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1990 FIFA World Cup

1990 edition of the FIFA World Cup

Top 10 1990 FIFA World Cup related articles

1990 FIFA World Cup
Coppa del Mondo FIFA Italia '90
1990 FIFA World Cup official logo
Tournament details
Host countryItaly
Dates8 June – 8 July
Teams24 (from 5 confederations)
Venue(s)12 (in 12 host cities)
Final positions
Champions  West Germany (3rd title)
Runners-up  Argentina
Third place  Italy
Fourth place  England
Tournament statistics
Matches played52
Goals scored115 (2.21 per match)
Attendance2,516,215 (48,389 per match)
Top scorer(s) Salvatore Schillaci (6 goals)
Best player(s) Salvatore Schillaci
Best young player Robert Prosinečki
Fair play award  England
1986
1994

The 1990 FIFA World Cup was the 14th FIFA World Cup. 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 entered and qualification began in April 1988. 22 teams qualified from this process, along with host nation Italy and defending champions Argentina.

The tournament was won by West Germany, for the third time. They beat Argentina 1–0 at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, a rematch of the previous final four years earlier. Italy finished third and England fourth, after both lost their semi-finals in penalty shootouts. This was the last tournament to feature a team from West Germany, with the country being reunified with East Germany a few months later in October, as well as teams from the Eastern Bloc prior to the end of the Cold War in 1991, as the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia teams made last appearances. Costa Rica, Ireland and the UAE made their first appearances in the finals. As of 2018, this was the last time the UAE qualified for a FIFA World Cup finals. The official match ball was the Adidas Etrusco Unico.

The 1990 World Cup is widely regarded as one of the poorest World Cups in terms of the games.[1][2][3][4] It generated an average 2.2 goals per game – a record low that still stands[5] – and a then-record 16 red cards, including the first ever dismissal in a final- there were in fact 2 dismissals during the final. Regarded as being the World Cup that has had perhaps the most lasting influence on the game as a whole,[6] and it saw the introduction of the pre-match Fair Play Flag (then inscribed with "Fair Play Please") to encourage fair play. Defensive tactics led to the introduction of the back-pass rule in 1992 and three points for a win instead of two at future World Cups. The tournament also produced some of the World Cup's best remembered moments and stories, including the emergence of African nations, in addition to what has become the World Cup soundtrack: "Nessun dorma".[6]

The 1990 World Cup stands as one of the most watched events in television history, garnering an estimated 26.69 billion non-unique viewers over the course of the tournament.[7] This was the first World Cup to be officially recorded and transmitted in HDTV by the Italian broadcaster RAI in association with Japan's NHK.[8] The huge success of the broadcasting model has also had a lasting impact on the sport.[6] At the time it was the most watched World Cup in history in non-unique viewers, but was bettered by the 1994 and 2002 World Cups.[9]

1990 FIFA World Cup Intro articles: 20

Host selection

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.[10] 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.[11] A month later, only England, Greece, Italy and the Soviet Union remained in the hunt after the other contenders all withdrew.[12] All four bids were assessed by FIFA in late 1983, with the final decision over-running into 1984 due to the volume of paperwork involved.[13] 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,[14] although this was denied by the FIFA President João Havelange.[10]

1990 FIFA World Cup Host selection articles: 5

Qualification

116 teams entered the 1990 World Cup, including Italy as host nation and Argentina as reigning World Cup champions, who were both granted automatic qualification. Thus, the remaining 22 finals places were divided among the continental confederations, with 114 initially entering the qualification competition. Due to rejected entries and withdrawals, 103 teams eventually participated in the qualifying stages.

Thirteen places were contested by UEFA teams (Europe), two 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 a CONMEBOL team and a team from the OFC (Oceania).

Both Mexico and Chile were disqualified during the qualification process; the former for fielding an overage player in a prior youth tournament,[15] 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 made their debuts, as this was the first World Cup to feature Costa Rica and the Republic of Ireland, and the only one to date to feature the United Arab Emirates.

Returning after long absences were Egypt, who appeared for the first time since 1934; the United States (who would not miss a World Cup again until 2018), who competed for the first time since 1950; Colombia, who appeared for the first time since 1962; Romania, who last appeared at the Finals in 1970; and Sweden and the Netherlands, both of which last qualified in 1978. Austria, Cameroon, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia also returned after missing the 1986 tournament.

Among the teams who failed to qualify were 1986 semi-finalists France (missing out their first World Cup since 1974), Denmark, Paraguay, Poland (for the first time since 1970), Portugal and Hungary.

List of qualified teams

The following 24 teams qualified for the final tournament.

1990 FIFA World Cup Qualification articles: 32

Venues

Twelve stadiums in twelve cities were selected to host matches at the 1990 World Cup. The Stadio San Nicola in Bari and Turin's Stadio delle Alpi were completely new venues opened for the World Cup. Of the twelve stadiums in used, only four (San Siro, Luigi Ferraris, Comunale of Florence and Renato Dall'Ara) had been used for the 1934 FIFA 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 to implement the changes required.

Like Espana '82, the group stage of this tournament was organized in such a way where specific groups only played in two cities close in proximity to each other. Group A only played in Rome and Florence (Hosts Italy played all their competitive matches in Rome, except for their semi-final and third place matches, which were played in Naples and Bari, respectively), Group B played their matches in Naples and Bari (except for Argentina vs. Cameroon, which was the opening match of the tournament, played in Milan), Group C played their matches in Turin and Genoa, Group D played all their matches in Milan and Bologna, Group E played only in Udine and Verona, and Group F played on the island cities of Cagliari and Palermo. The cities that hosted the most World Cup matches were the two biggest cities in Italy: Rome and Milan, each hosting six matches, and Bari, Naples and Turin each hosted five matches. Cagliari, Udine and Palermo were the only cities of the 12 selected that did not host any knockout round matches.

The England national team, at the British government's request, were forced to play all their matches in Cagliari on the island of Sardinia. Hooliganism, rife in English football in the 1980s had spilled over onto the European continent when 39 mostly Italian Juventus supporters were killed and 600 were injured at the 1985 European Cup Final in Brussels while trying to flee from an attack by Liverpool supporters. This hooliganism had followed the national team while they played friendlies on the European continent – the distrust of English fans was so high that the English FA's reputation and even diplomatic relations between the UK and Italy were seen to be at risk if England played any group stage matches on the Italian mainland. Thanks largely to British Sports Minister Colin Moynihan's negative remarks about English fans weeks before the match, security around Cagliari during England's three matches there was extremely heavy – in addition to 7,000 local police and Carabineri, highly trained Italian military special forces were also there patrolling the premises. The Italian authorities' heavy presence proved to be justified as there were several riots during the time England were playing their matches in Cagliari, leading to a number of injuries, arrests and even deportations.[16][17]

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.

Milan Rome Turin Naples
San Siro Stadio Olimpico Stadio delle Alpi Stadio San Paolo
45°28′40.89″N 9°7′27.14″E / 45.4780250°N 9.1242056°E / 45.4780250; 9.1242056 (San Siro) 41°56′1.99″N 12°27′17.23″E / 41.9338861°N 12.4547861°E / 41.9338861; 12.4547861 (Stadio Olimpico) 45°06′34.42″N 7°38′28.54″E / 45.1095611°N 7.6412611°E / 45.1095611; 7.6412611 (Stadio delle Alpi) 40°49′40.68″N 14°11′34.83″E / 40.8279667°N 14.1930083°E / 40.8279667; 14.1930083 (Stadio San Paolo)
Capacity: 74,559[18][19] Capacity: 73,603[18][19] Capacity: 62,628[18][19] Capacity: 59,978[18][19]
Bari Florence
Stadio San Nicola Stadio Comunale
41°5′5.05″N 16°50′24.26″E / 41.0847361°N 16.8400722°E / 41.0847361; 16.8400722 (Stadio San Nicola) 43°46′50.96″N 11°16′56.13″E / 43.7808222°N 11.2822583°E / 43.7808222; 11.2822583 (Stadio Artemio Franchi)
Capacity: 51,426[18][19] Capacity: 38,971[18][19]
Verona Udine
Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi Stadio Friuli
45°26′7.28″N 10°58′7.13″E / 45.4353556°N 10.9686472°E / 45.4353556; 10.9686472 (Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi) 46°4′53.77″N 13°12′0.49″E / 46.0816028°N 13.2001361°E / 46.0816028; 13.2001361 (Stadio Friuli)
Capacity: 35,950[18][19] Capacity: 35,713[18][19]
Cagliari Bologna Palermo Genoa
Stadio Sant'Elia Stadio Renato Dall'Ara Stadio La Favorita Stadio Luigi Ferraris
39°11′57.82″N 9°8′5.83″E / 39.1993944°N 9.1349528°E / 39.1993944; 9.1349528 (Stadio Sant'Elia) 44°29′32.33″N 11°18′34.80″E / 44.4923139°N 11.3096667°E / 44.4923139; 11.3096667 (Stadio Renato Dall'Ara) 38°9′9.96″N 13°20′32.19″E / 38.1527667°N 13.3422750°E / 38.1527667; 13.3422750 (Stadio Renzo Barbera) 44°24′59.15″N 8°57′8.74″E / 44.4164306°N 8.9524278°E / 44.4164306; 8.9524278 (Stadio Luigi Ferraris)
Capacity: 35,238[18][19] Capacity: 34,520[18][19] Capacity: 33,288[18][19] Capacity: 31,823[18][19]

1990 FIFA World Cup Venues articles: 24

Squads

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).

1990 FIFA World Cup Squads articles: 4

Match officials

41 match officials from 34 countries were assigned to the tournament to serve as referees and assistant referees. Officials in italics were only used as assistants during the tournament. Referees dressed only in traditional black jerseys for the final time at a World Cup (a red change shirt was used for two Group C games in which Scotland wore their navy blue shirts).

1990 FIFA World Cup Match officials articles: 69

Draw

Seedings

The six seeded teams for the 1990 tournament were announced on 7 December 1989.[20] 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, primarily based on the nations' performance in 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, the missing nations being Mexico (quarter-final in 1986) and France (third place). 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, albeit by fourth-placed Belgium, while England had been defeated in 90 minutes by eventual winners Argentina; both countries had also reached the second stage in the 1982 event, playing in the same group in the second group stage with England ending up ahead of Spain, 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.

Spanish officials 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. Their 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".[20] 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".[20]

Meanwhile, the Netherlands also had an argument that on grounds of recent footballing form, they should be seeded, as the winners of the 1988 European Championship, in which both Spain and England had been eliminated in the group stages, while Belgium (fourth in the 1986 World Cup after beating Spain, and thus seeded in 1990) had failed to even qualify: but this argument was countered by the fact that the Netherlands had themselves failed to qualify for both the 1982 and 1986 World Cups, which was considered the most important factor in the decision not to seed them.[21]

As it happened, the two teams considered the most unlucky not to be seeded, namely Spain and the Netherlands, were both drawn in groups against the two teams considered the weakest of the seeded nations, namely Belgium and England: and the arguments over the seeding positions fizzled out. England could be said to have justified their seeded position by narrowly winning their group ahead of the Netherlands: while Spain seemed to have made their own point about being worth a seeded position, by defeating Belgium to top their own group, in doing so gaining a measure of revenge for the fact that it was Belgium who had eliminated them in 1986.

Seeds Pot 1[22] Pot 2[22] Pot 3[22]

 Italy (1st)
 Argentina (2nd)
 Brazil (3rd)
 West Germany (4th)
 Belgium (5th)
 England (6th)

 Cameroon
 Costa Rica
 Egypt
 South Korea
 United Arab Emirates
 United States

 Colombia
 Czechoslovakia
 Republic of Ireland
 Romania
 Sweden
 Uruguay

 Austria
 Netherlands
 Scotland
 Spain
 Soviet Union
 Yugoslavia

Final draw

Ciao, a stick figure in the colours of the Italy Tricolore, was the mascot for the 1990 FIFA World Cup.

On 9 December 1989 the draw was conducted at the Palazzetto dello Sport in Rome, where the teams were drawn out from the three pots to be placed with the seeded teams in their predetermined groups. The only stipulation of the draw was that no group could feature two South American teams.[22] 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.[23]

The draw show was FIFA's most ambitious yet with Pelé, Bobby Moore and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge appearing, as well as a performance of the Italian version of the tournament's official song "To Be Number One" by Giorgio Moroder, performed as "Un'estate italiana" by Edoardo Bennato and Gianna Nannini.[24]

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 that formed the word "ITALIA" when deconstructed and reconstructed.[25] Its name is a greeting in Italian.

Tournament review

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.

Negative tactics

The tournament generated a record low goals-per-game average and a then-record of 16 red cards were handed out.[5] In the knockout stage, many teams played defensively for 120 minutes, with the intention of trying their luck in the penalty shoot-out, rather than risk going forward. Two exceptions were the eventual champions West Germany and hosts Italy, the only teams to win three of their four knockout matches in normal time. There were four penalty shoot-outs, a record subsequently equalled in the 2006, 2014 and 2018 tournaments. Eight matches went to extra time, a record equalled in the 2014 tournament.

Ireland and Argentina were prime examples of this trend of cautious defensive play; the Irish team fell behind in two of their three group matches and only equalised late in both games. Losing finalists Argentina, meanwhile, scored only five goals in the entire tournament (a record low for a finalist). Argentina also became the first team to advance twice on penalty shoot-outs and the first team to fail to score and have a player sent off in a World Cup final.[1]

Largely as a result of this trend FIFA introduced the back-pass rule in time for the 1994 tournament 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.

Emergence of Cameroon

Cameroon reached the quarter-finals, where they were narrowly defeated by England.[1] They opened the tournament with a shock victory over reigning champions Argentina, before topping the group ahead of them, Romania 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.[1] Most of Cameroon's squad was made up of players who played in France's premier football league, Ligue 1- French is one of the officially spoken languages in Cameroon, it being a former French territory. 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 allocate the CAF qualifying zone an additional place for the next World Cup tournament.

All-champion final four

Despite the performances of nations such as Cameroon, Colombia, Ireland, Romania and Costa Rica, the semi-finalists consisted of Argentina, England, Italy and West Germany, all previous World Cup winners, with 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.

1990 FIFA World Cup Draw articles: 30

Group stage

All times are Central European Summer Time (UTC+2)

In the following tables:

  • Pld = total games played
  • W = total games won
  • D = total games drawn (tied)
  • L = total games lost
  • GF = total goals scored (goals for)
  • GA = total goals conceded (goals against)
  • GD = goal difference (GF−GA)
  • Pts = total points accumulated

The 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.

Typical of a World Cup staged in Europe, the matches all started at either 5:00 or 9:00 in the evening; this allowed for the games to avoid being played in the heat of an Italian summer, which would soar past 86F (30C) all over Italy.

If teams were level on points, they were ranked on the following criteria in order:

  1. Greatest total goal difference in the three group matches
  2. Greatest number of goals scored in the three group matches
  3. Most points earned in matches against other teams in the tie
  4. Greatest goal difference in matches against other teams in the tie
  5. Greatest number of goals scored in matches against other teams in the tie
  6. Drawing of lots

Group A

Hosts Italy won Group A with a 100 percent 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.

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Italy (H) 3 3 0 0 4 0 +4 6 Advance to knockout stage
2  Czechoslovakia 3 2 0 1 6 3 +3 4
3  Austria 3 1 0 2 2 3 −1 2
4  United States 3 0 0 3 2 8 −6 0
Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Group stage tiebreakers
(H) Host.
9 June 1990
Italy  1–0  Austria Stadio Olimpico, Rome
10 June 1990
United States  1–5  Czechoslovakia Stadio Comunale, Florence
14 June 1990
Italy  1–0  United States Stadio Olimpico, Rome
15 June 1990
Austria  0–1  Czechoslovakia Stadio Comunale, Florence
19 June 1990
Italy  2–0  Czechoslovakia Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Austria  2–1  United States Stadio Comunale, Florence

Group B

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 Biyik brothers: 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 the Soviet Union (in what would be their last World Cup due to the dissolution of the Soviet Union), who were striving to stay in the tournament on goal difference after successive 2–0 defeats. Argentina lost their veteran goalkeeper, Nery Pumpido, to a broken leg during their victory over the USSR: his replacement, Sergio Goycochea, proved to be one of the stars of their tournament. In the final match, a 1–1 draw between Romania and Argentina sent both through, equal on points and on goal difference but Romania having the advantage on goals scored: Romania were thus second, Argentina qualified as one of the best third-placed teams.

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Cameroon 3 2 0 1 3 5 −2 4 Advance to knockout stage
2  Romania 3 1 1 1 4 3 +1 3
3  Argentina 3 1 1 1 3 2 +1 3
4  Soviet Union 3 1 0 2 4 4 0 2
Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Group stage tiebreakers
8 June 1990
Argentina  0–1  Cameroon San Siro, Milan
9 June 1990
Soviet Union  0–2  Romania Stadio San Nicola, Bari
13 June 1990
Argentina  2–0  Soviet Union Stadio San Paolo, Naples
14 June 1990
Cameroon  2–1  Romania Stadio San Nicola, Bari
18 June 1990
Argentina  1–1  Romania Stadio San Paolo, Naples
Cameroon  0–4  Soviet Union Stadio San Nicola, Bari

Group C

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.

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Brazil 3 3 0 0 4 1 +3 6 Advance to knockout stage
2  Costa Rica 3 2 0 1 3 2 +1 4
3  Scotland 3 1 0 2 2 3 −1 2
4  Sweden 3 0 0 3 3 6 −3 0
Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Group stage tiebreakers
10 June 1990
Brazil  2–1  Sweden Stadio delle Alpi, Turin
11 June 1990
Costa Rica  1–0  Scotland Stadio Luigi Ferraris, Genoa
16 June 1990
Brazil  1–0  Costa Rica Stadio delle Alpi, Turin
Sweden