Twenty years??? Can I really recall so many memories from when I was so young? And so I will try to remember:
Twenty years of recording and re-watching classic matches. Twenty years of filling up a sticker album and looking out for who shares a birthday with me. Twenty years of wondering what life would've been like if I were born a boy and made it as a footballer. Twenty years of the first time I prioritise football over everything else.
Twenty years of consciously feeling the pain and the joy of unexpected results. Of the making of heroes and zeroes. Of "One World Cup Wonders" that failed to succeed at club level.
Twenty years of seeing grown, hard-looking men crying like the seven-year old girl I was on my first World Cup.
Italia, 1990. How lucky I felt to witness 'the greatest world cup in history', or so it was hailed as by their local press.
I remember being very aware of Colombia's campaign, thanks to my family. I remember the names of the Italian team, because I found them funny.
I remember the lavish opening ceremony and the fantastic TV intros before every match, with the name of every host city and every nation quialified's flag.
I remember Jurgen Klinsmann and Jose Basualdo, because they were the first footballers I've ever fancied.
I remember Bobby Robson, especially because the sticker album did not write his first name down. So I was always curious about this 'Robson' with no name.
I remember when all the italian, english and spanish players all played in domestic leagues. I remember being unaware (and for a good few years) of the existence of a French national team.
I remember the legend and the dramas in my own house. Maradona was no longer the hero, but the villain, and that's how I've always remembered him. Colombia, on their second world cup going thru to second round, only to lose foolishly against Cameroon.
I remember, and still have, the Coca Cola special edition bottles and cans. I remember the song! Why haven't they been able to write another song like 'Un' estate italiana'? The winners of 2006 knew this, and that's why they sang it after the final then.
I can't remember all the names and the number of goals. But I remember how I felt during the World Cup. And after every final match my countdown for the next one begins.
And I revive those feeling every four years. The opening ceremonies, the sticker albums, the wall charts, the 'special edition' souvenirs. And over all: The matches, the heroes, the zeroes, the pain... the joy.