World Cup 1990 Facts
World Cup 1990 Background
Many European countries were interested in hosting the 14th World Cup. Austria, England, France, Greece, West Germany, Soviet Union, Italy and Yugoslavia were all interested. However, most of them withdrew their bid before the vote started. Only Italy and Soviet Union remained. On the day of the vote on May 19 1984 in Zürich, it was announced by the FIFA Executive Committee that Italy gained the most votes, a total of 11. Soviet Union received 5 votes.
This meant Italy would host the 1990 World Cup. Italy would become the 2nd country to host a World Cup for the 2nd time after Mexico. The first time Italy hosted a World Cup was back in 1934, which was won by Italy.
World Cup 1990 Participants
For the first time in World Cup history, fewer countries tried to qualify for the World Cup. A total of 116 countries entered the qualification matches. For the 1986 World Cup there were 121 countries which entered the qualification rounds.
Of the 24 teams to participate in Italy ’90, Italy (host country) and Argentina (1986 World Cup winner) automatically qualified.
13 places for Europe were allocated to the following countries: Czechoslovakia, Austria, Romania, Soviet Union, Scotland, Sweden, West Germany, Yugoslavia, Spain, Belgium, England, Republic of Ireland and the Netherlands. Republic of Ireland qualified for the first time. Romania qualified for the first time since 1970.
2 places for South America were allocated to the following countries: Brazil and Uruguay.
Chile was disqualified from the 1990 World Cup qualifications. The reason is pretty remarkable. During a qualification match against Brazil, Chilean keeper Roberto Rojas appeared to be injured due to fireworks. A Brazilian fan named Rosemary de Mello was the one who threw the fireworks. The keeper and players refused to continue the match claiming it was not safe.
After studying video footage of the match, it was visible the fireworks did not touch the keeper at all. It appeared the keeper Roberto Rojas injured himself with a razor in order to stop the match. Chile was losing the qualification match against Brazil, which meant they would miss out the 1990 World Cup.
FIFA awarded Brazil a 2–0 win and eliminated Chile from the 1990 World Cup qualifications. Keeper Roberto Rojas was initially banned for life, but this was lifted in 2001.
Mexico was also disqualified from the 1990 World Cup qualifications. The reason was the illegal use of at least 4 over-aged players in a FIFA international youth tournament.
2 places for North/Central America and Caribbean were allocated to the following countries: United States and Costa Rica which qualified for the first time. United States qualified for the first time since 1950.
2 places for Africa were allocated to the following countries: Egypt and Cameroon. Egypt qualified for the first time since 1934.
2 places for Asia were allocated to the following countries: South Korea and United Arab Emirates which qualified for the first time.
1 intercontinental play-off had to be played by 2 countries which didn’t qualify directly: CONMEBOL country Colombia against OFC country Israel. Colombia won the play-off and therefore qualified last minute for the 1990 World Cup. It was the first time since 1962 that Colombia qualified again for a World Cup.
World Cup 1990 Groups
The format of the 1990 World Cup was exactly the same as the format previously used in the 1986 World Cup. There are 6 groups, A till F with each group containing 4 teams. The last 2 group matches would be played simultaneously. This is the last World Cup where only 2 points were awarded to a win.
The first 2 teams of each group would advance to the Round of 16. From that moment on each match would be a knockout match, who lost a match was immediately eliminated. Like Mexico ‘86, the 4 best third place teams would also advance to the Round of 16.
In the Round of 16 the number 1 teams of the groups would play against the number 2 or number 3 teams of other groups. A few number 2 teams would play against other number 2 teams but not against number 3 teams.
The 6 seed countries were England, Argentina, Brazil, West Germany, Belgium, and Italy. They were kept apart from each other and were placed in different groups.
The groups were as followed:
World Cup 1990 Stadiums
12 stadiums were used in 12 host cities. 2 stadiums have been built especially for the 1990 World Cup: Stadio San Nicola in Bari and Stadio delle Alpi in Turin. The other stadiums have been renovated in order to meet FIFA’s requirements.
Of the 8 stadiums used back in the 1934 World Cup hosted in Italy, only 4 were used again in the 1990 World Cup. The stadiums in Milan, Genoa, Florence and Bologna hosted matches of both World Cups. The 1934 Final and 1990 Final were both held in different stadiums in Rome. The 1934 Final was held in the already replaced Stadio Nazionale PNF and the 1990 Final was held in Stadio Olimpico.
The following 12 cities and 12 stadiums were used in Italy:
World Cup 1990 Schedule
World Cup 1990 Memorable Matches
Italy - Czechoslovakia 2-0
Italy was the only Group A country to have won every match. Their last opponent was Czechoslovakia which played their last World Cup. Salvatore Schillaci showed an excellent performance despite the fact that before the World Cup, he played only 1 international match. Schillaci scored the first goal of the match after 9 minutes of play, and Robertio Baggio the 2nd goal after an excellent solo in the 2nd half. Czechoslovakia lost but advanced together with Italy. USA which didn’t play a World Cup for 40 years, lost every group matc Group B
Argentina – Cameroon 0-1
The was the 1990 World Cup opening match. Argentina looked pretty relaxed before kick-off since it was expected for Cameroon to lose this match. After all, Argentina won the previous World Cup. But the matched ended with a surprising result: Cameroon won the match despite playing with 10 players for the last 30 minutes of the match. Striker François Omam-Biyik was the hero of Cameroon. A funny fact is that Francois his brother André Kana-Biyik was the player who received the red card. Another player from Cameroon Benjamin Massing, received his 2nd yellow card in the last minutes of the match after a brutal tackle on Claudio Caniggia. But with 9 men against 11, Argentina still wasn’t able to score. Argentina still managed to advance with Romania. The goal difference for both countries was the same, so Romania took the 2nd place since they scored more goals than Argentina. Cameroon topped the group and advanced as well although they lost with 0-4 to Soviet Union. Group C
Brazil – Costa Rica 1-0
Costa Rica played their first World Cup in 1990. Their 2nd match was against Brazil. It took 82 minutes before the first and last goal was scored by Brazil. Müller was the goalscorer. He also scored the winning goal in the last group match against Scotland. Brazil won every match in the group stage and would meet their rival Argentina in the Round of 16. Although Costa Rica lost, they did beat Sweden and Scotland. They advanced to the next round as well.Group D
West Germany – Colombia 1-1
This was the last World Cup where West Germany played as West Germany. From the next World Cup on, they would play as Germany again. The most group goals were scored in Group D. United Arab Emirates which were playing their only World Cup, lost every match. They did manage to score 1 goal in the match against Yugoslavia. West Germany and Colombia ended up advancing to the 2nd round. Colombia lost the match against Yugoslavia, but managed to draw against West Germany. German midfielder Pierre Littbarski scored a late goal in the 89th minute. But Colombia miraculously scored 4 minutes later in injury time! Colombia ended on the 3rd place and advanced. Freddy Rincón was the goalscorer. Colombia did end up with less points than Yugoslavia which advanced as well.Group E
South Korea – Spain 1-3
South Korea lost every group match. Their biggest defeat was against Spain. They did score 1 goal in the group stage which was in this match. The first goal of the match was a goal by Spanish midfielder Míchel. South Korean Hwangbo Kwan equalized with a powerful free kick. Míchel didn’t meet his objective yet, so 2 more goals were scored by him. A hat-trick ended South Korea’s World Cup adventure officially. Spain including Belgium and Uruguay advanced. Uruguay was lucky to advance, since a goal by Daniel Fonseca in the last minute of their last group match against South Korea, saved them from being eliminated.Group F
England – Republic of Ireland 1-1
Every country in this group didn’t manage to score more than 1 goal in each match. Every match ended in a draw except 1: the match between England and Egypt which ended in 1-0. England against Republic of Ireland was a unique match. Many Irish players were born in England. Ireland qualified for the first time in World Cup history, and met their neighbour in their first World Cup match. English striker Gary Lineker scored the first goal 8 minutes after kick-off. The equalizer scored by Kevin Sheedy only happened around 15 minutes before the end of the match. Both countries advanced together with the Netherlands. A unique fact was that Republic of Ireland and the Netherlands had the exact same amount of points, goal difference and goals scored! The winner of the match Netherlands against Republic of Ireland would in this case decide the group position, but this match ended in a 1-1 draw! This meant for the first and only time lots needed to be drawn to determine who would finish on the 2nd and 3rd place. The Netherlands ended up on the 3rd place.Round of 16
Cameroon – Colombia 2-1
Neither Cameroon or Colombia made it to the Quarter-Final. So no matter which course the match would take: it would be a memorable one. Roger Milla entered the match as a substitute in the 2nd half. No goals were scored in the first 90 minutes and extra time had to be played. It took 15 minutes before the goals were scored one by one. Roger Milla scored both goals for Cameroon. He celebrated both goals with a dance, which he performed for the first time in the group match against Romania. His 2nd goal of this match started with a mistake by Colombian goalkeeper René Higuita. He is known for his risky behaviour, and this time it didn’t end well. Roger Milla took the ball from him and scored into the empty net. Colombian midfielder Bernardo Redín scored 5 minutes before the final whistle but this wasn’t enough. Cameroon became the first African country to reach the Quarter-Final with a special thanks to Roger Milla.
Brazil – Argentina 0-1
Again the Battle of the South Americans! This is the only World Cup match so far between Brazil and Argentina that is won by Argentina. For 80 minutes the score could go either way, but Argentinian forward Claudio Caniggia ended the stress. Maradona broke into the Brazilian defense and passed the ball to Caniggia. He passed Brazilian goalkeeper Cláudio Taffarel and scored. Brazil exited the World Cup after the Round of 16 which was pretty quick for Brazil. So far, both haven’t encountered each other in a World Cup again.West Germany - Netherlands 2-1
San Siro, Milan – attendance: 74,559
Another classic encounter: rivals West Germany against the Netherlands. This was the perfect chance for the Netherlands to revenge themselves against West Germany. It was they who won the 1974 World Cup Final instead of the Netherlands. But unfortunately for the Dutch, another defeat had to be accepted. Jürgen Klinsmann and Andreas Brehme scored the 2 goals for West Germany. Ronald Koeman scored a penalty in the 89th minute, but there was no more time for an equalizer. A memorable disgraceful moment in this match happened in the first half. Dutch defender Frank Rijkaard spat at Rudi Völler twice out of frustration. Both players were sent off due to the high level of complaints. Rudi Völler however, would return later in the tournament. West Germany eliminated the Dutch once more and advanced to the Quarter-Finals.
Republic of Ireland – Romania 0-0 (5-4)
Stadio Luigi Ferraris, Genoa – attendance: 31,818
The Republic of Ireland advanced without having won any matches. When playing against Romania, they couldn’t win normally again. After a total of 120 minutes, the score was 0-0. The penalty shootout had to decide who would advance to the Quarter-Finals. In 1990 both hadn’t yet reached the Quarter-Final, so a memorable moment was about to happen for sure. Kevin Sheedy, Ray Houghton, Andy Townsend, Tony Cascarino and David O’Leary scored the 5 penalties successfully for Ireland. Gheorghe Hagi, Dănuț Lupu, Iosif Rotariu and Ioan Lupescu scored for Romania. But Daniel Timofte missed the last penalty. Therefore Republic Ireland advanced which is not bad for a team that is playing its first World Cup. Romania would have more luck in the next World Cup.Quarter-Finals
Yugoslavia – Argentina 0-0 (2-3)
The score after 120 minutes was 0-0. Argentina wasn’t able to score despite Yugoslavia playing with 10 players for 90 minutes. The 2nd penalty shootout had to be taken. Argentina was lucky Yugoslavia performed the penalty shootout poorly. Only Robert Prosinečki and Dejan Savićević scored their penalty. Dragan Stojković, Dragoljub Brnović and Faruk Hadžibegić missed. José Serrizuela, Jorge Burruchaga and Gustavo Dezotti scored for Argentina. 2 players missed their penalty: Diego Maradona and Pedro Troglio. Nevertheless Argentina won the penalty shootout with having scored 1 more penalty successfully. Yugoslavia was eliminated and played their last World Cup as Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.England – Cameroon 3-2
Stadio San Paolo, Naples – attendance: 55,205
The most exciting Quarter-Final match was this match. This is the only Quarter-Final where more than 1 goal was scored. It started with English midfielder David Platt who scored the only goal of the first half. In the 2nd half Cameroon defender Emmanuel Kundé scored a penalty resulting in 1-1. 4 minutes later Eugène Ekéké scored the 1-2 for Cameroon. For a while it seemed Cameroon would cause another amazing achievement in World Cup history by advancing to the Semi-Final. But 7 minutes before the end, England was awarded a penalty. Gary Lineker took the penalty and scored. After 90 minutes the score was 2-2, resulting in extra time. Cameroon wasn’t lucky. England was awarded another penalty which Gary Lineker successfully scored again. Cameroon wasn’t able to find the equalizer. The match ended and the amazing Cameroon adventure was over. England reached the Semi-Final for the first time since the 1966 World Cup. Semi-Finals
Italy – Argentina 1-1 (3-4)
Italian ‘Totò’ Schillaci played an amazing tournament. He managed to score in every match except for the group match against USA. Also in this match he scored the first goal. But Claudio Caniggia saved Argentina by scoring the equalizer in the 2nd half. Extra time didn’t result in any goals so Argentina had to take their 2nd penalty shootout. Franco Baresi, Roberto Baggio and Luigi De Agostini scored their penalties for Italy. Roberto Donadoni and Aldo Serena missed which eventually would result in elimination. All 4 Argentinian players José Serrizuela, Jorge Burruchaga, Julio Olarticoechea and Diego Maradona were able to score. The 5th penalty wasn’t taken since Argentina was already the winner. Argentinian goalkeeper Sergio Goyocochea became the hero of the match. This was the first time Italy took a World Cup penalty shootout and lost, but it certainly wouldn’t be the last time. Italy played and won the match for the third place against England. Schillaci would score his final goal of the World Cup in that match and ended up being the 1990 World Cup top scorer with 6 goals.
West Germany – England 1-1 (4-3)
Stadio delle Alpi, Turin – attendance: 62,628
For the first time and last time so far, both Semi-Finals were decided by the penalty shootout. The match between West Germany and England was goalless in the first half. Andreas Brehme scored first for Germany and 20 minutes later Gary Lineker for England. Paul Gascoigne had an emotional breakdown when receiving the yellow card in extra time. An iconic moment this was. He had already received a yellow card in the Round of 16 match against Belgium, so Gascoigne would therefore miss the upcoming Final. But England never advanced to the Final. They failed at the penalty shootout. German players Andreas Brehme, Lothar Matthäus, Karl-Heinz Riedle and Olaf Thon scored their penalties. But Gary Lineker, Peter Beardsley and David Platt were the only penalty takers who scored successfully for England. Stuart Pearce and Chris Waddle missed. West Germany didn’t take the 5th penalty since England missed to many. England was eliminated and like Italy, more bad penalty shootout experiences would come their way in future World Cups. West Germany advanced to the Final with the same oponnent as in the 1986 World Cup.
World Cup 1990 Final
Again they encountered each other in the Final: Argentina and West Germany. West Germany entered the Final for the 6th time and Argentina for the 4th time.
Aside the 1986 World Cup Final, both teams played against each other in the 1958 and 1966 World Cup as well. West Germany won the 1958 match but the 1966 match ended in a draw.
For the first time in history the finalists of a previous World Cup made it again to the Final of the next World Cup. The 1990 Final would unfortunately not be as epic as the 1986 Final. Due to safe and defensive play many countries were implementing in their game play, FIFA introduced a special rule for this Final. No penalty shootout would be taken if the score would still be a draw after extra time. A rematch would simply be played. This was to promote attacking play. At the end this was not necessary.
Argentina was pretty lucky to reach the Final. Goalkeeper Sergio Goycochea contributed highly in this. With only 1 match won and a surprising loss against Cameroon, they reached the knockout stage. Before reaching the Final, they had to win 2 penalty shootouts against Yugoslavia and Italy. Argentina however, entered the Final with several players injured and booked.
West Germany won all matches except for the match against Colombia in the first round which ended in a draw. Only in the Semi-Final West Germany had to win a penalty shootout which was against England.
On the 8th of July, in the Stadio Olimpico in Rome the Final was played with an attendance of 69,029.The Final was not considered as a spectacular one. Argentina focused more on defense rather than attack. 1 memorable moment happened in the 65th minute. In this minute the first player in World Cup history was sent off in a Final. It was Argentinian Pedro Monzón who has the unfortunate honor of setting this record. He was sent off due to a foul on German player Jürgen Klinsmann. Jürgen later admitted he dived purposely in order for Pedro Monzón to be sent off.
Only in the 2nd half the only goal of the Final was scored which was a penalty. The referee awarded West Germany a penalty due to a foul by Roberto Sensini on Rudi Völler. It was German player Andreas Brehme who successfully shot the penalty (85′). Later on in the 2nd half Argentina had to play with only 9 players. Player Gustavo Dezotti became the 2nd player to receive a red card (2 yellow cards) in a World Cup Final.
With the end score of 1-0, the lowest amount of goals had been scored of all World Cup Finals till 1990. Argentina became with 0 goals the first country not to have scored in a World Cup Final. Also this was the first time a European (UEFA) country has beaten a non-European country in a World Cup Final.
West Germany finally won their 3rd World Cup and became on equal level with Brazil and Italy. West Germany nevertheless was considered as the best World Cup team above Brazil and Italy. This is because West Germany played more Finals than both countries. Coach Franz Beckenbauer was the 2nd person after Brazilian Mário Zagallo to have won a World Cup as a player (1974) and as a trainer (1990). He is the first person though to have won a World Cup as a captain and as a trainer.
Not many people expected West Germany would have their revenge so soon, 4 years later after they lost the previous World Cup Final in 1986. Only West Germany (as Germany) would reach 1 more Final after their 1990 World Cup win. Argentina had no success reaching the Final since this World Cup.
World Cup 1990 Mascot
The Italy 1990 mascot was pretty different in comparison to all the previous World Cup mascots. The character did not relate to the host country this time, only the colours and the name of the mascot did. It was no person or a food related character. The mascot is a simple stick figure who goes by the name Ciao. Ciao is Italian for both hello and bye. If you look closely you can see sticks showing the letters ‘Italy’, representing the football player. Ciao contains the 1970 World Cup Telstar football just like many other mascots, but this time it represents the head. The body contains the Italian tricolore colours green, white and red. Ciao is the only World Cup mascot which doesn’t have any eyes. Together with the 2002 World Cup mascot, Ciao is the only fantasy character introduced by FIFA. In a 2008 FIFA.com poll, Ciao took the 4th place with 14.85% of the most popular World Cup mascot of the last 5 World Cups before South Africa 2010 (1990 – 2006).
World Cup 1990 Song
Since the host country of the 1990 World Cup is Italy, an Italian song was introduced as the 1990 World Cup song. The name is Un’estate italiana (To Be Number One) and is performed by Italian singer-songwriters Edoardo Bennato and Gianna Nannini. Famous Italian record producer Giorgio Moroder was responsible for the production. This passionate song was a huge success in several European countries and was the best-selling single in Italy between January and September 1990. Therefore the song is considered as 1 of the best World Cup songs. In Italy the song is also known as Notti Magiche or Magical Nights. Edoardo Bennato and Gianna Nannini performed Un’estate italiana (To Be Number One) during the opening ceremony in Milan before the Argentina – Cameroon match.
World Cup 1990 Records
Did You Know
World Cup 1990 FIFA Awards
World Cup 1990 FIFA All-Star Team
Like the 1974 FIFA All-Star Team, this Team consists of 12 players instead of 11. For the first time 2 keepers were included. Costa Rica and Cameroon made their first appearance. Cameroon is the first African country to have been included in an All-Star Team. Yugoslavia which was only included before in 1930, was for the last time included. Argentinian player Diego Maradona is included for a 2nd time and Italian player Paolo Maldini would be included again in the next All-Star Team.
World Cup 1990 in Action
1990 FIFA World Cup Intro 1990 FIFA World Cup Highlights Part 1 1990 FIFA World Cup Highlights Part 2 World Cup Best Goals: Italy 1990 Top 20 All the Goals of Italia ’90 Soccer Shoot-Out – Official World Cup Movie Part 1/3 Soccer Shoot-Out – Official World Cup Movie Part 2/3 Soccer Shoot-Out – Official World Cup Movie Part 3/3 Soccer Shoot-Out – Official 1990 World Cup Movie (in Portuguese)
1990 World Cup
World Cup English