The United States was chosen as the host
by FIFA on 4 July 1988. Brazil became the first nation to win four
World Cup titles when they beat Italy 3–2 in a penalty shootout after
the game ended 0–0 after extra-time, the first World Cup final to be
decided on penalties. The official match ball was the Adidas Questra.
The 1994 World Cup was the best attended in history, with average attendance of nearly 69,000. The total attendance of nearly 3.6 million for the final tournament remains the highest in World Cup history, despite the expansion of the competition from 24 to 32 teams (and from 52 to 64 matches) in the 1998 World Cup.
World Cup 1994 Facts
World Cup 1994 Background
3 countries were interested in hosting the 15th World Cup in 1994. Europe had their turn 4 years earlier in 1990 so the following non-European countries placed a bid: Morocco, United States and Brazil.
The FIFA Executive Committee (Exco) announced on July 4 1988 in Zürich that the Unites States won the bid with a little more than half of the votes. USA received 10 votes, Morocco 7 votes and Brazil only 2 votes. United States would therefore organize their first World Cup.
It was pretty surprising the United States was chosen to host the 15th World Cup, since the sport football (or soccer as they call it) was not popular at all. In order for United States to host the 1994 World Cup, they had to meet 1 condition though. This condition was that the United States had to create a professional football league. FIFA also hoped the sport would become more popular in USA by giving them the opportunity to host the 1994 World Cup.
The sport has indeed become more popular and the professional football league was established in 1993. The league is called the Major League Soccer (MLS).
World Cup 1994 Participants
A then record amount of 147 countries tried to qualify for the 1994 World Cup. The United States as the host country and Germany as the 1990 World Cup winner qualified automatically.
12 places for Europe excluding Germany were allocated to the following countries: Romania, Switzerland, Sweden, Russia, Spain, Bulgaria, Greece, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Norway, Netherlands and Belgium. Greece qualified for the first time. Norway qualified for the first time since 1938 and Switzerland for the first time since 1966.
West Germany and East Germany were finally reunited again in 1990 and therefore the German participant in the 1994 World Cup was called Germany again. The only times Germany played as Germany in a World Cup was back in the 1934 and 1938 World Cups.
The 1994 World Cup had country Russia as a participant as well. Due to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia would never be referred as Soviet Union again. This was the first World Cup where the country qualified as Russia.
Yugoslavia was suspended from international competition in 1992. This suspension was part of United Nations sanctions against the country due to the Yugoslav Wars. The suspension ended in 1994, but it was to late to qualify for the 1994 World Cup.
This is the first time since 1938 no United Kingdom countries (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales) participated.
3 places for South America were allocated to the following countries: Colombia, Brazil and Bolivia. Bolivia qualified for the first time since 1950.
Chile’s suspension from the 1990 World Cup continued and was therefore not able to qualify for the 1994 World Cup.
3 places were allocated to Africa due to the performance of Cameroon that reached the Quarter-Finals in the 1990 World Cup. The 3 places were allocated to the following countries: Cameroon, Nigeria and Morocco. Nigeria qualified for the first time.
2 places for Asia were allocated to South Korea and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia qualified for the first time.
1 place for North/Central America and Caribbean excluding United States was allocated to country Mexico.
1 country would qualify by winning an intercontinental play-off. For the first time 2 intercontinental play-offs had to be played by countries which didn’t qualify directly. The winner of the play-off CONCACAF country Canada against OFC country Australia would play against CONMEBOL country Argentina. It was Australia who won the first play-off but lost to Argentina in the 2nd play-off. Since Argentina won the 2nd play-off, they qualified last minute for the 1994 World Cup.
World Cup 1994 Groups
The formats of the 2 previous World Cups were used again in USA ‘94. There were 6 groups with each group containing 4 teams. 2 teams per group would advance to the Round of 16. In addition to the 2 teams, the 4 best third place teams would also advance to the Round of 16. From that stage on, who lost a match would be eliminated immediately.
There was 1 change though when it comes to the format. Instead of the 2 points which were always rewarded to the winner of a group match, there were now 3 points to be gained after a match was won. FIFA introduced this change in order to encourage attacking football after many teams adopted a defensive playing style in the 1990 World Cup.
The 1994 World Cup is the last World Cup where the 4 best third place teams would also advance to the Round of 16. For the last time a few number 1 teams of the groups would play against the number 3 teams of other groups.
This would also be the last World Cup to contain a total of 24 countries. The number of participants would again increase to a total of 32 countries in the next World Cup France ‘98. Therefore the format used in the 1994 World Cup would be changed again in the 1998 World Cup.
Just 1 more ‘last’: The 1994 World Cup was also the last World Cup where a few matches other than the last 2 in each group were played simultaneously. This however occurred only once in USA ’94. (Saudi Arabia – Morocco and Belgium – Netherlands in group F).
The 6 seed countries were United States, Germany, Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, and Italy. They were kept apart from each other and were placed in different groups.
The groups were as followed:
World Cup 1994 Stadiums
9 stadiums have been used in 9 host cities across the USA. 1 of the reasons why the attendance record of the 1994 World Cup is not yet beaten is due to the large capacity the 9 stadiums had in comparison with the stadiums in European and South American countries. There was simply so much space for so many people. All the 9 stadiums had a capacity for at least 53,000 people.
There was something unique though about 1 stadium. Of all stadiums, the Pontiac Silverdome in Detroit was the only indoor stadium used to host 1994 World Cup matches. Therefore for the first time in World Cup history, several World Cup matches were played indoors.
The following 9 cities and 9 stadiums were used in the USA:
World Cup 1994 Schedule
World Cup 1994 Memorable Matches
USA – Colombia 2-1
Much was expected from Colombia. They performed a great performance in the qualification rounds with main highlight the 5-0 win against Argentina. But to everyone’s surprise, they failed to advance to the Round of 16. In fact, they finished last in the group. Colombia only won the match against Switzerland. But this match against USA was highly controversial, or at least that is the status the match would later receive. The first goal is what made the match so controversial; the own goal by Colombian defender Andrés Escobar. At first there was no direct panic. However the 2nd goal scored by American midfielder Earnie Stewart changed this completely. Colombia couldn’t lose their 2nd group match. Unfortunately for Colombia only 1 goal was scored by Adolfo Valencia. Colombia lost the match and all the other group members advanced. USA finished 3rd due to the goal difference rule. The shocking fact is that the own goalscorer Andrés Escobar was murdered in Colombia 10 days after the match. It is widely believed that the Mexican drug cartels were responsible since Colombia’s early elimination resulted in huge gambling losses.Group B
Russia – Cameroon 6-1
Brazil and Sweden were to strong for Russia and Cameroon. Brazil and Sweden would encounter each other again in the Semi-Final. But this match between Russia and Cameroon became memorable nonetheless. Russia played as Russia for the first time instead of Soviet Union. The Russian player who wrote history was Oleg Salenko. He is the only player so far in World Cup history who managed to score 5 goals in 1 match! 3 were scored in the first half and 2 in the 2nd half. 1 of the 5 goals was a penalty. Dmitri Radchenko was the other player who scored 1 of the 6 goals. Cameroon also experienced a memorable moment when Roger Milla scored Cameroon’s only goal. With 42 years at the time he became the oldest player in World Cup history to have scored a goal. Despite the end score both countries were eliminated. Oleg Salenko did become the 1994 World Cup top scorer with 6 goals together with Bulgarian forward Hristo Stoichkov. Salenko scored 1 of his 6 goals in the match against Sweden.Group C
Germany – South Korea 3-2
South Korea showed an impressive performance, one that can be expected from Germany. Germany, which played as Germany instead of West Germany, scored the first 3 goals. Jürgen Klinsmann scored the first and 3rd goal, and Karl-Heinz Riedle the 2nd goal. In the 2nd half it was South Korea which came back fiercely. Hwang Sun-Hong scored and 10 minutes later Hong Myung-Bo. Unfortunately for South Korea no equalizer could be scored, although the comeback created some German panic. A little incident occurred in this match which involved midfielder Stefan Effenberg. He was sent home early by a furious coach Berti Vogts since he gave the finger to German fans during the match when being substituted. Spain which drew 2 matches and won against Bolivia, advanced together with Germany.Group D
Argentina – Greece 4-0
Argentina’s first 1994 World Cup match was a memorable one. 4 goals in total were scored. But it was the 3rd goal which made this match unforgettable. The first, 2nd and 4th goal were all scored by Argentinian striker Gabriel Batistuta. Aside this hat-trick, it was Diego Maradona who scored the 3rd goal of the match. He celebrated the goal in such an ‘abnormal’ way, people believed something was clearly odd. Maradona underwent a drugs test and was tested positive for the banned stimulant ephedrine. The 2nd group match against Nigeria was his last match. Maradona was expelled from the World Cup and would never play for Argentina again. Argentina without Maradona lost against all exceptions to Bulgaria in their 3rd match but still advanced. Bulgaria also advanced with Nigeria which topped a 1994 World Cup group as the only African country. An interesting fact is that Bulgaria and Argentina had the exact amount of points, goal difference and goals scored. So the match between Argentina and Bulgaria had to decide who would finish 2nd and 3rd. Since Bulgaria defeated Argentina, Bulgaria finished 2nd.Group E
Mexico – Republic of Ireland 2-1
Group E achieved something so unique, no other group so far has achieved this in World Cup history. All 4 teams ended with the exact amount of points. Each team had 4 points which means each team won, lost and drew a match. In this match it was Mexico with flamboyant goalkeeper Jorge Campos and his memorable colourful outfit, which ended up winning. Republic of Ireland already revenged themselves against Italy for their Quarter-Final loss in the 1990 World Cup. In this match Mexico knew how to handle the heat better than Ireland. Irish coach Jack Charlton was not allowed to give water to the players which made him furious. Luis García scored both goals for Mexico. Then it was Ireland striker John Aldridge who would enter the match. However due to a delay, an ugly disagreement occurred between the 4th official, the Irish coach and Aldridge on the touchline. The aggressive words could be heard on television. This attitude resulted in fines for both the coach Jack Charlton and player John Aldridge. Finally after Aldridge was allowed to play, it took him 17 minutes to score. Although Ireland lost, this goal became crucial for advancing to the next round together with Italy and Mexico. Norway was eliminated since they scored the lowest amount of goals. Although both Republic of Ireland and Italy had the same amount of points, goal difference and goals scored, Italy ended up on the 3rd place. It was Republic of Ireland which defeated Italy resulting in finishing 2nd in Group E.
Belgium – Netherlands 1-0
For the first time in World Cup history, neigbours and rivals Belgium and the Netherlands met in a World Cup. Belgium won this unique match by a goal from defender Philippe Albert in the 2nd half. With the Belgian keeper Michel Preud’homme it was hard for the Netherlands to score. The Netherlands ultimately failed to find the net against Belgium, something they failed to do in the next World Cup as well. But despite the fact Belgium won 2 matches, they ended up on the 3rd place as has happened to Argentina. The Netherlands and Saudi Arabia ended up having the same amount of points, goal difference and goals scored. The result between the match Netherlands against Saudi Arabia had to determine their group positions. The Netherlands won with 2-1 which resulted in the top position of Group F. Saudi Arabian midfielder Saeed Al-Owairan by the way scored 1 of the most amazing goals in World Cup history in the match against Belgium.Specactular goal by Saudi Arabian Saeed Al-Owairan against Belgium (0-1) Round of 16
Germany – Belgium 3-2
This time Belgium encountered their bigger neighbour: Germany. But this neighbour was apparently tougher to defeat than the Netherlands. 2 goals were scored in the first 10 minutes. The first by German striker Rudi Völler and 2 minutes later by Belgian defender Georges Grün. Germany responded quickly with Jürgen Klinsmann scoring another goal 3 minutes later. Rudi Völler scored the last goal for Germany 5 minutes before half time. Belgian defender Philippe Albert scored the 2nd goal in the 90th minute, but it was to late to repair the damage. Germany advanced and Belgium was out.Romania – Argentina 3-2
Rose Bowl, Pasadena – attendance: 90,469
There seemed to be a clear difference between Argentina with and without Maradona. Argentina lost their only group match without Maradona after he was expelled, and would end up losing again. Ilie Dumitrescu scored the first goal where 5 minutes later Gabriel Batistuta quickly responded with a penalty. Ilie Dumitrescu not happy with this response, revenged even more faster with his 2nd goal 2 minutes later. The great Gheorghe Hagi scored the 3rd and last goal for Romania. Abel Balbo scored the last goal of the match for Argentina 15 minutes before time. The match ended in 3-2 and Romania advanced. Argentina was out of the World Cup. The last time Argentina didn’t make it to the Quarter-Finals was back in the 1962 World Cup!
Nigeria – Italy 1-2
Italy wasn’t really convincing the world in the early stage of the World Cup. The only match they had won in the group stage was against Norway. In this match Italy was pretty lucky to have won in the end! Emmanuel Amuneke scored the only goal for Nigeria in the first half. In the 2nd half Italian Striker Gianfranco Zola, who turned 28 on this day, was sent off 10 minutes after he entered the match. After the referee showed the red card, he collapsed and stayed on his knees in disbelieve and devastation before leaving the pitch. The 1-0 score remained basically the entire match until the 88th minute arrived. Italy was awarded a penalty which Roberto Baggio (nicknamed the Divine Ponytail) successfully took. The score ended in 1-1 and extra time had to be played. Fortunately for Italy, another penalty was awarded after 10 minutes of extra time. This was taken again by Roberto Baggio and scored once more. Nigeria couldn’t score their 2nd score. It became Italy which would advance to the Quarter-Finals.Mexico – Bulgaria 1-1 (1-3)
Giants Stadium, East Rutherford – attendance: 71,030
To everyone’s surprise, Bulgaria defeated Argentina. Was this a coincidence or are they really that good? The group match against Greece was the first match they won in a World Cup. They have played in 5 World Cups and didn’t succeed in winning any of the 17 matches: a record! Bulgaria showed in this tournament they were a powerful team with striker Hristo Stoichkov. It was he who scored the 1-0 in this match. Mexico which topped group E equalized with a penalty kick by García Aspe. During the match after a corner kick, Mexican defender Marcelino Bernal leaned against the post of the goal and on the net, breaking the crossbar behind the beam that supported the goal. The match was stopped and the crossbar got replaced. In the remaining minutes of the match and in 30 minutes of extra time, no goal was scored. This meant the first of 3 1994 World Cup penalty shootouts had to be taken. This would turn out bad for Mexico. Mexicans García Aspe, Marcelino Bernal and Jorge Rodríguez all failed to score. Claudio Suárez was the only Mexican player who scored. From Bulgaria’s side only 1 player missed: Krasimir Balakov. Boncho Genchev, Daniel Borimirov and Yordan Letchkov all scored. Bulgaria won the penalty shootout and Mexico was eliminated in the Round of 16. This faith would both coincidentally and unfortunately reoccur for Mexico in all 4 upcoming World Cups … Quarter-Finals
Netherlands – Brazil 2-3
This was an exiting match with 5 goals scored in total. Brazil scored the first 2 goals by legendary duo Romário and Bebeto. Bebeto was the one who scored the winning goal against USA in the Round of 16. The duo were very successful in the World Cup with the proper samba flare a Brazilian squad is normally famous for. Striker Romário scored the first goal. When Bebeto scored the 2nd goal of the match, he celebrated this in a unique way. He was cradle-rocking an imaginary baby and Mazinho and Romario soon joined him. Bebeto’s celebration referred to his 3rd child, a son named Matthäus (after German player Lothar Matthäus) who was born 2 days before the match. But after this goal, the Netherlands responded 1 minute later with a goal from striker Dennis Bergkamp. 12 minutes later midfielder Aron Winter changed the score into 2-2. But 9 minutes before full time it was over for the Netherlands. Brazilian free kick specialist Branco shot a free kick successfully which Dutch goalkeeper Ed de Goey couldn’t stop, changing the final score into 2-3.Bulgaria – Germany 2-1
Giants Stadium, East Rutherford – attendance: 72,000
A very memorable match this was. Against all expectations Bulgaria managed to beat Germany. Bulgaria already defeated Argentina and Mexico, but previous World Cup winner Germany seemed to difficult to beat. We were wrong. Despite German midfielder Lothar Matthäus scoring a penalty, Bulgaria took matters in own hands. Hristo Stoichkov and Yordan Letchkov scored the winning goals for Bulgaria. Germany was out and Bulgaria, which lost their first group match against Nigeria with 3-0, made it all the way to the Semi-Final.Semi-Finals
Bulgaria – Italy 1-2
Bulgaria was having a very successful World Cup, but this ended here. Roberto Baggio who scored the winning goal against Spain in the Quarter-Finals, scored both goals in this match. Hristo Stoichkov managed to change the score into 1-2 with a penalty just before the end of the first half. With this goal he became the 1994 top scorer with 6 goals together with Russian striker Oleg Salenko. Although Bulgaria had 45 minutes to score the equalizer, they weren’t able to. Bulgaria had to play the match for the third match but lost to Sweden with 4-0. Italy advanced to the Final, an achievement which didn’t seem very likely when looking back on the group stage.
Sweden – Brazil 0-1
And they met again: Sweden and Brazil. They played against each other in the 3rd group match. The end score was 1-1. Romário scored for Brazil an Kennet Andersson for Sweden. In this match Romário managed to score again, but this time it was a winning goal. Sweden couldn’t find the net this time and lost. They had to play the match for the third place. Brazil advanced to the Final. This was the last time so far Brazil played against Sweden in a World Cup. Brazil encountered Sweden the most times in a World Cup: 7 times: a record!
World Cup 1994 Final
After 5 successive World Cup Finals containing Argentina or West Germany or both, the 1994 World Cup Final consisted of different countries. Both Brazil and Italy played the World Cup Final before and even played against each other in the 1970 World Cup Final. It was the 2nd and last time so far that 2 teams met again in a Final (the first time was Argentina – West Germany in 1990). The 1970 Final was the last World Cup Final for both Brazil and Italy since the 1994 Final. The Brazilian team including Pelé won that 1970 Final with a 4-1 score.
Aside the 1970 World Cup Final, both teams encountered each other in the 1938, 1978 and 1982 World Cup. Italy defeated Brazil in 1938 and 1982. Brazil won in 1978.
When it comes to the 1994 World Cup, Brazil had less trouble reaching the Final than Italy. Brazil only drew 1 match against Sweden in the group stage. In the Semi-Final Brazil encountered Sweden again and won with 1-0.
Italy reached the 3rd place in their group and barely made it to the Round of 16. Only 1 match was won in the group stage which was against Norway. In the Round of 16 Italy barely made it to the Quarter-Finals by prolonging the match against Nigeria to extra time to score the 2-1.
On the 17th of July, the Final was played in Rose Bowl, Los Angeles with an attendance of 94,194. Although FIFA introduced the back pass rule to encourage more action in the matches, no goals were scored. The Final was exciting nonetheless and it was really 50/50 regarding who would win the 1994 World Cup. The match entered extra time but no goals were scored either. For the first time in World Cup history, a Final had to be decided with a penalty shootout.
Both Brazilian Márcio Santos and Italian Franco Baresi missed the first penalty. Romário and Branco scored their penalty for Brazil. Demetrio Albertini and Alberigo Evani scored for Italy. Daniele Massaro however missed for Italy but Dunga scored for Brazil.
Roberto Baggio had to score his penalty in order to still have a chance to win the World Cup. He wasn’t in his greatest form since he pulled his hamstring in the Semi-Final. Roberto Baggio, the Italian player who showed a great performance in the knockout stage, shot to everyone’s surprise the ball high over the bar. Of all Italian players, people did not expect for Roberto Baggio to miss this now legendary penalty. This missed penalty is considered as 1 of the most upsetting moments in World Cup History.
Brazil became immediate World Cup champion. It was the 4th World Cup Brazil has won and became the first country to have won so many World Cups. It was the first time though Brazil won the FIFA World Cup trophy which replaced the Jules Rimet trophy in 1974. It was Vice-president Al Gore who awarded captain Dunga the trophy. The Brazilian team dedicated this title to the deceased Brazilian Formula One champion Ayrton Senna who died in the San Marino Grand Prix accident on May 1st 1994.
Both Brazil and Italy would win a World Cup in the next decade.
World Cup 1994 Mascot
Since the 1966 World Cup no animal was chosen as a mascot. But this changed in the 1994 World Cup where a dog was chosen as the mascot. His name is Striker, the World Cup pup. Striker is designed by the American movie and entertainment producer Warner Bros Studios. A dog was chosen in order to encourage people to watch and to become aware of the beautiful sport called football (soccer). A dog was an animal Americans could easily relate to since a dog is a highly appreciated companion, a common pet animal and is of course called a “Man’s best friend”. Striker is wearing a red white and blue soccer uniform with the letters USA 94 on it. The colours on the uniform reflect the American flag. As with other mascots, Striker is ready to play some football. He is the last mascot that is accompanied by the classic Telstar football from the 1970 World Cup. In a 2008 FIFA.com poll, Striker narrowly took the 3rd place with 16.56% of the most popular World Cup mascot of the last 5 World Cups before South Africa 2010 (1990 – 2006).
World Cup 1994 Song
The 1994 World Cup anthem is named Gloryland. The song is originally an instrumental song inspired by the traditional spiritual song Glory, Glory, Hallelujah (Lay My Burden Down). Especially for the 1994 World Cup English lyrics were added. This gospel inspired song is performed by American rock and soul singer Daryl Hall and American vocal and instrumental ensemble Sounds of Blackness. They both performed the lyrical anthem at the opening ceremony of the tournament.
World Cup 1994 Records
Did You Know
World Cup 1994 FIFA Awards
World Cup 1994 FIFA All-Star Team
Both Romania and Bulgaria were for the first and last time so far included in an All-Star Team. Sweden made its final appearance as well in an All-Star Team so far. Italian player Paolo Maldini is included for the 2nd time and Brazilian player Dunga will be included again in the next one.
World Cup 1994 in Action
1994 FIFA World Cup Intro 1994 FIFA World Cup Highlights Part 1 1994 FIFA World Cup Highlights Part 2 All the Goals of USA’94 Diana Ross 1994 World Cup opening ceremony USA ’94 World Cup – BBC Review Two Billion Hearts – Official 1994 World Cup Movie (in Portuguese)
1994 World Cup
World Cup English