Knock them out!
First, I would like to precise that I've played this game when I was younger... till I've had my Game Boy Advance in the beginning of the 2000'. My old Game Boy was a long-time friend of vacations in Italy with my games like Jurassic Park, Tiny Toons, Tetris, Super Mario Land 1 and 2, Megaman 2, etc.. And the games belonging to my cousins I've kept because I was interested: Ultima, F1 Race, WarioLand, TMNT (Donatello was my favorite), Battle Ping Pong, Skate or Die, Side Pocket or World Cup.
World Cup... my first soccer game... and what a game!
You have to choose a team (knowing me and my Italian origins, you do guess which I've chosen), then choose the players who play (or do you choose who you'll be?) and then, you have to win against teams like France, USA (well, it's only taking the place of the chosen team in the race), Cameroon, Russia, Japan, etc. etc. I do not remember all the teams.
On the field, you can only control a player but this one can give order like tackle, slide, pass, shoot. And you can shoot to the goal with a special attack, very useful against powerful teams.
One of the features of the game is that there is no referee at all, so, be prepared to be tackled and knocked out for a second... More you're being knocked, less you're fast to be up again and you can finish a match K.-O. By chance, you can also do the same to your adversaries and it's always useful to have defenders "sleeping".
Another thing is the state of the field: you can have some rocks that have the same effect as a tackle or if you prefer, knock you out, you can slide on a frozen grass (Russians loooove that), etc. etc.
Every player is a cliché of the country represented: French players will have on their heat the typical hat for exemple. Also, players have different facial features, making them easy to recognize.
When you're winning, you'll get rewarded with a password, the traditional way in that time for continuing a play later.
Graphics are nice, not really varied but the Game Boy wasn't allowing what we know today. You have the feeling that you're in a anime. Anyway, you can see where you're going (hum not all the time, because I remember when running being a lot out of the field).
Soundtrack was probably good, as I've few memories about it but it was probably adapted to each team.
Gameplay was easy as I've explained: the player you've chosen can give his orders and can shoot to the goal with a special attack after getting a precise number of steps (thing I've just discovered a few day ago).
Well, fun was present and that's why I've become addicted to it.
Unfortunately, I never finished the game: I never kept passwords and well, my mind wasn't set on a special strategy, I was perhaps too young or too into my world of FPS for being a good soccer player.
The problem I've had with this game was the difficulty for me to give orders at the right time or to see them executed nicely, I saw a lot of my teammates being knocked out before giving the ball to me for example and well, that was something I didn't like: seeing my folks on the grass because they've been knocked out too many times.
I do not remember another default to the game, memories are memories but something is sure: if I must blame something about my tendency to tackle everyone in a soccer game, World Cup is the perfect culprit.
The Bottom Line
It was a time where the Game Boy was the number one in terms of handhelds. It was a time where the GBC wasn't even born.
It was a good time. World Cup is a good game. Funny, easy to play and with nice graphics.
If I do recommend it? Yes, of course, you can play it on a GBA, so, don't be afraid to buy it if you see it somewhere.
Because if you knock them out, you'll be the World Champions!