1990 – Italy

World Cup 1990 Final

1990 World Cup champion: The German team with captain Lothar Matthäus holding the FIFA World Cup trophy

World Cup 1990 Facts

World Cup 1990 Poster

1990 World Cup poster

  • Date: 8 June – 8 July
  • Final: West Germany – Argentina 1-0
  • 3rd place: Italy – England 2-1
  • Teams: 24
  • Stadiums: 12
  • Host cities: 12
  • Matches played: 52
  • Goals: 115
  • Attendance: 2,393,031
  • Top scorer: Salvatore Schillaci (Italy) (6 goals)

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 Background

12 host cities in 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 Match Ball

1990 World Cup match ball “Etrusco Unico”

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:

Group AGroup BGroup C
United States
Soviet Union
Costa Rica
Group DGroup EGroup F
West Germany
United Arab Emirates
South Korea
Republic of Ireland
World Cup 1990 Logo

1990 World Cup logo

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:

Stadio Olimpico
Location: Rome
Opened: 1937
Capacity: 72,698
Matches: 6
Status: Is the 2nd biggest stadium in Italy, is rebuilt for the World Cup and the inside has been restyled in 2008
Stadio San Siro
Location: Milan
Opened: 1926
Capacity: 85,700
Matches: 6
Status: Is named Stadio Giuseppe Meazza and is the biggest stadium in Italy
Stadio San Paolo
Location: Naples
Opened: 1959
Capacity: 74,000
Matches: 5
Status: Is a multi-purpose stadium and there were plans to name it after Diego Maradona stadium, which was not allowed
Stadio delle Alpi
Location: Turin
Opened: 1990
Capacity: 68,000
Matches: 5
Status: Is demolished in 2009 and has been replaced with the Juventus Stadium
Stadio San Nicola
Location: Bari
Opened: 1990
Capacity: 56,000
Matches: 5
Status: Is a multi-use all-seater stadium which is sometimes called a spaceship
Stadio Artemio Franchi
Location: Florence
Opened: 1931
Capacity: 41,000
Matches: 4
Status: Was also called Stadio Comunale and underwent renovations for the World Cup
Stadio Renato Dall'Ara
Location: Bologna
Opened: 1927
Capacity: 39,000
Matches: 4
Status: Was named Stadio Littoriale and is a multi-purpose stadium
Stadio Friuli
Location: Udine
Opened: 1976
Capacity: 38,000
Matches: 3
Status: Is a multi-purpose stadium and is currently being renovated till 2014
Stadio La Favorita
Location: Palermo
Opened: 1932
Capacity: 36,000
Matches: 3
Status: Is named Stadio Renzo Barbera and was redeveloped in 1943, 1984 and 1989 for the World Cup
Stadio Luigi Ferraris
Location: Genoa
Opened: 1911
Capacity: 36,000
Matches: 4
Status: , Is known as the Marassi and is 1 of the oldest stadiums still in use for football
Stadio Sant'Elia
Location: Cagliari
Opened: 1970
Capacity: 40,000
Matches: 3
Status: Underwent major changes and restructuring for the World Cup and is currently closed down for restruction
Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi
Location: Verona
Opened: 1963
Capacity: 42,000
Matches: 4
Status: Was inaugurated as a state-of-the-art venue and has been renovated extensively in '89

World Cup 1990 Schedule

Group A matches
Date Home Team Results Away Team
09 June Italy 1:0 (0:0) Austria
10 June USA 1:5 (0:2) Czechoslovakia
14 June Italy 1:0 (1:0) USA
15 June Austria 0:1 (0:1) Czechoslovakia
19 June Italy 2:0 (1:0) Czechoslovakia
19 June Austria 2:1 (0:0) USA

Group A results
TeamPlayedWonDrawLostGoals ForGoals AgainstPoints

Group B matches
Date Home Team Results Away Team
08 June Argentina 0:1 (0:0) Cameroon
09 June Soviet Union 0:2 (0:1) Romania
13 June Argentina 2:0 (1:0) Soviet Union
14 June Cameroon 2:1 (0:0) Romania
18 June Argentina 1:1 (0:0) Romania
18 June Cameroon 0:4 (0:2) Soviet Union

Group B results
TeamPlayedWonDrawLostGoals ForGoals AgainstPoints
Soviet Union3102442

Group C matches
Date Home Team Results Away Team
10 June Brazil 2:1 (1:0) Sweden
11 June Costa Rica 1:0 (0:0) Scotland
16 June Brazil 1:0 (1:0) Costa Rica
16 June Sweden 1:2 (0:1) Scotland
20 June Brazil 1:0 (0:0) Scotland
20 June Sweden 1:2 (1:0) Costa Rica

Group C results
TeamPlayedWonDrawLostGoals ForGoals AgainstPoints
Costa Rica3201324

Group D matches
Date Home Team Results Away Team
09 June United Arab Emirates 0:2 (0:0) Colombia
10 June Germany FR 4:1 (2:0) Yugoslavia
14 June Yugoslavia 1:0 (0:0) Colombia
15 June Germany FR 5:1 (2:0) United Arab Emirates
19 June Germany FR 1:1 (0:0) Colombia
19 June Yugoslavia 4:1 (2:1) United Arab Emirates

Group D results
TeamPlayedWonDrawLostGoals ForGoals AgainstPoints
Germany FR32101035
United Arab Emirates30032110

Group E matches
Date Home Team Results Away Team
12 June Belgium 2:0 (0:0) Korea Republic
13 June Uruguay 0:0 Spain
17 June Belgium 3:1 (2:0) Uruguay
17 June Korea Republic 1:3 (1:1) Spain
21 June Belgium 1:2 (1:2) Spain
21 June Korea Republic 0:1 (0:0) Uruguay

Group E results
TeamPlayedWonDrawLostGoals ForGoals AgainstPoints
Korea Republic3003160

Group F matches
Date Home Team Results Away Team
11 June England 1:1 (1:0) Republic of Ireland
12 June Netherlands 1:1 (0:0) Egypt
16 June England 0:0 Netherlands
17 June Republic of Ireland 0:0 Egypt
21 June England 1:0 (0:0) Egypt
21 June Republic of Ireland 1:1 (0:1) Netherlands

Group F results
TeamPlayedWonDrawLostGoals ForGoals AgainstPoints
Republic of Ireland3030223

Round of 16
Date Home Team Results Away Team
23 June Cameroon 2:1 a.e.t. Colombia
23 June Czechoslovakia 4:1 (1:0) Costa Rica
24 June Brazil 0:1 (0:0) Argentina
24 June Germany FR 2:1 (0:0) Netherlands
25 June Republic of Ireland 0:0 a.e.t. 5:4 PSO Romania
25 June Italy 2:0 (0:0) Uruguay
26 June Spain 1:2 a.e.t. (1:1, 0:0) Yugoslavia
26 June England 1:0 a.e.t. Belgium
Date Home Team Results Away Team
30 June Yugoslavia 0:0 a.e.t. 2:3 PSO Argentina
30 June Italy 1:0 (1:0) Republic of Ireland
01 July Germany FR 1:0 (1:0) Czechoslovakia
01 July England 3:2 a.e.t. (2:2, 1:0) Cameroon
Date Home Team Results Away Team
03 July Italy 1:1 a.e.t. (1:1, 1:0) 3:4 PSO Argentina
04 July Germany FR 1:1 a.e.t. (1:1, 0:0) 4:3 PSO England
Match for third place
Date Home Team Results Away Team
07 July Italy 2:1 (0:0) England
Date Home Team Results Away Team
08 July Germany FR 1:0 (0:0) Argentina

World Cup 1990 Memorable Matches

Group Matches

Group A

Italy – Czechoslovakia 2-0
Stadio Olimpico, Rome – attendance: 73,303

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 match.

Group B (Group of Death)

Argentina – Cameroon 0-1
San Siro, Milan – attendance: 73,780

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
Stadio Delle Alpi, Turin – attendance: 58,007

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
San Siro, Milan – attendance: 72,510

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
Stadio Friuli, Udine – attendance: 32,733

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
Stadio Sant’Elia, Cagliari – attendance: 35,238

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
Stadio San Paolo, Naples – attendance: 50,026

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
Stadio Delle Alpi, Turin – attendance: 61,381

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.


Yugoslavia – Argentina 0-0 (2-3)
Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence – attendance: 38,971

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.


Italy – Argentina 1-1 (3-4)
Stadio San Paolo, Naples – attendance: 59,978

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.

World Cup 1990 Final

The 1990 German team

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 including the finalists were implementing in their game play, only 1 goal was scored was in this Final.

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.

World Cup 1990 Final

Maradona taking on Guido Buchwald and Lothar Matthäus

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.

World Cup 1990 Final

Andreas Brehme is scoring the crucial penalty

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.

World Cup 1990 Final

Germany won their 3rd World Cup after 16 years

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 Final

Argentina = Blue (Coach: Carlos Bilardo)
West Germany = White (Coach: Franz Beckenbauer)

World Cup 1990 Mascot

World Cup 1990 Mascot

1990 World Cup mascot Ciao

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

  • 3 countries qualified for the first time: Costa Rica, Republic of Ireland and the United Arab Emirates
  • Italy is the 2nd country to host a World Cup twice
  • West Germany is the 3rd country to win a World Cup 3 times after Brazil and Italy
  • West Germany became the first country to play 3 consecutive World Cup Finals (1982, 1986, 1990)
  • West Germany became the most successful team in World Cup history with 3 World cup wins and 6 Finals played, but this was temporary since Brazil won their 4th World Cup in USA ’94
  • Argentinian Pedro Monzón is the first player to be sent off in a World Cup Final
  • Argentina is the first country not to have scored in a World Cup Final
  • Argentina is the only country so far which advanced twice on penalty shootouts in the same World Cup
  • First time a European (UEFA) country has beaten a non-European country in a World Cup Final
  • 2nd and last time so far the 4 Semi-Finalists are all previous World Cup winners
  • Off all World Cups so far, the 1990 World Cup has the lowest goals-per-match average of just 2.21
  • First and last time so far both Semi-Finals were decided with a penalty shootout
  • 8 times extra time had to be played, a record which still stands
  • 4 penalty shootouts have been taken in total, a record which is equaled in the 2006 World Cup
  • Cameroon is the first African country to have reached the Quarter-Finals
  • Italian goalkeeper Walter Zenga holds the record for the most consecutive minutes without conceding a goal in World Cup history, for 517 minutes (almost 6 matches) no goals were scored until Argentina player Claudio Caniggia scored in the 67th minute of the Semi-Final
  • Republic of Ireland and the Netherlands had the exact same amount of points, goal difference and goals in their group, which meant for the first and last time so far in World Cup history, lots needed to be drawn for the 2nd and 3rd place
  • Republic of Ireland is the 2nd country in World Cup history to have reached the Quarter-Finals without winning any matches (Ireland defeated Romania due to the penalty shootout in the Round of 16)
  • Cameroon became the only country in World Cup history to top their group with a negative goal difference, two 1-0 wins against a 4-0 loss against Soviet Union
  • German Franz Beckenbauer is the 2nd person to have won the World Cup Final as a player (1974) and as a coach (1990)
  • German Franz Beckenbauer is the only person to have won the World Cup Final as a captain and as a coach
  • Czechoslovakia player Tomáš Skuhravý scored a hat-rick only with his head against Costa rica (4-1), this would happen only once more in World Cup history, where in 2002 German Miroslav Klose scored 3 times with the head against Saudi Arabia (8-0)

Did You Know

  • The 1990 World Cup Final contained the same countries as in the 1986 World Cup, but this time with West Germany as the winner
  • Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and West Germany would never play a World Cup again since all 3 nations ceased to exist
  • Last time Yugoslavia played as Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
  • Last World Cup which included a divided side of Germany (West Germany) since East and West Germany would be united again later in 1990
  • 1986 World Cup champion Argentina lost their first match (against Cameroon), which also occurred in the 1982 World Cup as 1978 World Cup champions (against Belgium)
  • Italian Salvatore Schillaci scored 6 of his 7 career international goals which resulted in winning the Golden Boot 
  • Last World Cup where only 2 points were awarded to a win
  • Many teams played ‘safe’ and preferred to take their chances in the penalty shootout rather than to take major risks going forward
  • The 1990 World Cup is the first to be officially recorded and transmitted in HDTV (By Italian broadcaster RAI)
  • Cameroon player Roger Milla celebrated his goals in a unique rhythmic manner, making way for many other unique celebrations to come after the 1990 World Cup

  • Brazilian star player Romario got seriously injured 3 months before the 1990 world Cup and therefore only played 66 minutes in total (in the group match against Scotland)
  • Etrusco Unico match ball features motifs of Etruscan lion heads referring to the ancient Italian civilization of the Etruscans
  • Etrusco Unico match ball has a resistance to tearing and is water tight

World Cup 1990 FIFA Awards

  • Golden Ball: Salvatore Schillaci (Italy)
  • Silver Ball: Lothar Matthäus (West Germany)
  • Bronze Ball: Diego Maradona (Argentina)
  • Golden Boot: Salvatore Schillaci (Italy) (6 goals)
  • Silver Boot: Tomáš Skuhravý (Czechoslovakia) (5 goals)
  • Bronze Boot: Roger Milla (Cameroon), Míchel (Spain), Lothar Matthäus (West Germany), Gary Lineker (England) (4 goals)
  • Best Young Player Award: Robert Prosinečki (21 years old) (Yugoslavia)
  • FIFA Fair Play Trophy: England
World Cup 1990 FIFA Awards

Salvatore Schillaci (Italy)

World Cup 1990 FIFA Awards

Lothar Matthäus (West Germany)


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.

Sergio Goycochea (Argentina)
Luis Gabelo Conejo (Costa Rica)
Andreas Brehme (West Germany)
Paolo Maldini (Italy)
Franco Baresi (Italy)
Diego Maradona (Argentina)
Lothar Matthäus (West Germany)
Dragan Stojkovic (Yugoslavia)
Paul Gascoigne (England)
Salvatore Schillaci (Italy)
Roger Milla (Cameroon)
Jürgen Klinsmann (West Germany)

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

BBC Review of World Cup 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)

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