World Cup 2014

World Cup Memories: 1994 World Cup opens eyes of USMNT legend Landon Donovan

We're 28 days away from the big dance in Brazil. To whet your appetite, LA Galaxy and US national team all-time leading scorer, Landon Donovan, who authored his own magic moment in South Africa 2010, tells us the World Cup memory that still sticks with him to this day.


I think my first dramatic moment watching the World Cup, that sort of made me realize what it's all about, was when Baggio missed that penalty in [the 1994 World Cup final].

I had seen tapes previously of Roberto Baggio playing in previous World Cups, and always thought he was so special, so I paid close attention then to the Brazil-Italy game, and watching him miss that penalty was pretty devastating. I was at my house, in front of the TV, in Redlands, Calif. That memory has stuck with me forever.

At that point, I didn't know about the pressures and things involved with taking a penalty kick. You obviously felt bad for the guy, but now, in retrospect, having played in World Cups and playing in games that have some meaning, you realize what that effect must have had on him. I mean, his whole country was depending on him, and he was a star, so you knew it was a devastating moment for him.

I was 12 and I didn't really know a lot about the sport, but I had watched tapes and stuff of highlights and things like that, and then going to that Argentina-Romania game [at the '94 World Cup] was such a big deal for me, because I'd never seen a live soccer game. I didn't know what it was about. That was a great game. I went to that game, and it sort of opened my eyes to the bigger world of soccer besides just playing club soccer or playing in my backyard.

I wish I had been older to properly understand [the '94 World Cup]. I was vaguely aware it was going on, I went to the game, there's no question that was the turning point in popularity in this country as far as people starting to understand what it was all about and with our team doing well, relatively well, it also helped. I only wish I had been a little bit older to better experience it.

Where were you when Baggio missed the penalty kick? Did Italy deserve to win that 1994 World Cup final over Brazil? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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