The 14th Edition - Italy 1990
The 1990 FIFA World Cup was the 14th FIFA World Cup, The quadrennial international football world championship tournament. It was held from 8 June to 8 July 1990 in Italy, the second country to host the event twice (the first being Mexico in 1986). Teams representing 116 national football associations from all six populated continents entered the competition, with its qualification process beginning in April 1988. A total of 22 teams qualified from this process, along with host nation Italy and defending champion Argentina. The official match ball was the Adidas Etrusco Unico. The 1990 FIFA World Cup was the first World Cup that was officially recorded and transmitted in HDTV by the Italian broadcaster RAI in association with the Japanese NHK broadcaster.
The tournament was won by West Germany, who claimed their third World Cup title by defeating reigning champions Argentina 1–0 in the final, a rematch of the previous final four years earlier. Hosts Italy beat England 2–1 to finish third after both lost their semi-finals in penalty shootouts. It would be the last tournament to feature a German side representing the divided Germany, with the country being reunified later in 1990.
The 1990 World Cup is widely regarded as one of the poorest World Cups ever. It generated a record low goals-per-game average of just 2.21- a record that still stands to date - and a then-record 16 red cards were handed out, including the first ever dismissal in a final. Despite this, the 1990 World Cup stands as one of the most watched events in television history, garnering an estimated 26.69 billion non-unique viewers, compiled over the course of the tournament. At the time it was the most watched World Cup in history in non-unique viewers, but was subsequently bettered by the 1994 and 2002 FIFA World Cups.
Following the 1990 World Cup, the back-pass rule was introduced in 1992 to discourage time-wasting and overly defensive play, and wins were awarded three points in the group stage of the 1994 World Cup to encourage more attack-minded tactics and discourage the strategy of playing for a draw.
The vote to choose the hosts of the 1990 tournament was held on 19 May 1984 in Zürich, Switzerland. Here, the FIFA Executive Committee chose Italy ahead of the only rival bid, the USSR, by 11 votes to 5. This awarding made Italy only the second nation to host two World Cup tournaments, after Mexico had also achieved this with their 1986 staging. Italy had previously had the event in 1934, where they had won their first championship.
Austria, England, France, Greece, West Germany and Yugoslavia also submitted initial applications for 31 July 1983 deadline. A month later, only England and Greece remained in the hunt with Italy and the Soviet Union after the other contenders all withdrew. All four bids were assessed by FIFA in late 1983, with the final decision overrunning into 1984 due to the volume of paperwork involved. In early 1984, England and Greece also withdrew, leading to a two-horse race in the final vote. The Soviet boycott of the 1984 Olympic Games announced on the eve of the World Cup decision was speculated to have been a major factor behind Italy winning the vote so decisively, although this was dismissed by FIFA President João Havelange. 116 teams entered the 1990 World Cup, with 114 being required to qualify (due to rejected entries and withdrawals, 103 teams eventually participated in the qualifying stages). Italy as host nation and Argentina as reigning World Cup champions were granted automatic qualification, with the remaining 22 finals places divided among the continental confederations.
Thirteen places were contested by UEFA teams (Europe), three by CONMEBOL teams (South America), two by CAF teams (Africa), two by AFC teams (Asia), and two by CONCACAF teams (North and Central America and Caribbean). The remaining place was decided by a play-off between CONMEBOL and OFC (Oceania).
Both Mexico and Chile were disqualified during the qualification process; the former for fielding an overage player in a prior youth tournament, the latter after goalkeeper Roberto Rojas faked injury from a firework thrown from the stands, which caused the match to be abandoned. Chile were also banned from the 1994 qualifiers for this offence.
Three teams qualified for the first time: Costa Rica, the Republic of Ireland and the United Arab Emirates.
Returning after long absences were Egypt, who appeared for the first time since 1934; the United States, who competed for the first time since 1950; Colombia, who appeared for the first time since 1962; and Romania, who last appeared at the Finals in 1970.
Among the teams who failed to qualify were Hungary, France, Poland, and Portugal. As of 2014, this was the last time that Egypt and United Arab Emirates qualified for a FIFA World Cup finals.
Twelve stadiums were selected to host the World Cup matches in twelve different cities. The Stadio San Nicola in Bari and Turin's Stadio delle Alpi were completely new venues opened for the World Cup.
The remaining ten venues all underwent extensive programmes of improvements in preparation for the tournament, forcing many of the club tenants of the stadia to move to temporary homes. Additional seating and roofs were added to most stadia, with further redevelopments seeing running tracks removed and new pitches laid. Due to structural constraints, several of the existing stadia had to be virtually rebuilt in order to implement the changes required.
Most of the construction cost in excess of their original estimates, and total costs ended up being over £550 million (approximately $935 million). Rome's Stadio Olimpico which would host the final was the most expensive project overall, while Udine's Stadio Friuli, the newest of the existing stadia (opened 14 years prior), cost the least to redevelop.
Squads for the 1990 World Cup consisted of 22 players, as for the previous tournament in 1986. Replacement of injured players was permitted during the tournament at FIFA's discretion. Two goalkeepers – Argentina's Ángel Comizzo and England's Dave Beasant – entered their respective squads during the tournament to replace injured players (Nery Pumpido and David Seaman)
The six seeded teams for the 1990 tournament were announced on 7 December 1989. The seeds were then allocated to the six groups in order of their seeding rank (1st seed to Group A, 2nd seed to Group B, etc.).
The seeds were decided by FIFA based on the nations' performance in, primarily, the 1986 World Cup with the 1982 World Cup also considered as a secondary influence. Six of the final eight in 1986 had qualified for the 1990 tournament. Italy – who were seeded first as hosts – had not reached the final eight in 1986, and this left FIFA needing to exclude one of the three (qualified) nations who were eliminated in the 1986 quarter finals: Brazil, England or Spain.
Owing to their performance in 1982 but also to their overall World Cup record, Brazil were seeded third and not considered to drop out of the seedings. FIFA opted to seed England ahead of Spain. Spain had only been eliminated in 1986 on penalties, while England had been defeated in 90 minutes; both countries had also reached the second stage in the 1982 event, but Spain had also appeared in the 1978 event, while England had failed to qualify. FIFA President João Havelange had reportedly earlier stated that Spain would be seeded.
Spain believed the seeding was contrived to ensure England would be placed in Group F, the group to be held off the Italian mainland, in a bid to contain England's hooliganism problems. Spanish coach Luis Suárez said, "We feel we've been cheated...they wanted to seed England and to send it to Cagliari at all costs. So they invented this formula". FIFA countered that "the formula was based on the teams' respective showings during the previous two World Cups. England merited the sixth position. This is in no way a concession to English hooliganism".
On 9 December 1989 the draw was held at the Palazzetto dello Sport in Rome, where the group lineups and order of matches was determined. The ceremony was hosted by Italian television presenter Pippo Baudo, with Italian actress Sophia Loren and opera singer Luciano Pavarotti conducting the draw alongside FIFA general secretary Sepp Blatter.
The draw show was FIFA's most ambitious yet with Pelé, Bobby Moore and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, as well as a performance of the tournament's official song, "Un'estate italiana" being performed by Edoardo Bennato and Gianna Nannini.
The event also featured the official mascot of this World Cup, Ciao, a stick figure player with a football head and an Italian tricolor body. Its name is an Italian greeting.
The finals tournament began in Italy on 8 June and concluded on 8 July. The format of the 1990 competition remained the same as in 1986: 24 qualified teams were divided into six groups of four. The top two teams and four best third place finishers from the six groups advanced to the knockout stage, which eliminated the teams until a winner emerged. In total, 52 games were played.
The tournament generated a record low goals-per-game average and a then-record of 16 red cards were handed out. In the knockout stage, many teams would "play it safe" for 120 minutes and try their luck in the penalty shoot-out, rather than risk going forward. There were four penalty shootouts, a record subsequently equaled in the 2006 tournament. The overall extra-time matches were eight, a record in FIFA World Cup tournaments that still stands.
Ireland and Argentina were prime examples of this trend of cautious defensive play; the Irish scored just twice in five games in drawing all their matches until their defeat to Italy in the quarter-finals. Losing finalists Argentina, meanwhile, scored only five goals in the entire tournament (a record low for a finalist that stood until 2010). Argentina also became the first (and so far only) team to advance twice on penalty shootouts, the first team to fail to score in a World Cup final, and the first to have a player sent off in a World Cup final.
Largely as a result of this trend FIFA introduced the back-pass rule in time for the 1994 tournament in order to make it harder for teams to time-waste by repeatedly passing the ball back for their goalkeepers to pick up. Three, rather than two, points would be awarded for victories at future tournaments to help further encourage attacking play.
Cameroon reached the quarter-finals, where they were narrowly defeated by England. They opened the tournament with a shock victory over reigning champions Argentina, before topping the group ahead of both them and European Championship runners-up the Soviet Union. Their success was fired by the goals of Roger Milla, a 38-year-old forward who came out of international retirement to join the national squad at the last moment after a personal request from Cameroonian President Paul Biya. Milla's four goals and flamboyant goal celebrations made him one of the tournament's biggest stars as well as taking Cameroon to the last eight. In reaching this stage, they had gone further than any African nation had ever managed in a World Cup before; a feat only equalled twice since (by Senegal in 2002 and Ghana in 2010). Their success was African football's biggest yet on the world stage, and FIFA subsequently decided to offer the CAF qualifying zone an additional place for the next World Cup tournament.
Despite the performances of nations such as Cameroon, Colombia and Costa Rica, the semi-finalists consisted of Argentina, England, Italy and West Germany, all previous World Cup winners, with a total of eight previous titles between them. After the 1970 tournament, this is only the second time in the history of the World Cup this has occurred. The teams which finished first, second and third had also contested both the two previous World Cup Finals between themselves.
The first round, or group stage, saw the twenty-four teams divided into six groups of four teams. Each group was a round-robin of six games, where each team played one match against each of the other teams in the same group. Teams were awarded two points for a win, one point for a draw and none for a defeat. The teams coming first and second in each group qualified for the Round of 16. The four best third-placed teams would also advance to the next stage.
If teams were level on points, they were ranked on the following criteria in order:
Hosts Italy won Group A with a 100 per cent record. They beat Austria 1–0 thanks to substitute Salvatore 'Totò' Schillaci, who had played only one international before but would become a star during the tournament. A second 1–0 victory followed against a United States team already thumped 5–1 by Czechoslovakia. The Czechoslovaks ended runners-up in the group, while the USA's first appearance in a World Cup Finals since 1950 ended with three consecutive defeats.
Cameroon defeated reigning champions Argentina. Despite ending the match with only nine men, the African team held on for a shock 1–0 win, with contrasting fortunes for the brothers Biyik: François Omam scoring the winning goal, shortly after seeing Andre Kana sent off for a serious foul. In their second game the introduction of Roger Milla was the catalyst for a 2–1 win over Romania, Milla scoring twice from the bench (making him the oldest goalscorer in the tournament). With progression assured, Cameroon slumped to a 4–0 defeat in their final group game to a Soviet Union (in what would be their last World Cup due to the dissolution of the Soviet Union) side striving to stay in the tournament on goal difference after successive 2–0 defeats. A 1–1 draw between Romania and Argentina sent both through, the latter as one of the best third-placed teams.
Costa Rica beat Scotland 1–0 in their first match, lost 1–0 to Brazil in their second, then saw off Sweden 2–1 to claim a place in the second round. Brazil took maximum points from the group. They began with a 2–1 win over Sweden, then beat both Costa Rica and Scotland 1–0. Scotland's 2–1 win over Sweden was not enough to save them from an early return home as one of the two lowest-ranked third-placed teams.
Group D featured the most goals of all the groups, due in part to the defensive inadequacies of a United Arab Emirates team that lost 2–0 to Colombia, 5–1 to West Germany and 4–1 to Yugoslavia. West Germany topped the group after a 4–1 opening victory over group runners-up Yugoslavia.
The winners of Group E were Spain, for whom Michel hit a hat-trick as they beat South Korea 3–1 in an unbeaten group campaign. Belgium won their first two games against South Korea and Uruguay to ensure their progress; Uruguay's advance to the second round came with an injury time winner against South Korea to edge them through as the weakest of the third-placed sides to remain in the tournament.
Group F, featured the Netherlands, England, the Republic of Ireland and Egypt. In the six group games, no team managed to score more than once in a match. England beat Egypt 1-0, thanks to a 64th minute goal from Mark Wright - and that was enough to win the group.
The knockout stage involved the sixteen teams that qualified from the group stage of the tournament. There were four rounds of matches, with each round eliminating half of the teams entering that round. The successive rounds were: round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals, and final. There was also a play-off to decide third/fourth place. For each game in the knockout stage, any draw at 90 minutes was followed by thirty minutes of extra time; if scores were still level there would be a penalty shoot-out (at least five penalties each, and more if necessary) to determine who progressed to the next round. Scores after extra time are indicated by (aet), and penalty shoot outs.
Two of the ties – Argentina vs Brazil and Italy vs Uruguay – pitted former champion countries against each other, and West Germany met the Netherlands in a rematch of the 1974 World Cup Final.
The all-South American game was won for Argentina by a goal from Claudio Caniggia with ten minutes remaining after a run through the Brazilian defence by Diego Maradona and an outstanding performance from their goalkeeper Sergio Goycochea. It would later come to light that Branco had been offered water spiked with tranquilizers by Maradona and Ricardo Giusti during half time, in order to slow him down on the second half. Initially discredited by the press, Branco would be publicly proven right years later, when Maradona confessed the episode in a TV show in Argentina. As for Italy, a strong second half showing saw the hosts beat Uruguay 2–0, thanks to another goal from Schillaci and one from Aldo Serena.
The West Germany–Netherlands clash was held in Milan, and both sides featured several notable players from the two Milanese clubs (interestingly, three from each side, both in clubs and in national teams: Germans Andreas Brehme, Lothar Matthäus and Jürgen Klinsmann for Inter, Dutchmen Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard for AC Milan). After 22 minutes Rudi Völler and Frank Rijkaard were both dismissed after a goalmouth incident. As the players walked off the pitch together, Rijkaard spat at Völler. Early in the second half, Jürgen Klinsmann put the West Germans ahead and Andreas Brehme added a second with eight minutes left.
A Ronald Koeman penalty for the Netherlands in the 89th minute narrowed the score to 2–1 but the Germans saw the game out to gain some revenge for their exit to the Dutch in the previous European Championship.
Meanwhile, the heroics of Cameroon and Roger Milla continued in their game with Colombia. Milla was introduced as a second half substitute with the game goalless, eventually breaking the deadlock midway in extra time. Three minutes later he netted a second after Colombian goalkeeper, René Higuita was dispossessed by Milla while well out of his goal, leaving the striker free to slot the ball into the empty net. Though the deficit was soon reduced to 2–1, Cameroon held on to become the first African team ever to reach the World Cup quarter-finals. Costa Rica were comfortably beaten 4–1 by Czechoslovakia, for whom Tomáš Skuhravý scored the tournament's second and final hat-trick.
The Republic of Ireland's match with Romania remained goalless after extra time, and the Irish side won 5–4 on penalties. David O'Leary converted the penalty that clinched Ireland's place in the quarter-finals. Ireland thus became the first team since Sweden in 1938 to reach the last eight in a World Cup finals tournament without winning a match outright. Yugoslavia beat Spain 2–1 after extra time, with Dragan Stojković scoring both the Yugoslavs' goals. England were the final qualifier against a largely dominating Belgium, but midfielder David Platt's swivelling volley broke the stalemate with the game moments away from a penalty shoot-out.
The first game of the last 8 saw Argentina and a Yugoslav side, reduced to 10 men after only half an hour, play out a goalless stalemate. The holders reached the semi-finals after winning the penalty shoot-out 3–2, despite Maradona having his penalty saved. A second Argentine miss (by Pedro Troglio) looked to have eliminated them until goalkeeper Sergio Goycochea – playing because first choice Nery Pumpido broke his leg during the group stage – rescued his side by stopping the Yugoslavs' final two spotkicks.
The Republic of Ireland's World Cup run was brought to an end by a single goal from Schillaci in the first half of their quarter-final with hosts Italy. West Germany beat Czechoslovakia with a 25th minute Lothar Matthäus penalty.
The most intriguing match of the quarter-finals was between England and Cameroon. Apart from anything else, it was the only quarter-final to produce more than one goal. Despite Cameroon's heroics earlier in the tournament, David Platt put England ahead in the 25th minute. But at half-time, Milla was brought on, and the game was turned on its head in five second half minutes. First Cameroon were awarded a penalty, from which Emmanuel Kunde scored the equaliser. Then, in the 65th minute, Eugene Ekeke put Cameroon ahead. The African team came within eight minutes of reaching the semi-finals - and then they conceded a penalty, which Gary Lineker gratefully converted. Midway through extra time, England were awarded another penalty, and Lineker again scored from the spot. England were through to the semi-finals for the first time in twenty four years
The first semi-final featured the host nation, Italy, and the world champion, Argentina. 'Toto' Schillaci scored yet again to put Italy ahead in the 17th minute, but Claudio Cannigia equalised midway through the second half, breaking Walter Zenga's clean sheet streak throughout the tournament. There were no more goals in the 90 minutes or in extra time despite Maradona showing glimpses of magic, but there was a sending-off: Ricardo Giusti of Argentina was shown the red card in the 13th minute of extra time. Argentina went through on penalties, winning the shoot-out 4-3 after more heroics from Goycochea.
The semi-final between West Germany and England was goalless at half-time. Then, in the 60th minute, a shot from Andreas Brehme was deflected by Paul Parker which resulted in a goal. But then, with 10 minutes left, Gary Lineker equalised for England. The game ended 1-1, and West Germany won the penalty shoot-out 4-3.
The game saw three goals in a fifteen-minute spell. Roberto Baggio opened the scoring after a rare mistake by England's goalkeeper Peter Shilton, in his final game before international retirement, presented a simple opportunity. A header by David Platt levelled the game 10 minutes later but Schillaci was fouled in the penalty area five minutes later, leading to a penalty. Schillaci himself got up to convert the kick to win him the tournament's Golden Shoe for his six goal tally. Nicola Berti had a goal ruled out minutes later, but the hosts claimed third place. England had the consolation prize of the Fair Play award, having received no red cards and the lowest average number of yellows per match.
The final between West Germany and Argentina has been cited as the most cynical and lowest quality of all World Cup Finals. In the 65th minute, Argentina's Pedro Monzon was sent off for a foul on Jürgen Klinsmann, the first player ever to be sent off in a World Cup Final.
Argentina, weakened by suspension and injury, offered little attacking threat throughout a contest dominated by the West Germans, who struggled to create many clear goalscoring opportunities. The only goal of the contest arrived in the 84th minute when Mexican referee Edgardo Codesal awarded a penalty to West Germany, after a foul on Rudi Völler by Roberto Sensini. Andreas Brehme, who later said there was no foul, converted the spot kick to settle the contest. In the closing moments, Argentina were reduced to nine after Gustavo Dezotti received the second red card of the game when he hauled Jürgen Kohler to the ground during a stoppage in play. The 1–0 scoreline provided another first: Argentina were the first team to fail to score in a World Cup Final.
With its third title (and three second-place finishes) West Germany – in its final tournament before national reunification – became the most successful World Cup nation, until Brazil won their fourth title in 1994. West German manager Franz Beckenbauer became the only man to both captain (in 1974) and manage a World Cup winning team, and only the second man (after Mário Zagallo of Brazil) to win the World Cup as a player and as team manager. It was also the first time a team from UEFA won the final against a non-European team.