Chris O (follow on Twitter: @COakleyFtbl)
Wed 20 June 2007

Ah yes, I remember it well (kind of...)

This time last year, the 2006 FIFA World Cup was well underway. The final round of group matches were being played and football fans around the planet were enjoying the exciting goals that were being scored from seemingly all parts of the pitch.

Amazing to think that a year has passed since all the action in Germany was taking place, isn't it? So many memories we now have of the colour and the spectacle as nation upon nation entered the field of footballing battle.

I do, however, have a confession to make. I don't really remember all that much about it.

Now before you ask - no I didn't spend much of June and July 2006 in a drunken state. I am not and have never been dependent on a copious alcoholic intake.

The real reason why my memory of the last World Cup is incredibly patchy may lie in the fact that my wife-to-be (as she was then) was due to give birth to our baby daughter within a matter of weeks. To say that our minds were on other things is an understatement. There were hospital appointments to be booked, nappies to be bought, a nursery to be furnished… so much to do in so little time.

It's fair to say that this would explain why my mind wasn't completely on the World Cup. I feel a bit of a fraud, quite frankly. As a child I would soak up every World Cup Finals that ever took place with a passion. I'd study the statistics of every match, watch every game on TV, analyse every team line-up - a passion that lasted me well into adulthood - and yet here I stand today looking decidedly vague when someone talks to me about the last minute victory by Italy over Australia in the quarter-finals or Ghana's impressive 2-0 win over the Czech Republic in Round 1.

My good friend Smart told me at the time that this was arguably one of the best World Cups ever. Lots of great goals, great games, great teams, yet I remember feeling decidedly lukewarm about it back then. I know now that he was right - largely because I recently purchased a DVD showing all the goals of the tournament. There was all the evidence I needed: excited, roaring crowds in attendance for every match, long-range shots and intricate team passing leading to goals of every kind… did someone steal my mind last summer while I wasn’t looking?

All I can say is 'thank heaven for DVDs'. At least now all those distant images in my head of the things that happened have been brought back clearly into focus. It really was a great tournament and one which many of us will look back on with a warm feeling. I just wished I'd known that the first time around…

Do you have a blind spot in your World Cup memory collection? Can you remember where you were for specific World Cup games of the past? Leave us a comment and tell us all about it!

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