World Cup Wonders #2: Day One and the Non-Flying Dutchman

Well, what a start from the host nation: Russia 5 – 0 Saudi Arabia!

Not that the Saudi’s are much of a threat (to other football teams, I mean, not basic human rights), but the opening game for the host nation can be quite the pressure cooker, with leaders in attendance and expectations high with locals. So well done to the Russian players who went out and won fairly in devastating fashion (we’ll assume fairly for now).

(That’s the last time I’ll bring politics into the sport, I promise.)

Football politics

Should we leave politics aside when it comes to sport? Probably.


Anyway, the opening game is over and the 2018 FIFA World Cup is underway. And for the second instalment of World Cup Wonders, we’re going back twenty years to 1998. It was the year the Good Friday Agreement was signed, a small company named Google was founded, Halloween H20 came out (and twenty years later we’ve got a new one – oohhhh  yyeaaaahh!), Titanic became the first film to gross US$1 billion, the assembly of the International Space Station began, and France were the hosts of the World Cup.

We were well passed the group stages. Holland had beaten Yugoslavia in the last 16 to progress to the next round. Argentina had broke English hearts (or was that David Beckham’s doing?), and a mouth-watering quarter-final tie between the two footballing giants awaited eager fans around the globe.

After Patrick Kluivert had opened the scoring with 12 minutes on the clock, Claudio Lopez fired back to equalize a mere five minutes later. It would remain 1-1 until the 90th minute, when captain Frank de Boer would send a smashing long ball in the direction of the non-flying Dutchman Dennis Bergkamp (his fear of flying has been well-documented), who would produce one of the most memorable moments in World Cup history.

Mr. Bergkamp – we’re not worthy!

World Cup Wonder #2:

Dennis Bergkamp’s beauty against Argentina

Year: 1998

Venue: Stade Vélodrome, Marseille

Final Score: Netherlands 2 -1 Argentina

Watch the maestro Dennis Bergkamp do his thing against Argentina.


Dennis Bergkamp celebrates his sublime goal v Argentina at the 1998 FIFA World Cup

What did you make of the opening game of the 2018 World Cup? Is Bergkamp’s goal v Argentina one of the greatest ever? Share your thoughts below!

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