Gosh this is good. Retro MBM: England 1-1 West Germany is a recreation of the 1990 World Cup semi final between England and Germany, in the online minute-by-minute report format. You might recall I’m a big fan of the Guardian’s online cricket coverage, which provides a wonderfully rich and interactive version of the game and plenty of side discussions to while away the time. The football version is a bit more hectic because of the nature of the game, but is a good way to keep up nonetheless. Some of their journalists have set up a site for reporting on old matches as though they were happening now and this is the first of them that I’ve seen.
So I was 8 in 1990. I don’t recall watching any football before that World Cup (apart from maybe a West Ham game that was on at some relatives’ house one time that was very boring). Italia 90 was exciting, even though I didn’t really know what was going on. My sisters and I liked it when England had goal kicks because we liked Peter Shilton. As he ran up to give the ball a big welly we’d all shout “Hit it, Shilton!” and very occasionally, “Shit it, Hilton!”
I think we understood something of how important the match was, though, because I can remember being crushed by the penalty shootout: something that would become horribly familiar in the ensuing decades but which was a real novelty at the time. I was extra sad because it was my favourite player – Shilton – who had failed to stop all those German penalties and I thought it was his fault that we had lost. My dad explained it wasn’t really but I still felt bad for him.
I gotta say, Rob Smyth has done a superb job with this: you can almost suspend disbelief when he writes things like:
Full time: England 1-1 West Germany How’s your ticker? For the third game in a row, England are going to extra-time – the first time that has ever happened in any World Cup. It’s the least they deserve after a fine, sophisticated performance, their best of the tournament by a mile. Bobby Robson is wandering round rallying the troops and giving tactical instructions to Paul Parker; Chris Waddle and Steve Bull are having a laugh about something. England look pretty relaxed. “We’ve got another half-hour and we might have penalties,“ says Des Lynam. “Are you ready for this?”
The whole thing still gives me shivers, especially with this on in the background: