What do you rate as the greatest world cup in terms of quality of football, individual brilliance, drama, organisation, refereeing, facilities etc.
I will plump for Mexico 86 for the following reasons:
1- Since the expansion to 32 teams in 1998 the standard of football has noticeably declined and as such 2010, 2006, 2002 and 1998 have to be regarded as poor world cups and progressively poorer world cups won by progressively poorer teams.
2- While USA 94 was a absolute masterclass in organisation and facilities there were a lot of poor games and games ruined by the excessive heat and humidity. An uncharachteristically boring Brazil edging out an even more boring Italy in the final.
3- Italia 90 was possibly the most boring tournament in modern memory with excessively defensive play employed all around.
4- Mexico 86 was the pinnacle of attacking football and got better as the tournament progressed. The quarter final between France and Brazil was rated by Pele as the greatest ever world cup match. The individual brilliance of Maradona will never be repeated. All of the quarter finalists were worthy winners.
5- Spain 82 was a very very close second but for Zico's Brazil choking in the match with Italy. France blowing the semi-final with Germany also robbed us of a great winning team.
6- The world cups under the 16 team format never really got going until the 60's as modern football as we know it didnt exist then as such pre-62 world cups cant be compared.
7- The absurd refereeing in 62 and 66 made a mockery of those tournaments: Garrincha sent off in the 62 semi-final but allowed to play in the final and the comically biased hometown refereeing in 66.
8- Mexico 1970 was a close 3rd as a sublime Brazil and nearly sublime England lit up the tournament. Alf Ramsey's decision to sub off Charlton and Peters against Germany robbed us of quite possibly the greatest final of them all. The drama of the later rounds was thrilling especially the semi-final between Germany and Italy.
9- Germany 74 was a boring affair with few exciting games and no South American team on song. The Dutch caving in at the final hurdle a tragedy.
10- Argentina 78 had lots of good football but far too much dodgy carry on and another Dutch self destruct in the final.
Love to hear what you think.