1994 – USA

World Cup 1994 Final

1994 World Cup champion: The Brazilian team with Romário holding the FIFA World Cup trophy

World Cup 1994 Facts

World Cup 1994 Poster

1994 World Cup poster

  • Date: 17 June – 17 July
  • Final: Brazil – Italy 3-2 (penalties)
  • 3rd place: Sweden – Bulgaria 4-0
  • Teams: 24
  • Stadiums: 9
  • Host cities: 9
  • Matches played: 52
  • Goals: 141
  • Attendance: 3,587,538
  • Top scorers: Hristo Stoichkov (Bulgaria), Oleg Salenko (Russia) (6 goals)

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 Background

9 host cities in USA

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 Match Ball

1994 World Cup match ball “Questra”

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:

Group AGroup BGroup C
United States
South Korea
Group DGroup EGroup F
Republic of Ireland
Saudi Arabia
World Cup 1994 Logo

1994 World Cup logo

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:

Rose Bowl
Location: Los Angeles
Opened: 1922
Capacity: 91,794
Matches: 8
Status: Is an athletic stadium and is the largest stadium in USA that hosts football matches
Pontiac Silverdome
Location: Detroit
Opened: 1975
Capacity: 77,557
Matches: 4
Status: Is named Silverdome and is an indoor stadium, it was temporary closed in 2006 and has been reopened in 2010
Stanford Stadium
Location: San Francisco
Opened: 1921
Capacity: 80,906
Matches: 6
Status: Is an outdoor athletic stadium and has been demolished and rebuilt in 2005
Giants Stadium
Location: New York
Opened: 1976
Capacity: 75,338
Matches: 7
Status: Was demolished in 2010 and is replaced by the MetLife Stadium
Citrus Bowl
Location: Orlando
Opened: 1936
Capacity: 61,219
Matches: 5
Status: Is named the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium and inside improvements were made from 1999 to 2002
Soldier Field
Location: Chicago
Opened: 1924
Capacity: 63,117
Matches: 5
Status: Is an American football stadium and and has been reopened in 2003 after an extensive interior renovation
Cotton Bowl
Location: Dallas
Opened: 1930
Capacity: 63,998
Matches: 6
Status: Is originally known as Fair Park Stadium and renovations occurred in 2008
Foxboro Stadium
Location: Boston
Opened: 1971
Capacity: 53,644
Matches: 6
Status: Was demolished in 2002 and is replaced by a shopping center
Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium
Location: Washington
Opened: 1961
Capacity: 53,142
Matches: 5
Status: Is commonly known as the RFK stadium

World Cup 1994 Schedule

Group A matches
Date Home Team Results Away Team
18 June USA 1:1 (1:1) Switzerland
18 June Colombia 1:3 (1:2) Romania
22 June Romania 1:4 (1:1) Switzerland
22 June USA 2:1 (1:0) Colombia
26 June USA 0:1 (0:1) Romania
26 June Switzerland 0:2 (0:1) Colombia
Group A results
TeamPlayedWonDrawLostGoals ForGoals AgainstPoints
Group B matches
Date Home Team Results Away Team
19 June Cameroon 2:2 (1:1) Sweden
20 June Brazil 2:0 (1:0) Russia
24 June Brazil 3:0 (1:0) Cameroon
24 June Sweden 3:1 (1:1) Russia
28 June Russia 6:1 (3:0) Cameroon
28 June Brazil 1:1 (0:1) Sweden
Group B results
TeamPlayedWonDrawLostGoals ForGoals AgainstPoints
Group C matches
Date Home Team Results Away Team
17 June Germany 1:0 (0:0) Bolivia
17 June Spain 2:2 (0:0) Korea Republic
21 June Germany 1:1 (0:1) Spain
23 June Korea Republic 0:0 Bolivia
27 June Bolivia 1:3 (0:1) Spain
27 June Germany 3:2 (3:0) Korea Republic
Group C results
TeamPlayedWonDrawLostGoals ForGoals AgainstPoints
Korea Republic3021452
Group D matches
Date Home Team Results Away Team
21 June Argentina 4:0 (2:0) Greece
21 June Nigeria 3:0 (2:0) Bulgaria
25 June Argentina 2:1 (2:1) Nigeria
26 June Bulgaria 4:0 (1:0) Greece
30 June Greece 0:2 (0:1) Nigeria
30 June Argentina 0:2 (0:0) Bulgaria
Group D results
TeamPlayedWonDrawLostGoals ForGoals AgainstPoints
Group E matches
Date Home Team Results Away Team
18 June Italy 0:1 (0:1) Republic of Ireland
19 June Norway 1:0 (0:0) Mexico
23 June Italy 1:0 (0:0) Norway
24 June Mexico 2:1 (1:0) Republic of Ireland
28 June Republic of Ireland 0:0 Norway
28 June Italy 1:1 (0:0) Mexico
Group E results
TeamPlayedWonDrawLostGoals ForGoals AgainstPoints
Republic of Ireland3111224
Group F matches
Date Home Team Results Away Team
19 June Belgium 1:0 (1:0) Morocco
20 June Netherlands 2:1 (0:1) Saudi Arabia
25 June Belgium 1:0 (0:0) Netherlands
25 June Saudi Arabia 2:1 (2:1) Morocco
29 June Morocco 1:2 (0:1) Netherlands
29 June Belgium 0:1 (0:1) Saudi Arabia
Group F results
TeamPlayedWonDrawLostGoals ForGoals AgainstPoints
Saudi Arabia3201436
Round of 16
Date Home Team Results Away Team
02 July Germany 3:2 (3:1) Belgium
02 July Spain 3:0 (1:0) Switzerland
03 July Saudi Arabia 1:3 (0:1) Sweden
03 July Romania 3:2 (2:1) Argentina
04 July Netherlands 2:0 (2:0) Republic of Ireland
04 July Brazil 1:0 (0:0) USA
05 July Nigeria 1:2 a.e.t. (1:1, 1:0) Italy
05 July Mexico 1:1 a.e.t. (1:1, 1:1) 1:3 PSO Bulgaria
Date Home Team Results Away Team
09 July Italy 2:1 (1:0) Spain
09 July Netherlands 2:3 (0:0) Brazil
10 July Bulgaria 2:1 (0:0) Germany
10 July Romania 2:2 a.e.t. (1:1, 0:0) 4:5 PSO Sweden
Date Home Team Results Away Team
13 July Bulgaria 1:2 (1:2) Italy
13 July Sweden 0:1 (0:0) Brazil
Match for third place
Date Home Team Results Away Team
16 July Sweden 4:0 (4:0) Bulgaria
Date Home Team Results Away Team
17 July Brazil 0:0 a.e.t. 3:2 PSO Italy

World Cup 1994 Memorable Matches

Group Matches

Group A

USA – Colombia 2-1
Rose Bowl, Pasadena – attendance: 93,869

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 (Group of Death)

Russia – Cameroon 6-1
Stanford Stadium, Palo Alto – attendance: 74,914

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
Cotton Bowl, Dallas – attendance: 63,998

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
Foxboro Stadium, Foxborough – attendance: 54,456

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.

Nigerian striker Rashidi Yekini scores first goal for Nigeria, celebrating it memorably (Nigeria – Bulgaria 3-0)

Group E (Group of Death)

Mexico – Republic of Ireland 2-1
Citrus Bowl, Orlando – attendance: 60,790

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.

Group F

Belgium – Netherlands 1-0
Citrus Bowl, Orlando  – attendance: 62,387

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
Soldier Field, Chicago – attendance: 60,246

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. Romanian forward 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
Foxboro Stadium, Foxborough – attendance: 54,367

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 …


Netherlands – Brazil 2-3
Cotton Bowl, Dallas – attendance: 63,500

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 Mattheus (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.


Bulgaria – Italy 1-2
Giants Stadium, East Rutherford – attendance: 74,110

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 
Rose Bowl, Pasadena – attendance: 91,856

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.

World Cup 1994 Final

The 1994 Brazilian team

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.

World Cup 1994 Final

Romario and Maldini fighting for the ball

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.

World Cup 1994 Final

Roberto Baggio misses the now legendary penalty

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.

World Cup 1994 Final

Bebeto scored crucial goals in this tournament

Both Brazil and Italy would win a World Cup in the next decade.

World Cup 1994 Final

Italy = Blue (Coach: Arrigo Sacchi)
Brazil = Yellow (Coach: Carlos Alberto Parreira)

World Cup 1994 Mascot

World Cup 1994 Mascot

1994 World Cup mascot Striker

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

  • 4 countries qualified for the first time: Greece, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Russia
  • First time Russia participated since the break-up of the Soviet Union
  • Brazil is the first country to have won the World Cup 4 times
  • This is the first Final where no goals have been scored in 120 minutes
  • This is the first Final to be decided by a penalty shootout
  • Italian player Franco Baresi  took the first penalty, but shot the ball wide over the bar
  • USA ’94 has an average attendance of 69,000 per match, a record that still stands today
  • The total 1994 World Cup attendance of almost 3.6 million is a record that hasn’t been broken yet, which is both interesting and impressive since the amount of teams increased from 24 to 32 in France ’98
  • First time 3 points were awarded for a group match win instead of only 2 points
  • First time the back pass rule was used to encourage attacking play, meaning the keeper couldn’t touch the ball with the hands when a team player passes the ball intentionally
  • 2nd and last time so far that 2 teams played each other in a Final twice (their first Final Brazil – Italy was in 1970)
  • The Yashin Award was awarded for the first time
  • The Most Entertaining Team Award was awarded for the first time
  • Russian striker Oleg Salenko is the only player in World Cup history to have scored 5 goals in a World Cup match (against Cameroon)
  • Cameroon player Roger Milla then with the age of 42 is the oldest player to have played in a World Cup
  • Roger Milla was 42 years and 39 days old when he scored his only goal of the tournament against Russia, meaning he is also the oldest player to have scored in a World Cup  
  • Italian goalkeeper Gianluca Pagliuca is the first goalkeeper in World Cup history to be sent off (suspended for 2 matches), in the group match against Norway for stopping the ball outside the keeper area
  • Argentina player Claudio Caniggia scored the 1500th World Cup goal against Nigeria (2-1) in the first round
  • Cameroon player Rigobert Song became the youngest player with the age of 17 to receive a red card
  • Group match USA against Switzerland in the Pontiac Silverdome stadium was the first to be played indoors in World Cup history
  • Greece became the 4th and last country to play all 3 goalkeepers in the World Cup
  • Bulgaria holds the record of having played 17 straight World Cup matches without winning: 6 ties and 11 losses from 1962 till 1994
  • Although Bolivia scored their first World Cup goal in their 3rd group match, they still have the record of having played 5 straight World Cup matches without scoring any goal from 1930 till 1994
  • First time accumulated yellow cards in the group stage were dismissed in the knockout stage, normally a player was suspended for 1 match when 2 yellow cards were received in the tournament but now a player is suspended when he has received 2 yellow cards in the group stage or 2 yellow cards in the knockout stage

Did You Know

  • First time an indoor stadium was used in a World Cup (Pontiac Silverdome in Detroit)
  • East and West Germany reunited again and participated as Germany for the first time since 1938
  • This is the last World Cup with only 24 participants
  • Only World Cup where there are 2 top scorers
  • Brazilian star player Ronaldo joined the 1994 Brazilian team, but didn’t play any matches
  • Russia player Oleg Salenko, the only Golden Boot winner to have played less than 4 matches, scored 5 of his 6 goals in an hour in the group match against Cameroon
  • 24 year gap existed between Cameroon player Roger Milla and his teammate Rigobert Song

  • Brazilian player Raí scored a goal against Russia in a group match, as has been done by his older brother Sócrates who scored a goal against Soviet Union in the 1970 World Cup group match
  • American singer Diana Ross made a funny mistake during in the opening ceremony by failing to score in an empty goal, which should have resulted in the goal breaking up which happened anyway
  • First time team jerseys had team numbers on the center front and the player’s name on the back
  • First time match officials were able to choose coloured jerseys (burgundy, yellow or white) aside from black
  • After reviewing the Round of 16 match Italy – Spain, FIFA suspended Italian player Mauro Tassotti for 8 matches for viciously elbowing Luís Enrique which was not noticed by the referee
  • Last World Cup in which a few matches other than the last 2 in each group were played simultaneously

  • Brazilian player Bebeto celebrated his famous goal in the Quarter-Final against the Netherlands as he was cradle-rocking an imaginary baby, since his 3rd child, son Mattheus (named after German player Lothar Matthäus) was born 2 days before the match
  • Brazil almost didn’t qualify directly for the 1994 World Cup, in the last qualification match against Uruguay Romario scored the 2 winning goals
  • Nigerian winger Finidi George celebrated his goal against Greece uniquely by running to the corner flag, crawling down and imitating a urinating dog
  • Dutch player Marco van Basten missed this World Cup since he had many problems with his ankle, this eventually resulted in the end of his football career
  • Questra match ball was named after USA’s ‘quest for the stars’ and features space-themed decorations to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission (first human to step on the moon)
  • Questra match ball was manufactured from 5 different materials with a final durable but flexible outer layer made from polyurethane, resulting in the ball becoming softer to touch and ball control improvement
  • Argentina player Diego Maradona was called for a drugs test and was tested positive (3rd and last player so far), which meant the end of the World Cup and 15 months suspension by FIFA
  • Diego Maradona made his first appearance as a commentator in the USA after he was kicked out of the competition for failing the anti-doping test
  • Colombia player Andrés Escobar was murdered on July 2 1994 and it is believed that an own goal scored in the group match against USA is the reason. It is believed the end score (2-1) caused huge losses for Colombia’s drug lords

World Cup 1994 FIFA Awards

  • Golden Ball: Romário (Brazil)
  • Silver Ball: Roberto Baggio (Italy)
  • Bronze Ball: Hristo Stoichkov (Bulgaria)
  • Golden Boot: Hristo Stoichkov (Bulgaria), Oleg Salenko (Russia) (6 goals)
  • Silver Boot: Jürgen Klinsmann (Germany), Kennet Andersson (Sweden), Roberto Baggio (Italy), Romário (Brazil) (5 goals)
  • Bronze Boot: Gabriel Batistuta (Argentina), Florin Răducioiu (Romania), Martin Dahlin (Sweden) (4 goals)
  • Best Young Player Award: Marc Overmars (21 years old) (Netherlands)
  • FIFA Fair Play Trophy: Brazil
  • Yashin Award: Michel Preud’homme (Belgium)
  • Most Entertaining Team: Brazil
World Cup 1994 FIFA Awards

Romário (Brazil)

World Cup 1994 FIFA Awards

Hristo Stoichkov (Bulgaria)


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.

Michel Preud'homme (Belgium)Jorginho (Brazil)
Márcio Santos (Brazil)
Paolo Maldini (Italy)
Dunga (Brazil)
Krasimir Balakov (Bulgaria)
Gheorghe Hagi (Romania)
Tomas Brolin (Sweden)
Romário (Brazil)
Hristo Stoichkov (Bulgaria)
Roberto Baggio (Italy)

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

World Cup 94 – The Story of World Cup USA

USA ’94 World Cup – BBC Review

Two Billion Hearts – Official 1994 World Cup Movie (in Portuguese)

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