World Cup 2014

World Cup Memories: Jermain Defoe's consolation for missing out on Brazil? His magic moment in South Africa

There are 17 days until the 2014 World Cup, but Toronto FC's English forward Jermain Defoe knows he won't be traveling to Brazil unless there's an injury to one of four English forwards called into camp by Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson.

But whether he ultimately makes it or not, no one will be able to take away his participation in the 2010 edition. His name was etched in the annals of tournament history with a goal against Slovenia in the group stage, which launched England into the knockout round (watch it above). He talks about it here:


My goal [for England] against Slovenia. That was great, and it was a great World Cup because it was in South Africa. It’s a special country. I’ve always loved Nelsen Mandela, so when I got picked to go to that World Cup in South Africa, it was special for me and my family.

Even when I went, I didn’t really expect to play straight away because leading up to the World Cup I was in and out of the team. I managed to get into the team, played and scored. It’s great. The feeling’s just amazing. It’s something I want for my young kid and I want that feeling again.

There’s been many players that I’ve looked up to – great forwards that have played in the Premier League – who never really got a chance to go to a World Cup. I realize how special it is and you can’t really take anything for granted because one day when I look back, I can say that I’ve been to two World Cups. [He also traveled to Germany in 2006, but did not play].

I remember the last World Cup, the altitude was a factor. But beforehand, I remember I got one of those altitude tents and slept in it, in my house, for four months before the World Cup.

There are many [World Cup moments] I remember: Italia '90, when [Paul Gascoigne] came onto the scene – he was unbelievable as a youngster. Michael Owen, in France '98, a youngster, and an unbelievable goal against Argentina. Japan and Korea [in 2002], when Beckham scored that penalty after what happened in '98. There’s so many, I can stand here and talk about so many because I love my football. I watch all the classic games still.

WORLD CUP MEMORIES:

Alexi Lalas: Legend's all-time favorite moment was a hand ball

Clint Dempsey: Childhood dreams come true with a single goal

Bruce Arena: First World Cup game? Only one of the biggest upsets in history

Landon Donovan: Baggio's missed PK in '94 leaves profound impact on US great

Kyle Beckerman: The Saudi Arabian who inspired RSL's World Cup hopeful

Jason deVos: 1986ers pave the way for future Canadian national team star

Will Johnson: Timbers captain experiences agony and ecstasy in 120 minutes in 1998

Michael Bradley: The miracle comeback that he helped author in South Africa 2010

Carlos Valderrama: The goal that brings goosebumps to every Colombian

Clint Mathis: The Mohawk and the Red Sea in South Korea

Robbie Keane: Lady Luck shines on Republic of Ireland in 2002

Tim Cahill: RBNY star goes down in the history books in 2006

Grant Wahl: How the 1998 final shaped a Sports Illustrated writer's career