Saturday, June 11, 2011

11 June 1990 - I Prefer To Think He Was Just Helping Fertilize The Pitch

On June 11 1990, England's Gary Lineker had two memorable World Cup moments: scoring a goal against Ireland and crapping his pants.

Playing before a crowd of 35,238 at Cagliari's Stadio Sant'Elia, England met Ireland in the first group stage match for both teams. Lineker, who had just finished his first season with Tottenham Hotspur as the top flight's leading scorer, put the Three Lions ahead in the 8th minute. Chris Waddle sent a long ball into the box, where Lineker rushed onto it and chested it down past the prone Irish keeper. The ball bounced over the keeper's legs and rolled toward the goal, only for Lineker to catch up to it and give it sliding kick home.

Irish midfielder Kevin Sheedy scored an equalizer in the 72rd minute and the match ended 1-1. Both teams advanced out of the group stage, with Ireland eventually falling to Italy in the quarterfinals and England to West Germany in the semifinals.

At the time, the press reported that Lineker had been suffering from stomach cramps during the match. But twenty years later, in 2010, Lineker revealed the full extent of his suffering--while trying to making a tackle, he lost control of his bowels. Footage of the match shows Lineker sliding around on his bottom and wiping his hands on the grass. In describing the incident, he remarked that he "never found so much space" afterward.

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