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These piece was first published in the Coverage email newsletter on June 22, 2018.


To kick off (ha!) this football edition, I asked a couple of magazine makers about their favourite World Cup memory.

England v Colombia

“The best thing about watching the World Cup as a young kid is your ability to remain oblivious to things that happen outside of the games. I had no idea that Ian Wright had missed out on the England squad through injury, or that Gascoigne’s omission caused him to smash up Glen Hoddle’s room before he was restrained and given a Valium. All I knew was that matches were on, constantly. While England vs Tunisia had been screened in my year 5 classroom, my literal childlike excitement was tempered by the amount of sunlight allowed on the screen. I can remember Shearer’s first and Scholes’ second, but the fragmented recollection is also glazed in a dreamy, nostalgic haze.

“My first vivid memory of a World Cup game, therefore, was England’s second group match against Colombia, an occasion marked by Beckham’s (a player I modelled my playground and school football team game on) reintroduction into the team. As a football obsessed kid, I’d walk to my local park, either alone or with my best friend Domenico, in any weather, and imitate Beckham’s free kick and crossing technique. Adopting his now iconic trademark stance (right arm aloft, body slanted to the left, instep lovingly wrapped around the ball) I’d aim for tree trunks, fence stanchions, bench seats—anything tricky or extremely difficult—again and again. I must’ve looked mental.

“In any case, when Beckham stood over the ball in the first half, I could tell the position and distance were advantageous for him; his time had come, and in a small way, so had mine. In my minds eye I can still see him peeling away in celebration, arms pumping, his expression flooded with all the transcendent euphoria you would associate with scoring that calibre of goal on the world stage.”

—Calum Jacobs, founding editor-in-chief of Caricom

Caricom “explores the space where the Black-British experience and football intersect”, responding to the lack of diversity in football reportage.


Joe Cole’s goal vs Sweden 2006

“England’s naughties ‘golden generation’ is now the butt of jokes and the cause for nationwide introspection, but it wasn’t always like that. I picked this moment as it’s maybe the high point of personal giddy optimism for the national team. Everything since seems tainted somehow. On a personal level, this was the first tournament game I’d properly watched in a pub, sneakily getting sixth formers to supply me with the sweet nectar of Carling Black Label.

“England had won their opening two group games and so almost certainly already through to the knockout stages. 30 minutes into their toughest game so far Joe Cole casually has a pop with a looping volley into the top corner from 35 yards. This was Joe Cole, a mercurial talent whose early promise would be reduced to dust, scoring one of the best goals in tournament football, playing from England’s so called ‘problem position’. We dreamt, we failed and just like drinking Carling, we tried not to do it again.”

—Adam Sharratt, creative director of Top Corner

Top Corner is “an alternative look at the saturated world of Association Football”, and just released their 8th issue, the World Cup issue.