It was the year 1994.I was 12 years old and I was attending class 8. It was early June. Unfortunate or fortunate was I, cos I had an attack of typhoid and that meant I had to take rest at home. No school. But Oh Yea! I could watch each and every single soccer world cup match on Doordarshan. That was the only world cup which still lingers in my memory cells. Each and every player, every team, every incident, crosses my mind every now and then.

I had a few dissappointments at the beginning of the tournament. The hand of God Master - maradona was banned from playing the world cup for alleged use of a banned drug,ephedrine. England did not qualify for the world cup. I was dissappointed cos I could not watch Gary Linekar in action.Tragedy loomed the first round when the Columbian defender Escobar was shot dead for scoring an own goal against USA.The death of the poor columbian footballer was the talk of the town. Here in the picture below, Escobar scores that own goal that cost his life.

There were a few surprises too. Bulgaria was the giant killer of the tournament. They even shocked the 1990 Champions Germany in the quarterfinals. Bulgaria's Success was mainly due to the six toe-striker Stoichkov. He kept on scoring goals in every match and even took their team to the semifinals where they eventually lost to the runner-up Italy who thumped them because they had the magician Roberto Baggio in their team.In the picture below Stoichkov scores the goal of the tournament in Bulgaria's shock win against Germany.

The tournament also the saw the Baby-Rock celebration for the first time. In the quarter finals eventual champions were up against the colorful Holland. Brazilian,Bebeto's wife delivered a baby boy the day before and he could not be with his wife due to the match. Quite interestingly Bebeto scored in the match against the Dutch and he started this new celebration style. This celebration style is now very common even in school level soccer tournaments.

But the biggest unnoticed moment in the world cup came in the second round match between Brazil and USA. Brazil eventually won 1-0 due to a wonderful goal by Bebeto. This match goes down in the history of the world cups as the most roughly played game. 7 yellow cards and 2 red cards marred this game.The Brazilians danced to the samba music and the Americans targeted the legs of the Brazilians. Just before halftime three American players cornered the Brazilian Mauro Silva and out of rage the Brazilian midfielder pushed an American defender down.

The refferee rushed to the scene and in a state of confusion showed an yellow card to the US defender and flashed an yellow card to Mauro Silva also.Mauro was already shown a yellow card in the opening minutes of the game and hence the refferee flashed the dreaded Red card and gave marching orders for Mauro. Mauro showed his sense of humor at this juncture when he shouted," Why don't you just give me a Green card. I'd rather become a resident of America". This even made the refferee laugh.

The world cup finally ended with Brazil lifting the cup. The magician roberto baggio's last magic trick became a failure as he boomed his penalty kick into the crowd. The Samba dancers danced again.

Note: I played soccer too for the firm I work for. I was also the star player for my team . The interesting story about how I became a football star would soon hit this page.