My first memory of the World Cup was actually through a movie about the World Cup in Mexico of 1970. I was 12.
At that time, TV Malaysia was still in its infancy and my family was still settling down after coming to Petaling Jaya from Singapore a year before. I was in Secondary One in La Salle PJ.
Not yet a football fanatic, I heard about the magic of Brazilian football and when they won the World Cup in 1970, the news was something that was not electric nor mind boggling. It was just another piece of football news.
I was more interested in football comics, and at that time, I was reading Shoot, Score and Roy of the Rovers.
So when the movie about Mexico 1970 came to our screens (months after the tournament ended), I went more as a movie fan than a footie fan. Yes, of course I heard about Pele, but no I haven't heard about Jairzinho. It wan't really a big deal for me yet.
I did however know about the miraculous save by Gordon Banks. That I wanted to see for myself, because I was at that time toying the idea of being a goalie in school.
The movie was awesome. I still think that it was and still is the best movie ever made about football. Looking back, I also think that it was the best World Cup ever staged.
There was Brazil in full force.
There was the defending champions, England.
And then there was Gerd Muller of Germany, and of course the Italians.
The big match was between Brazil and England. And at last, I saw the miraculous save of Banks (pic above) from Pele. (However, since then, I think Peter Shilton and Dino Zoff had made some saves as good if not better than Banks on the world stage). Despite Banks' heroics, Bobby Charlton's men fell to a superior Brazil.
In this world cup, there were many interesting firsts - Muller scored consecutive hattricks and became the championship's top scorer. Jairzinho on the other hand became the only player ever to score in every game of the tournament.
And, of course, there was silky Pele, playing in his final World Cup. In the end, he scored four goals. Jairzinho scored seven. Muller scored ten. But it was still Pele's crowning victory.
The world cup in Mexico had one of the most memorable finals ever - Brazil vs Italy.
The names in both teams were legendary. Brazil fielded some of the biggest names ever to grace football - Pele, Gerson, Alberto, Rivelino, Tostao, Felix and Jairzinho (pic above). The Italians fielded Albertosi, Cera, Boninsegna and Riva.
In the end, it was a rout. Brazil 4 Italy 1.
And the Jules Rimet trophy was won for the third time by Brazil. And with that they kept the trophy forever. And that was how I remembered my first Word Cup experience. In the cinema.
Later, with the advance of TV, through magazines and through the English league, football and the world cup became somewhat of an obsession for me and my friends. Whilst I became a bonafide Liverpool FC fan since mid 70s, I never had a World Cup team that I supported blindly.
Surprisingly, I never supported the big names like Brazil, England or Germany. I did support Italy for awhile because they had Dino Zoff. I supported France for awhile because they had Platini. I supported Argentina because they had Maradona. It depends on many factors.
This year, I am an Oranjie supporter. I feel that it is time the Dutch to shine. They were unbeatable in the run up, and I hope they remain unbeatable throughout the whole tournament. Failing that, I have to go for Spain. I have to support Holland anyway because my son bought me an early Father's Day gift - an original Holland team jersey. He wears Brazilian colors and my daughter wears Torres' colors. Soon we will see whose colors triumph.
But hey, wouldn't it be really nice to see South Korea going all the way too?