Discovering Narnia: A love letter to USA 94

As I write this on Thursday morning, some four days into the 2022 World Cup, I have still only watched a single game so far- England’s clinical 6-2 dismantlement of Iran. I haven’t been consciously boycotting the tournament, even though I sometimes feel I probably should.

Simply, I haven’t had time to watch the other games. The women’s domestic season is continuing and I am very grateful for that, it’s kept me plenty busy and, for me, means I still have Arsenal during this strange winter hiatus on the men’s side.

Largely it has been a question of time and priority. I have a two-year old daughter and that has ruled out all of the 7pm kickoffs so far as I busy myself with her nightly routine. While I am telling you that I haven’t had time for this year’s World Cup thus far, it is perhaps telling that I haven’t really made time either.

And it is a pity because World Cups are such formative experiences for football fans, especially in youth. There is a trope that the World Cup that falls between your eighth and twelfth birthdays are the best World Cups and that is certainly the case for me.

I was ten years old for USA 94 and, therefore, that will always represent the gold standard of World Cups. I think there are reasons that USA 94 retains that magic (I am not naive enough to think that 1994 was some kind of age of innocence in both the FIFA sense and the broader social sense either).

From a personal perspective, the tournament happened straight after Arsenal won the Cup Winners Cup in 1994 which, to my mind, remains the club’s most underrated achievement. Following that tournament felt like a magic mystery box of players and clubs that one just couldn’t follow in 1994.

In the quarter-finals, Arsenal played Torino who had Croatian legend Robert Jarni. They also had Benito Carbone and Andrea Silenzi, who would later come to the Premier League. In the semi-finals it was PSG, who boasted the talents of George Weah, David Ginola and Brazilian pair…

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Author : Tim Stillman

Publish date : 2022-11-24 13:00:11

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