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Revisiting Chicago's World Cup Memories Two Decades Later

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World Cup fever is in full swing right now in Brazil, but 20 years ago, Chicago played an important role during the World Cup hosted by the United States. The 1994 World Cup is significant for being the only World Cup the United States has hosted, but it also stands as the most attended, having had nearly 3.6 million people attend the monthlong tournament. On June 17, 1994, the City of Chicago welcomed World Cup attendees to Soldier Field where the opening ceremony took place. Emceed by Oprah Winfrey, the opening ceremony was not without gaffes. When introducing Diana Ross, Oprah fell off the platform, and during her orchestrated performance, Diana Ross somehow managed to miss the goal after kicking the soccer ball from the penalty spot. Chicago went on to host several important matches, but may be best remembered for its over-the-top (and memorable) opening ceremony.


President Bill Clinton kicking off the opening ceremonies by welcoming the world to the United States. Soft rocker Richard Marx sang the national anthem.


Oprah Winfrey kicking off the main program and introducing Diana Ross.


Another video of Diana Ross' infamous performance.


The official theme song/music video for the 1994 World Cup.


Home movies from an international tourist visiting Chicago during the games.