On May 19th 1984, Italy were
unanimously chosen as hosts for the 1990 World Cup, only the
second nation after Mexico to be awarded two tournaments.
England, the Soviet Union and Greece also had bids, but failed
to live up to the standard of the Italians. As many other hosts
before them, the Italians were well behind schedule in terms of
rebuilding the stadiums, but they were all ready in time for
kick-off in June 1990.
When talks come to great World Cups, this tournament held in
Italy will certainly not be mentioned. Even if all previous
champions were present, very few teams relied on attacking
football, not even Brazil. Cameroon was the team who would cause
surprise. On the tournament's opening day, they beat defending
champions Argentina by 1-0. The South Americans relied heavily
on Maradona and his new attacking partner up front, Claudio
Caniggia. Italy was also an exception. They played some great
attacking football in the 1st round and won all their games
without conceding a goal. A new star also was introduced -
Salvatore Schillaci. Brazil also won all their 1st round
matches, but not convincingly. West Germany trashed UAE and
Yugoslavia before Colombia stole a point from them in the last
match to go through as well. In Group F lottery was needed as
Ireland and Holland were on equal points and goals. Both went
through and Holland unfortunately drew the Germans in the second
round. Ireland "escaped" with Romania.
Cameroon made history as being the first African nation to reach
the quarterfinal, when they beat Colombia after extra-time. A 38
year old substitute called Roger Milla scored both goals in
their 2-1 win. He took his tally to four in the tournament.
Tomas Skuhravy scored a hat-trick as a brave Costa Rican team
was knocked out by the Czechs. 10 secs of Maradona brilliance
was enough to send Argentina through against Brazil when he set
up Caniggia to score the winner shortly before the end. West
Germany beat Holland in a classic match in Milan, Italy had no
problems beating Uruguay and David Platt sent England though
when he scored the winner against Belgium in the last minute of
extra-time. Ireland beat Romania on penalties after two hours
without a goal.
More drama involving penalties in the quarterfinals. Argentina
Yugoslavia on penalties after the two stars Maradona and
Stojkovic had missed in the shoot-out. Matthäus scored the only
goal of the match against Czechoslovakia on a penalty, and
England stopped the popular "Lions" from Cameroon by
winning 3-2 in extra-time. Three of the goals came from the
penaltyspot. Italy won the last quarterfinal against Ireland
after a goal from Schillaci, not from a penalty infact.
Both semifinals were decided on penalties. Italy let in their
first goal of the tournament against Argentina after a header
from Caniggia. That was about to cost them. Donadoni and Serena
missed in the shoot-out for the hosts and Argentina won the game
played at Maradona's homeground in Naples. The other semifinal
also ended 1-1 after extra time and in the shoot-out, the
Germans kept their nerves under control. Pearce and Waddle
missed for England and the Germans were through to their third
consecutive World Cup final! Italy won the bronzematch by 2-1,
with Schillaci scoring his 6th goal giving him the golden boot
as top - scorer of the tournament.
In every World Cup final from 1930-86, at least three goals had
been scored. In this final, only one! And it was once again from
the penaltyspot. Brehme converted it and gave West Germany their
third title. Argentina who had played miserable during the
tournament had 4 players suspended in the final and got two
players sent off in the final. Read more about this final by
clicking on the "Final" link in the left column.