World Cup 1994
Host: United States
Third Place: Sweden
Fourth Place: Bulgaria
Top Goalscorer: Hristo Stoichkov (Bulgaria) & Oleg Salenko (Russia) – 6 Goals
Participants: 24 (Argentina, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Colombia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, USA)
The United States were given their first taste of what it’s like to host a World Cup as they held the 1994 World Cup finals. Although US fans didn’t get to to see their team challenge for honours they did get a glimpse of Brazil winning their fourth World Cup and cement their place as the World’s current best footballing nation.
The final saw two of the world’s most prolific nations go head-to-head as Brazil took on Italy. However, the two couldn’t be separated and for the first time in a World Cup, a final was to be settled on penalties. It was Brazil though who held their nerve winning 3-2 in the penalty shoot-out.
USA had to hold off the bids of Morocco and Brazil as possible hosts for the 1994 World Cup but it came as a shock when FIFA announced it would be the United States who would host the prestigious event. The USA were yet to make any impact at International level in football but FIFA seen this as the perfect opportunity for the sport to grow in the US.
USA may not have won the competition but they did set the record for the highest attendances for a World Cup host. Over 3.6 million went to the stadiums to watch the games while the average attendance was 69,000. The USA currently hold the record for the highest attendances which has yet to be beaten.
Greece, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia were the newbies in the 1994 World Cup while Russia competed for the first time as an independent nation after they were previously competing under the Soviet Union. On a similar note, West Germany and East Germany came together and formed one competitive nation by the name of ‘Germany’ and have done ever since.
As African nations put in a respectable display in the 1990 World Cup, FIFA granted the continent three qualifying spots. It was also the first and only World Cup which seen no British contingents compete.
Brazil 0 – 0 Italy (Brazil won on penalties) – Rose Bowl ~ 94,194 Attendances
Third Place Play-Off:
Sweden 4 – 0 Bulgaria
Sweden – Brolin, Mild, Larsson, K. Andersson