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Posted at 4:16 PM ET, 12/ 1/2010

Landon Donovan's inspiration: Romania vs. Argentina in the 1994 World Cup at the Rose Bowl

By Steve Goff

During his presentation on behalf of the USA World Cup bid today in Zurich, Landon Donovan revealed that his passion for international soccer was born in 1994, when, at age 12, he attended the World Cup round-of-16 match between Romania and Argentina at the Rose Bowl -- one of the finest games of the tournament.

"After watching Argentina-Romania play in the Rose Bowl, a dream was born in me," he said in his speech. "That dream was to emulate my heroes on the world's biggest stage, and five years later, I was given that opportunity at the FIFA Under-17 world championship. Like me, my teammates had been inspired by what had happened in 1994."

What made the Romania-Argentina match so special? Watch Romania's three artful goals:

By Steve Goff  | December 1, 2010; 4:16 PM ET
Categories:  Argentina, FIFA, U.S. men's national team, USA World Cup bid  | Tags:  Landon Donovan, World Cup  
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Next: Decision Day: 2018 and '22 World Cup

Comments

I love the mullet on #5.

Posted by: paj18 | December 1, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Remember that game and that Cup well. There were a lot of great goals in that tournament. Stoitchkov won the Golden Boot that WC, didn't he?

Posted by: Ron16 | December 1, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

One word: Hagi

Posted by: Reignking | December 1, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Nice highlights. I was six and don't remember paying attention, but I've looked up all sorts of highlights on youtube. I'd love to have one of my own here.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | December 1, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Hagi - where is he now?

Posted by: soccerman | December 1, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

The Hagi Sophia

Or coaching Galatasaray after Rijkaard was fired.

Posted by: Reignking | December 1, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

I had that same dream watching USA-Switzerland in Detroit. But I was 18 at the time and, well, had precious little talent.

What ever happened to Romania and Belgium?

Posted by: benonthehill | December 1, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Hagi was increidble. he must have come from 30 yards behind the play on that last goal.

and i guess a lot of young Italians (among others) had a close eye on that Batistuta flop to draw the penalty that evened it at 1-1.

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | December 1, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

His play may be regressing a little, but there's still a couple of things that make Jimmy Conrad awesome:


In the latest edition of his podcast, Conrad asks John Harkes if ESPN pays him for each time he uses the words "brilliant" or "JP", and if he intentionally butchers players names' on purpose. LOVE that guy.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | December 1, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

I don't like the headline on the "front page". "Qatar poised to steal"??? Then a different tagline when you click on the link. Mixed signals. Are you just hedging your bets Goff?

Posted by: DadRyan | December 1, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Ahhhhhh 1994 World Cup. I waited so patiently...played all growing up, went to the 1984 Olympic games in Annapolis, took immeasureable grief for being a soccer fan, watched WCs past on the local Spanish outlet..... Then, my submarine went on a 3 month deployment - June, July and August. Oh the memories!!!!
I really hope the USA gets 2022.....I have grand plans!!

Posted by: marksman37 | December 1, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Jonathan Spector should have been in the midfield for Argentina.

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | December 1, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Approximately 110 days until United's first 2011 league match!


How things have changed since 1994.

Posted by: Curious99 | December 1, 2010 10:04 PM | Report abuse

I just watched the bid presentations for the US, Qatar, and Australia....here are a few notes

The US presentation was far too business oriented until Clinton came on - he really pushed the fact that all the revenue proposed by the other speakers (I'm looking at you Gulati) would really benefit the entire world through FIFA, which made the bid. (now, I doubt how much of that would actually reach development initiates globally, considering the sheer number of corrupt layers you'd have to go through with both FIFA, the confederations, the national associations AND the actual governments, but we'll ignore that)

The Qatari presentation's focus on the Middle East was powerful. Everything about that made me want it to go there. Also, the concepts shown for the stadia and the transportation in the city were breathtaking. Plus, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hamad Al-Thani, youngest brother of the current Emir, was probably the best non-native speaker of any language in the presentations...his French was great. He also had the classiest suit I've seen in a long time, regardless of the fact that I live in Switzerland and see some filthy rich people daily.

That said, the Australian presentation was the best, hands down. Even the kitschy computer generated thief kangaroo video ended up working out! Having been at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and the Rugby World Cup in 2003, everything they said rang true and I know Australia would be the best host of the these three for a visiter to the country and Australians alike.

My bet is that once Japan and Korea are knocked out of the first two rounds of voting, almost all of their supporters will switch to Australia and Qatar, and the US will be eliminated in the third round. After that, the majority of the US supporters will switch to Australia and the WC will go down under for a truly epic event. Here's to hoping.

Posted by: TassieTiger | December 1, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

I went to the opening game of the WC in '94 in Chicago, Germany vs. Bolivia. Germany dominated but was only up by a goal. The Bolivians started going absolutely crazy when a young player started warming up in about the 75th minute. Everyone around me asked why they were going crazy. The reason, the player was El Diablo, Marco Etcheverry, who was supposed to be too injured to play. But, with his team in the game against the heavily favored Germans (defending champs)the coach wants to give it a shot.

What happens? Etcheverry comes on the field and both the Bolivians and German fans are going crazy. The Bolivians think they have a chance and the Germans don't want to start with a tie in a game they are supposed to win. Unfortunately El Diablo lives up to his nickname by kicking Lottar Matthaus, getting a red card and being sent off about 3 minutes later. It was so deflating. It was like the life was sucked out of the game and the crowd. The Germans kicked the ball around for the last 5 minutes and the Bolivians didn't even really both to chase it. I have often wondered how much more exciting the end of that game would have been if he could have stayed on the field.

Posted by: Golden_Child | December 1, 2010 11:29 PM | Report abuse

and yes, I am Australian and may be biased, but I'm also American so I can't be totally biased

Posted by: TassieTiger | December 1, 2010 11:30 PM | Report abuse

both = bother

Posted by: Golden_Child | December 1, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

@Tassie Tiger

The one thing that is working against Australia and all of the Asian bids (Australia in the AFC since 2006) is something that didn't come up in any of the presentations, the interest of China in 2026. FIFA wants to go there and if they pick an Asian team (everyone except the US) for 2022 they will be kept from going to China for at least another 12 years or so.

The US bid is the safe choice and the logical choice. That doesn't mean that FIFA will pick us though.

Posted by: Golden_Child | December 1, 2010 11:37 PM | Report abuse

I'm rooting for the U.S, but if Qatar gets I will be fascinated to see what amazing stadiums they will construct with all that money.

Posted by: Dlewis6 | December 2, 2010 12:15 AM | Report abuse

"I'm rooting for the U.S, but if Qatar gets I will be fascinated to see what amazing stadiums they will construct with all that money."

Ah yes, it'll be awesome to see the last few drops of oil powering the world cup.

The Aussies have spent a good bit of money figuring out how to move a lot of folks around all their major cities (except Perth). Qatar is a mirage, and the USA depends, ridiculously, upon jet airplanes and automobiles. Australia would get my vote, sadly.

Posted by: Mastodon_Juan | December 2, 2010 12:48 AM | Report abuse

One of the greatest World Cup games of all time. The only one I would put ahead would be France West Germany in the 1982 semifinals. Ruminegge leads Germany back from 2 goals down IN OVERTIME!

Posted by: GeneWells | December 2, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

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