From: Stig Oppedal (
Subject: The Horror of The 1994 World Cup Draw
Date: January 25, 1994

A month after the televised draw in Las Vegas for the1994 FIFA World Cup, and the 
excruciating memories still haunt me. We knew that it was going to be hell, but no one 
imagined that a billion worldwide viewers would be reduced to the state of Colonel Kurtz from 
«Apocalypse Now!» and whisper «..the horror.... the horror...».

All anybody was interested in was the draw itself, but FIFA had planned an evening of what 
some call «entertainment», others «audiovisual torture». João Havelange, apart from banning 
Pelé from the proceedings, insisted that none of the performers should be younger than him. 
Willie Nelson mumbled «I just wanna be on the road again», and from the weary look on his 
face, you _knew_ he meant it. James Brown fumbled with his mike stand and dozed off the 
lyrics to «Living In America» while some anorexic bimbos shook their butts. Back in the 60’s, 
when James was the dynamic Godfather of Soul, he usually had to be helped off stage, 
wrapped in a blanket, after giving his all. When some moronic flunky wrapped a blanket 
around him after two minutes of lethargic toe-tapping, I just wanted to die from 
embarrassment for all those involved. 

Of the singers, only Rod Stewart had any connection with football, but what was the point of 
sending a videotaped performance from some L.A. bar? I didn’t even dare watch some of the 
really awful stuff, like Barry Manilow, but it really didn’t matter who was up there. Sound 
levels went up and down, while sound quality went down and further down. Half the time I 
had no idea knew what the hell was going on, which was often a relief.

When presenting a prestigious award like World Footballer Of The Year, it’s a good idea to 
build up the suspense, show a few clips of the three candidates, and then announce the winner. 
FIFA, presumably so they could have time for more funky «music», stampeded like a sex-
starved bull straight to the climax: «AndnowitistimeforWorldFootballerOfTheYearandthewinner 
isRobertoBaggio!». Of course, because of the sound I hadn’t the slightest idea of what 
they were talking about, but it would have been nice see some action shots of Romario and 

Marco van Basten came on and followed the old adage, «if you have nothing nice to say, read 
the cue cards». Rather unfortunately, the sound started to work at this time. 
Marco [stiff as a wooden shoo]: «Roberto Baggio.. is a great.. player.. and a.. worthy winner.. 
He.. has scored.. many great.. goals..» 
Viewers: «Wanker!» 

Possibly the worst part was watching a sycophantic Sepp Blatter fawn all over Faye Dunaway: 
Sepp: «Faye, I would like to.. [makes insincere smile] May I call you Faye?» 
Former movie diva: «Of _course_, Mr. Platter.» 
Sepp [on a desperate mission to score]: «Faye, I would like to thank you very much for 
hosting this show. We are very fortunate that a world-famous movie star of your charm, 
beauty, [ten minutes later], elegance, and warmth has graced our Draw. Thank you from the 
bottom of my heart.» 
Faye [smiling coyly - no one has flattered her like this since she stopped being a world-famous 
movie star 15 years ago]: «Why, _thank_ you, Mr.Blapper.» 
Viewers: «Aiiee!»

Then followed the presentation of the celebrity drawers, which, if nothing else, gave us a 
glimmer of hope that the actual draw would be made that night. The segment was rounded off 
with the introduction of six World Cup Greats: Eusebio! Bobby Charlton! Michel Platini! 
Marco van Basten! Roger Milla! Tony Meola! 
Viewers: «Who?»

What should have been the highlight, the actual draw, was, needless to say, a complete 
shambles. When a team came out of the hat their fans were unsure if they should cheer or not 
because they still had no clue what group they were in. If Norway were drawn first from the 
fourth seeding group, would we end up in Germany’s group, or would we end up in Brazil’s 
group «to cover the gap»? Were Belgium guaranteed an Asian side after they were the second 
European team drawn out of seeding group one? Wasn’t it a bit unfair that Argentina, Brazil 
and the US could _not_ meet the two weakest teams from group four, Saudi Arabia and South 
Korea? Things became clear only after Sepp used an hour to explain what the draw meant.
Viewers: «          « [catatonic]

The draw was near the end, the agony was over. Almost. For when Norway’s name was drawn 
out of the bowl - the proud conclusion to one and a half years of qualifying - the TV showed 
the Norwegian flag. 

Blue, white, and ....... orange.

Not red. _Orange_.

The horror........the horror...........the horror........