Feature written ahead of the previous World Cup in 2006.
A is for Armageddon
Argentinean keeper Carlos Roa saved penalties from Paul Ince and David Batty to knock England out of the 1998 World Cup. But the teetotal vegetarian, nicknamed “the Lettuce”, quit football after the tournament in anticipation of an impending Armageddon, announcing that the world would end on 31 December 1999. Roa distanced himself from that claim somewhere around 1 January 2000.
B is for Barefoot
India qualified for the 1950 World Cup finals by default after qualifying group rivals Burma, the Philippines, and Indonesia all withdrew. But the Indians never made it to the tournament – they were banned by FIFA from participating after refusing to play in anything other than bare feet. India have yet to qualify for a World Cup in boots…
Full story published in Loaded, July 2006. I wrote several features for Loaded prior to the launch of this website.