality of football and matches was better in 2018 than 2014.

2014 was an enjoyable tournament, lightyears beyond the terrible 2010. However looking beyond just the names of the teams involved on paper, the fact that 1 of the 2 finalists was generally underwhelming en-route to that stage (the fact that Mascherano regardless of Messi's award was Argentina's best player was telling), and 3 of the the 4 semi-finalists were generally underwhelming en-route to that stage, means that it loses points IMO. The Argentina-Netherlands semi-final was horrendous. Brazil for example were a better team in 2018 when they lost in the quarter-finals, than they were in 2014 when they were incredibly lucky to get the semis where they were humiliated.

There was plenty of drama as well in 2018 with a large number of stoppage time goals, and there was only 1 goalless draw. I though it was a wonderful festival of football from start to finish.
 

Gabriel Djemba-Bebe

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Nothing beats that Suarez vs Ghana moment and aftermath.
I'm guessing you aren't old enough to remember Zidanne headbutting someone in the chest in the 2006 world cup final?

You may disagree but official songs are part of the identity of each world cup for me. And 2010 had the best ones.
That makes about as much sense as claiming that Liverpool are the best team this season because you like bobbing your head to You'll Never Walk Alone before every game.

I think I speak for the vast majority of football fans when I say that the official songs do not have any impact whatsoever on our levels of enjoyment when watching the world cup.

The 2010 world cup was a drab watch. 143 goals in total compared to 171 goals in 2014 and 169 goals in 2018.
 

World Game

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I'm guessing you aren't old enough to remember Zidanne headbutting someone in the chest in the 2006 world cup final?
I am, one of the most memorable world cup moments for sure. But a player getting riled up, then baited into violent conduct and a red card happens every now and then in football.

How does that compare with Suarez getting a red in the 120th minute for deliberately blocking a goal bound header with his hands in an act of desperation?
He goes off the field crying knowing that his team is on the verge of going home anyway. Gyan steps up for the penalty, his shot goes off the crossbar and Suarez's tears turn to tears of joy. Gyan recomposes himself in time to step up and score his team's first penalty in the shootout but two of his teammates succumb to the pressure. The last hope of Africa gets finished off with a panenka. Suarez gets hailed a hero by his country but is a villain to the rest of the world. A pyrrhic victory for Uruguay in the end though as without Suarez they fall short to Netherlands in the semi-finals.

That makes about as much sense as claiming that Liverpool are the best team this season because you like bobbing your head to You'll Never Walk Alone before every game.

I think I speak for the vast majority of football fans when I say that the official songs do not have any impact whatsoever on our levels of enjoyment when watching the world cup.
It would be more akin to a first time football fan deciding on a favourite team to support and getting won over after experiencing the atmosphere of fans singing YAWN at Anfield. YAWN is part of Liverpool's identity as GG MU is part of United's. If we had to decide what is the "best" football club then the songs/chants of each club would form part of the debate.

Official songs are a factor because we are talking about the "best world cup" not the "world cup with best football". Obviously the quality of football is the primary factor but the vibes and atmosphere are also important. That's why this world cup will be not be rated high even if the football turns out to be amazing.

The 2010 world cup was a drab watch. 143 goals in total compared to 171 goals in 2014 and 169 goals in 2018.
We may have to agree to disagree on this one but number of goals isn't indicative of the quality, entertainment and beauty of a football match. There's a reason almost every other sport in the world is higher scoring yet football is still #1.
A 0-0 match may happen because of pathetic attacking (bad) or defensive masterclasses (good).
A 3-3 match may happen because of world class attacking display (good) or garbage defending (bad).

Ironically in most world cups, the goals/game rate decreases once the group stage ends and the quality becomes higher in the knockout games.
2014 had more goals than 2010 and 2018 overall but also had less goals in the knockout stages when compared with the other two even with the Bra71l game.
What this shows is that majority of goals of a world cup are coming from the one sided stomps in the group stages with weaker teams anyway.

(btw not arguing for less goals = good and more goals = bad. Just that both can either be good or bad and number of goals alone doesn't reflect the level of football)
 

Red the Bear

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To be honest it's been a ton of fun so far, let's see how this one ranks further on.
 

Gabriel Djemba-Bebe

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We may have to agree to disagree on this one but number of goals isn't indicative of the quality, entertainment and beauty of a football match.
Fair enough mate. Although I personally believe the 2010 world cup was by far the least enjoyable tournament of my lifetime, that obviously doesn't mean the feeling is ubiquitous amongst all football fans. It was a tournament that left me with very few enjoyable memories, but clearly that's not the case with you. Fair play for responding to my points with some well balanced counter arguments. Have a good day.
 
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Okey

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I'm absolutely loving this one so far. Might just pip them all by the end!
 

jeff gurr

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I was 14 years old in 1966 and and that World Cup was amazing. I probably didn't realize at the time how long the wait would be for the next England win.
 

berbasloth4

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94 first I can remember and ireland being it was brilliant but there's a dark cloud over our first game. Loved 02 with ireland in it but for quality I think 98
 

Oranges038

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Never seen it but I am reliably informed that 1970 was great.

From my own experience that i can remember 94 was poor enough, 1998 was excellent. 2002 was fantastic. 2006/2010 were a bit meh. 14 and 18 were quite good.
 

kafta

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1998 and 2006 for me.

1994 was my first world cup, so it also holds a special place.
 

Kopral Jono

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Fair enough mate. Although I personally believe the 2010 world cup was by far the least enjoyable tournament of my lifetime, that obviously doesn't mean the feeling is ubiquitous amongst all football fans. It was a tournament that left me with very few enjoyable memories, but clearly that's not the case with you. Fair play for responding to my points with some well balanced counter arguments. Have a good day.
2010 is best remembered for being the first World Cup in Africa, vuvuzela, the two theme songs, Lampard’s non-goal. Peripheral things. The football itself was dross and I completely agree with you that it was the worst World Cup in recent memory (and won by the most boring great side in recent memory to boot).

The last two editions of the tournament were great fun. I even rate 2018 to be second or third best after 1998 in a toss-up with 2006.
 

berbasloth4

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Dark cloud over which game out of curiosity?
Not footy related but

The ireland vs Italy game is time of troubles in ireland and few were in bar in ireland and didn't make it home. Best reading about yourself as I wouldn't want offended people. Loughinisland shooting there's plenty on it
 

Robertd0803

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Not footy related but

The ireland vs Italy game is time of troubles in ireland and few were in bar in ireland and didn't make it home. Best reading about yourself as I wouldn't want offended people. Loughinisland shooting there's plenty on it
Ah yeah I remember now sadly. Was only 8 or 9 at the time so would have been shielded from that somewhat so it didnt link in my head.
 

dinostar77

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Obviously WC's watched as a child will hold a special place in the memory. For me personally, diego at 86, the intro on bbc for italia 90. He genius of hagi in usa94 etc.

However i think WCs have lost something as the world has become more connected.

There was something special about seeing a big name on screen for the first time. Or knowing absolutely nothing about a team and then being suprised by how good some of their players are.

I think that might be why world cups such as 70, 74,82 are held in such high regard.

The past few world cups for me have been a blur without any real memories of note. Or maybe thats a thing with getting older, and the magic of the world cup disappearing like the magic of disney does when your not a child anymore.
 

Josh 76

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Obviously WC's watched as a child will hold a special place in the memory. For me personally, diego at 86, the intro on bbc for italia 90. He genius of hagi in usa94 etc.

However i think WCs have lost something as the world has become more connected.

There was something special about seeing a big name on screen for the first time. Or knowing absolutely nothing about a team and then being suprised by how good some of their players are.

I think that might be why world cups such as 70, 74,82 are held in such high regard.

The past few world cups for me have been a blur without any real memories of note. Or maybe thats a thing with getting older, and the magic of the world cup disappearing like the magic of disney does when your not a child anymore.
Agree
 

Raees

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1998 for me... great sides, great players, narratives galore... Beckham sending off, Owen goal, R9, rise of Zidane, Laudrup, Dutch side, a good Argentina side... so many things going for that World Cup.

Since then, there has been some ok tournaments - 2010 was poor, but nothing really that has matched up to 1998. Prior to that 1982 was probably the last great tournament, although 1986 is a tad underrated. 1970 would have to be a contender for the greatest... like 1998, absolutely stacked with great sides and great games.

Euro's wise... 2000 was phenomenal. 2008 was good. Generally all the others have been ok - its base level is usually better than a World Cup on average.
 

galwayfa

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1986 for me, Maradona, Lineker hat trick, the soviet union hat trick from Belanov and still lost 4 3 , the Brazilians and the penalty that knocked them out from Fernandez, players called Rats and Bats( its funny what names stick in your head), Ireland still in 2 channel land so these were guys we only read about, maybe watched them odd time, it was first and only sticker book i finished, Denmark hammered Ireland in qualifying and were a joy to watch in tournament,
 
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