Tuesday 29 November 2022, 09:15

Ian Wright: Football naturally brings people together

“The fact that the World Cup comes around only every four years is special. The World Cup is what every single player dreams of winning.” We are living in uncertain times filled with conflicts and global crises. The world is divided. The FIFA World Cup, through the power of football will bring people together to cross borders, unite and celebrate together. Football Unites the World will be a global movement to inspire, unite and develop through football. FIFA Legends have shared their stories of how football united their respective countries during uncertain times, and before the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ kicked off, we took Ian Wright for a walk down memory lane.

Ian Wright is one of the greatest goalscorers in English football over recent decades. An extraordinarily consistent club career produced over 300 goals and 33 caps for England. Modern audiences have come to know the Londoner through his work in the media, where he has covered multiple FIFA World Cups in the process. “My earliest memory is probably Brazil, that great Brazil side of 1970 and supporting Brazil, Johan Cruyff, the Cruyff turn in the [1974] World Cup,” Wright says, adding that Diego Maradona’s second goal against England at Mexico 1986 as “most iconic moment for me in the World Cup”.

Football Unites the World | Ian Wright

Despite Wright’s passion for the World Cup from a young age, injuries played a part as Wright twice missed out on football’s greatest stage. Wright though was pivotal in helping England reach France ‘98 with a memorable draw in Rome against an all-star Italy side, a match the striker described as the “my best ever 90 minutes on the football pitch”. “The World Cup comes around only every four years and sometimes you can miss it through injury or through form and it’s not something that [you can say] ‘Oh, I’ll get it the next time.’ When it comes around you’ve got to be ready and it’s always so exciting because we have to wait so long for it. “Football brings people together. I always feel that it’s something that just happens naturally with football because you can just go into a bunch of strangers and you can get on with it because football’s its own language, its own vibe. So football naturally just brings people together. So that’s what football will do, and continue to do that. “Just watching any captain lift the World Cup, for me is quite an emotional time because the journey for them to be holding the ultimate trophy is always quite a similar moment for me. It’s what every single player dreams of winning, the World Cup.”

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