1990 FIFA World Cup

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1990 FIFA World Cup
Coppa del Mondo Italia '90 (Italian)
1990 FIFA World Cup.svg
Tournament details
Host countryItaly
Dates8 June – 8 July
Teams24 (from 5 confederations)
Venue(s)12 (in 12 host cities)
Final positions
ChampionsFlag of Germany.svg  West Germany (3rd title)
Runners-upFlag of Argentina.svg  Argentina
Third placeFlag of Italy.svg  Italy
Fourth placeFlag of England.svg  England
Tournament statistics
Matches played52
Goals scored115 (2.21 per match)
Attendance2,516,215 (48,389 per match)
Top scorer(s) Flag of Italy.svg Salvatore Schillaci (6 goals)
Best player(s) Flag of Italy.svg Salvatore Schillaci
Best young player Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg Robert Prosinečki
Fair play awardFlag of England.svg  England

The 1990 FIFA World Cup was the 14th FIFA World Cup, a quadrennial football tournament for men's senior national teams. It was held from 8 June to 8 July 1990 in Italy, the second country to host the event for a second time (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 defending champions 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 and Czechoslovakia teams made last appearances. Costa Rica, Ireland and the United Arab Emirates made their first appearances in the finals. As of 2022, this was the last time the United Arab Emirates 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 2.21 goals per game – a record low that still stands [5] – and a then-record 16 red cards, including the first dismissal in a final. The tournament also had a significant lasting influence on the game as a whole. In England, the team's success in this tournament led to the resurgence of the domestic top-flight, which had suffered from violence on the pitch and hooliganism by spectators throughout the 1980s. [6] It saw the introduction of the pre-match Fair Play Flag (then inscribed with "Fair Play Please") to encourage fair play. Overly defensive tactics led to the introduction of the back-pass rule in 1992 and three points for a win instead of two, both of which have encouraged attacking play, increasing spectator interest in the sport. 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]

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 held 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]


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).

Mexico was disqualified during the qualification process for fielding an overage player in a prior youth tournament. [15]

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. As of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, this is the most recent World Cup not to feature Mexico.

Returning after long absences were Egypt, which appeared for the first time since 1934; the United States (which would not miss a World Cup again until 2018), which competed for the first time since 1950; Colombia, which appeared for the first time since 1962; Romania, which 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 that failed to qualify were 1986 semi-finalist France (missing its first World Cup since 1974) and Poland (its first since 1970).

List of qualified teams

The following 24 teams qualified for the final tournament.


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 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 España '82 and México '86, 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 but two competitive matches in Rome: their semi-final match was played in Napoli, and their third-place match in Bari), 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 in the insular 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, played all 3 of their group stage matches in Cagliari on the island of Sardinia. [16] 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 England national team while they played friendlies on the European continent – the distrust of English fans was high enough that the English Football Association'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 heavy – in addition to 7,000 local police, the Carabinieri and special forces of the Italian military were also there patrolling the premises. The Italian authorities' 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. [17] [18]

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 hosted 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″N9°7′27.14″E / 45.4780250°N 9.1242056°E / 45.4780250; 9.1242056 (San Siro) 41°56′1.99″N12°27′17.23″E / 41.9338861°N 12.4547861°E / 41.9338861; 12.4547861 (Stadio Olimpico) 45°06′34.42″N7°38′28.54″E / 45.1095611°N 7.6412611°E / 45.1095611; 7.6412611 (Stadio delle Alpi) 40°49′40.68″N14°11′34.83″E / 40.8279667°N 14.1930083°E / 40.8279667; 14.1930083 (Stadio San Paolo)
Capacity: 74,559 [19] [20] Capacity: 73,603 [19] [20] Capacity: 62,628 [19] [20] Capacity: 59,978 [19] [20]
San Siro - panoramio (2).jpg Stadio Olimpico 2008.JPG Torino, Stadio 'Delle Alpi', Mondiali 1990, Brasile-Svezia 2-1.jpg Stadio San Paolo (Napoli vs Club Brugge) - panoramio (4).jpg
Bari Florence
Stadio San Nicola Stadio Comunale
41°5′5.05″N16°50′24.26″E / 41.0847361°N 16.8400722°E / 41.0847361; 16.8400722 (Stadio San Nicola) 43°46′50.96″N11°16′56.13″E / 43.7808222°N 11.2822583°E / 43.7808222; 11.2822583 (Stadio Artemio Franchi)
Capacity: 51,426 [19] [20] Capacity: 38,971 [19] [20]
Stadio San Nicola Bari 2009.jpg Soccer in Florence, Italy, 2007.jpg
Verona Udine
Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi Stadio Friuli
45°26′7.28″N10°58′7.13″E / 45.4353556°N 10.9686472°E / 45.4353556; 10.9686472 (Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi) 46°4′53.77″N13°12′0.49″E / 46.0816028°N 13.2001361°E / 46.0816028; 13.2001361 (Stadio Friuli)
Capacity: 35,950 [19] [20] Capacity: 35,713 [19] [20]
Italy - Verona - Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi.jpg Stadio "Friuli" - panoramio.jpg
Cagliari Bologna Palermo Genoa
Stadio Sant'Elia Stadio Renato Dall'Ara Stadio La Favorita Stadio Luigi Ferraris
39°11′57.82″N9°8′5.83″E / 39.1993944°N 9.1349528°E / 39.1993944; 9.1349528 (Stadio Sant'Elia) 44°29′32.33″N11°18′34.80″E / 44.4923139°N 11.3096667°E / 44.4923139; 11.3096667 (Stadio Renato Dall'Ara) 38°9′9.96″N13°20′32.19″E / 38.1527667°N 13.3422750°E / 38.1527667; 13.3422750 (Stadio Renzo Barbera) 44°24′59.15″N8°57′8.74″E / 44.4164306°N 8.9524278°E / 44.4164306; 8.9524278 (Stadio Luigi Ferraris)
Capacity: 35,238 [19] [20] Capacity: 34,520 [19] [20] Capacity: 33,288 [19] [20] Capacity: 31,823 [19] [20]
Stadio Sant'Elia 1970.jpg Stadio Dall'Ara 01-02-2020.jpg Stadio R Barbera.JPG Stadio Luigi Ferraris di Genova.jpg


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).

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).



The six seeded teams for the 1990 tournament were announced on 7 December 1989, two days ahead of the draw. The FIFA Organising Committee also decided ahead of the draw, to allocate the six seeded teams into the first position of the six groups, in the alphabetic order of their seeding rank: first seed to Group A, second seed to Group B, etc. [21] The seeds were decided by FIFA, primarily based on the nations' ranked position in the 1986 World Cup (counting double), with the ranked position in the 1982 World Cup also considered as a secondary influence (counting normal). [22]

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 did not reach the final eight in 1986, but were despite of this still seeded first in 1990 as hosts. In total, the primary seeding criteria hereby resulted in seven countries to be potentially seeded. As the tournament structure only had place for the selection of six seeded teams, this left FIFA needing to exclude one of the six teams qualifying for a seed based on the primary sporting criteria. FIFA first decided, that all qualified teams having played the 1986 semifinals (Argentina, Germany, Belgium), should be guaranteed a seeding place behind the first seeded host nation Italy. Consequently, one of the three qualified nations who were eliminated in the 1986 quarter-finals (Brazil, England or Spain), should not be seeded based on the secondary sporting criteria - looking at their 1982 FIFA World Cup results.

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 therefore had to choose if England or Spain should be granted the last seeding slot, and ultimately opted to seed England ahead of Spain. [21]

Spain had only been eliminated in their 1986 quarter-final on penalties, albeit by fourth-placed Belgium, while England had been defeated in their 1986 quarter-final after 90 minutes by eventual winners Argentina. If the only criteria had been the 1986 ranking, then Spain should have been seeded as #6 instead of England; a viewpoint being supported by FIFA President João Havelange as late as 29 November 1989. [23] If taking the 1982 ranking into consideration, England however had performed slightly better than Spain - as they had finished ahead of them in Group B of the second group stage. If only considering the results of the 1978 event, it could on the other hand have been counter argued, that Spain by their group stage performance and Netherlands by their silver medal accomplishment, should have been seeded rather than England and Belgium who both had failed to qualify.

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. [16] 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". [21] 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". [21]

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. However, this argument was countered by the fact that 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. [24]

The arguments whether or not seeding positions were justified, mainly existed ahead of the draw, and rapidly fizzled out after the draw, as the two teams considered the most unlucky not to be seeded (Spain and Netherlands), were both drawn in groups against the two teams considered the weakest of the seeded nations (Belgium and England). After the group stage had been completed, England could be said to have justified their seeded position by winning their Group F ahead of Ireland and Netherlands; while Spain seemed to have made their own point about being worth a seeded position, by defeating Belgium to top their own Group E.

Top Seeded teams [21]
(hosts and top6-ranked from 1982 & 1986)
Pot 1 [25]
Africa, Asia & North America
Pot 2 [25]
South America & Europe II
Pot 3 [25]
Best unseeded from Europe

Flag of Italy.svg  Italy (hosts, A1) (1st)
Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina (holders, B1) (2nd)
Flag of Brazil (1968-1992).svg  Brazil (C1) (3rd)
Flag of Germany.svg  West Germany (D1) (4th)
Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium (E1) (5th)
Flag of England.svg  England (F1) (6th)

Flag of Cameroon.svg  Cameroon
Flag of Costa Rica.svg  Costa Rica
Flag of Egypt.svg  Egypt
Flag of South Korea (1984-1997).svg  South Korea
Flag of the United Arab Emirates.svg  United Arab Emirates
Flag of the United States.svg  United States

Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia
Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czechoslovakia
Flag of Ireland.svg  Republic of Ireland
Flag of Romania.svg  Romania
Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden
Flag of Uruguay.svg  Uruguay

Flag of Austria.svg  Austria
Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands
Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland
Flag of Spain.svg  Spain
Flag of the Soviet Union.svg  Soviet Union
Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg  Yugoslavia

Final draw

Ciao, a stick figure in the colours of the Italy Tricolore, was the mascot for the 1990 FIFA World Cup. Mascotte di italia 90.JPG
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, in alphabetic order. A special draw decided teams should first be drawn from Pot 1, then from Pot 3, and finally from Pot 2. Each drawn team also had their group position number drawn from a separate group bowl, in order to decide their exact match schedule. The only stipulation of the draw was that no group could feature two South American teams. Hence, a special rule was set up that: [25] [26] [27]

The procedure for the draw, was presented by FIFA at a press meeting the day before the draw. However, after having received objections from Italian officials, FIFA opted to slightly change their special Pot 2 rule, during the last 24 hours ahead of the draw. Before this rule was changed into the final wording given in the paragraph above, it had been intended to say: [28]

This dropped initial wording, would have increased the risk for Italy in Group A to draw one of the difficult two South American teams, instead of one of the easier European teams from Pot 2; because for Italy to get paired with a European Pot 2 team it would have required the less likely event that all three first drawn teams from Pot 2 should be European. When FIFA accepted to change the Pot 2 rule into the final version presented at the televised draw, this lowered the chance for the Italian Group A to draw a South American Pot 2 team, from the 80% chance created by the initial wording to only a 33% chance (two out of six teams). [28]

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. [16] 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. [29]

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. [30] Its name is a greeting in Italian.

Results of the draw

Group A [26] [27] Group B [26] [27] Group C [26] [27] Group D [26] [27] Group E [26] [27] Group F [26] [27]

1. Flag of Italy.svg  Italy
2. Flag of Austria.svg  Austria
3. Flag of the United States.svg  United States
4. Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czechoslovakia

5. Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina
6. Flag of Cameroon.svg  Cameroon
7. Flag of the Soviet Union.svg  Soviet Union
8. Flag of Romania.svg  Romania

9. Flag of Brazil.svg  Brazil
10. Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden
11. Flag of Costa Rica.svg  Costa Rica
12. Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland

13. Flag of Germany.svg  West Germany
14. Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg  Yugoslavia
15. Flag of the United Arab Emirates.svg  United Arab Emirates
16. Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia

17. Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium
18. Flag of South Korea (1984-1997).svg  South Korea
19. Flag of Uruguay.svg  Uruguay
20. Flag of Spain.svg  Spain

21. Flag of England.svg  England
22. Flag of Ireland.svg  Ireland
23. Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands
24. Flag of Egypt.svg  Egypt

In each group, the teams will play three matches, one against each of the other teams. Victories are granted 2 points, while a draw is equal to 1 point. After completion of the group stage, the best two teams of each group as well as the four best ranked third places, will advance to round 16 in the knockout stage. This format was identical with the tournament structure being used in 1986. A total of 52 games would be played, including the final and a bronze medal game between the two semifinale losers.

Summary of tournament

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 equalled with the 2006, 2014, and 2018 tournaments, until it was surpassed by the 2022 tournament, with five. [31] Eight matches went to extra time, also a record tied with the 2014 tournament.

Losing finalists Argentina were prime examples of this trend of cautious defensive play, choosing to do so because 3 of their best players were left off the squad due to injury. They 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 managed in a World Cup before; a feat only equalled thrice since (by Senegal in 2002, Ghana in 2010, and Morocco in 2022). 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.

Group stage

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

Third place
Fourth place
Round of 16
Group stage 1990 world cup.png

In the following tables:

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 Czechoslovakians ended runners-up in the group, while the USA's first appearance in a World Cup Finals since 1950 ended with three consecutive defeats.

1Flag of Italy.svg  Italy (H)330040+46Advance to knockout stage
2Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czechoslovakia 320163+34
3Flag of Austria.svg  Austria 31022312
4Flag of the United States.svg  United States 30032860
Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Group stage tiebreakers
(H) Host
Italy  Flag of Italy.svg1–0Flag of Austria.svg  Austria
Schillaci Soccerball shade.svg78' Report
Attendance: 73,303
United States  Flag of the United States.svg1–5Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czechoslovakia
Caligiuri Soccerball shade.svg60' Report Skuhravý Soccerball shade.svg26', 78'
Bílek Soccerball shade.svg40' (pen.)
Hašek Soccerball shade.svg50'
Luhový Soccerball shade.svg90+3'

Italy  Flag of Italy.svg1–0Flag of the United States.svg  United States
Giannini Soccerball shade.svg11' Report
Attendance: 73,423
Austria  Flag of Austria.svg0–1Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czechoslovakia
Report Bílek Soccerball shade.svg31' (pen.)
Attendance: 38,962

Italy  Flag of Italy.svg2–0Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czechoslovakia
Schillaci Soccerball shade.svg9'
Baggio Soccerball shade.svg78'
Attendance: 73,303
Austria  Flag of Austria.svg2–1Flag of the United States.svg  United States
Ogris Soccerball shade.svg49'
Rodax Soccerball shade.svg63'
Report Murray Soccerball shade.svg83'
Attendance: 34,857

Group B

Cameroon defeated world champions Argentina 1-0. 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.

1Flag of Cameroon.svg  Cameroon 32013524Advance to knockout stage
2Flag of Romania.svg  Romania 311143+13
3Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina 311132+13
4Flag of the Soviet Union.svg  Soviet Union 31024402
Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Group stage tiebreakers
Argentina  Flag of Argentina.svg0–1Flag of Cameroon.svg  Cameroon
Report Omam-Biyik Soccerball shade.svg67'
Attendance: 73,780
Soviet Union  Flag of the Soviet Union.svg0–2Flag of Romania.svg  Romania
Report Lăcătuș Soccerball shade.svg41', 55' (pen.)
Attendance: 42,907

Argentina  Flag of Argentina.svg2–0Flag of the Soviet Union.svg  Soviet Union
Troglio Soccerball shade.svg27'
Burruchaga Soccerball shade.svg79'
Attendance: 55,759
Cameroon  Flag of Cameroon.svg2–1Flag of Romania.svg  Romania
Milla Soccerball shade.svg76', 86' Report Balint Soccerball shade.svg88'
Attendance: 38,687
Referee: Hernán Silva (Chile)

Argentina  Flag of Argentina.svg1–1Flag of Romania.svg  Romania
Monzón Soccerball shade.svg62' Report Balint Soccerball shade.svg68'
Attendance: 52,733
Cameroon  Flag of Cameroon.svg0–4Flag of the Soviet Union.svg  Soviet Union
Report Protasov Soccerball shade.svg20'
Zygmantovich Soccerball shade.svg29'
Zavarov Soccerball shade.svg52'
Dobrovolski Soccerball shade.svg63'
Attendance: 37,307

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.

1Flag of Brazil (1968-1992).svg  Brazil 330041+36Advance to knockout stage
2Flag of Costa Rica.svg  Costa Rica 320132+14
3Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland 31022312
4Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 30033630
Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Group stage tiebreakers
Brazil  Flag of Brazil (1968-1992).svg2–1Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden
Careca Soccerball shade.svg40', 63' Report Brolin Soccerball shade.svg79'
Attendance: 62,628
Referee: Tullio Lanese (Italy)
Costa Rica  Flag of Costa Rica.svg1–0Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland
Cayasso Soccerball shade.svg49' Report

Brazil  Flag of Brazil (1968-1992).svg1–0Flag of Costa Rica.svg  Costa Rica
Müller Soccerball shade.svg33' Report
Attendance: 58,007
Referee: Neji Jouini (Tunisia)
Sweden  Flag of Sweden.svg1–2Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland
Strömberg Soccerball shade.svg86' Report McCall Soccerball shade.svg11'
Johnston Soccerball shade.svg81' (pen.)
Attendance: 31,823

Brazil  Flag of Brazil (1968-1992).svg1–0Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland
Müller Soccerball shade.svg81' Report
Attendance: 62,502
Referee: Helmut Kohl (Austria)
Sweden  Flag of Sweden.svg1–2Flag of Costa Rica.svg  Costa Rica
Ekström Soccerball shade.svg32' Report Flores Soccerball shade.svg75'
Medford Soccerball shade.svg87'
Attendance: 30,223

Group D

Group D featured the most goals of all the groups, most due to two large wins of West Germany and defensive inadequacies of a United Arab Emirates team that lost 2–0 to Colombia, 5–1 to West Germany and 4–1 to Yugoslavia. The West Germans topped the group after a 4–1 opening victory over group runners-up Yugoslavia.

1Flag of Germany.svg  West Germany 3210103+75Advance to knockout stage
2Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg  Yugoslavia 320165+14
3Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia 311132+13
4Flag of the United Arab Emirates.svg  United Arab Emirates 300321190
Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Group stage tiebreakers
United Arab Emirates  Flag of the United Arab Emirates.svg0–2Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia
Report Redín Soccerball shade.svg50'
Valderrama Soccerball shade.svg85'
Attendance: 30,791
West Germany  Flag of Germany.svg4–1Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg  Yugoslavia
Matthäus Soccerball shade.svg28', 64'
Klinsmann Soccerball shade.svg39'
Völler Soccerball shade.svg70'
Report Jozić Soccerball shade.svg55'
Attendance: 74,765

Yugoslavia  Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg1–0Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia
Attendance: 32,257
Referee: Luigi Agnolin (Italy)
West Germany  Flag of Germany.svg5–1Flag of the United Arab Emirates.svg  United Arab Emirates
Völler Soccerball shade.svg35', 75'
Klinsmann Soccerball shade.svg37'
Matthäus Soccerball shade.svg47'
Bein Soccerball shade.svg58'
Report Ismaïl Soccerball shade.svg46'
Attendance: 71,169

West Germany  Flag of Germany.svg1–1Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia
Littbarski Soccerball shade.svg88' Report Rincón Soccerball shade.svg90+3'
Attendance: 72,510
Yugoslavia  Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg4–1Flag of the United Arab Emirates.svg  United Arab Emirates
Sušić Soccerball shade.svg5'
Pančev Soccerball shade.svg9', 46'
Prosinečki Soccerball shade.svg90+3'
Report Thani Soccerball shade.svg22'
Attendance: 27,833
Referee: Shizuo Takada (Japan)

Group E

The winners of Group E were Spain, for whom Míchel hit a hat-trick as they beat South Korea 3–1 in an unbeaten group campaign. Belgium won their first two games against South Korea and Uruguay to ensure their progress; Uruguay's advance to the second round came with an injury time winner against South Korea to edge them through as the weakest of the third-placed sides to remain in the tournament.

1Flag of Spain.svg  Spain 321052+35Advance to knockout stage
2Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium 320163+34
3Flag of Uruguay.svg  Uruguay 31112313
4Flag of South Korea (1984-1997).svg  South Korea 30031650
Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Group stage tiebreakers
Belgium  Flag of Belgium (civil).svg2–0Flag of South Korea (1984-1997).svg  South Korea
Degryse Soccerball shade.svg53'
De Wolf Soccerball shade.svg64'
Attendance: 32,790
Referee: Vincent Mauro (United States)
Uruguay  Flag of Uruguay.svg0–0Flag of Spain.svg  Spain
Attendance: 35,713
Referee: Helmut Kohl (Austria)

Belgium  Flag of Belgium (civil).svg3–1Flag of Uruguay.svg  Uruguay
Clijsters Soccerball shade.svg15'
Scifo Soccerball shade.svg24'
Ceulemans Soccerball shade.svg47'
Report Bengoechea Soccerball shade.svg73'
South Korea  Flag of South Korea (1984-1997).svg1–3Flag of Spain.svg  Spain
Hwangbo Kwan Soccerball shade.svg43' Report Míchel Soccerball shade.svg23', 61', 81'
Attendance: 32,733

Belgium  Flag of Belgium (civil).svg1–2Flag of Spain.svg  Spain
Vervoort Soccerball shade.svg29' Report Míchel Soccerball shade.svg26' (pen.)
Górriz Soccerball shade.svg38'
South Korea  Flag of South Korea (1984-1997).svg0–1Flag of Uruguay.svg  Uruguay
Report Fonseca Soccerball shade.svg90+1'
Attendance: 29,039
Referee: Tullio Lanese (Italy)

Group F

Group F featured the Netherlands, England, the Republic of Ireland and Egypt. In the six group games, no team managed to score more than once in a match. England beat Egypt 1–0, the only match with a decisive result, and that was enough to win the group. England took the lead with an early goal for Lineker against Ireland, but Sheedy's late equalizer secured a draw. The Netherlands drew with Egypt: they had taken a 1–0 lead, but Egypt equalised with a penalty by Abdelghani. England then drew 0–0 with the Netherlands; a goal from a free-kick by Pearce was disallowed. For the second World Cup in succession, however, England lost their captain Bryan Robson to an injury which put him out of the tournament, just over halfway through their second match. Ireland missed a number of scoring opportunities in the second half of the other 0–0 draw against Egypt. [32] After the first four matches all four teams had equal records with two draws, one goal for and one goal against. England's victory over Egypt, thanks to a 58th-minute goal from Mark Wright, put them top of the group: in the other match, Gullit gave the Netherlands the lead against Ireland, but Niall Quinn scored a second-half equalizer and the two teams finished in second and third, still with identical records. Both teams qualified but they had to draw lots to place the teams in second and third place.

1Flag of England.svg  England 312021+14Advance to knockout stage
2Flag of Ireland.svg  Republic of Ireland 30302203 [lower-alpha 1]
3Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands 30302203 [lower-alpha 1]
4Flag of Egypt.svg  Egypt 30211212
Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Group stage tiebreakers
  1. 1 2 The Republic of Ireland and the Netherlands finished with identical records. With both teams assured of progressing, they were split by the drawing of lots to determine second and third place.
England  Flag of England.svg1–1Flag of Ireland.svg  Republic of Ireland
Lineker Soccerball shade.svg9' Report Sheedy Soccerball shade.svg73'
Netherlands  Flag of the Netherlands.svg1–1Flag of Egypt.svg  Egypt
Kieft Soccerball shade.svg58' Report Abdelghani Soccerball shade.svg83' (pen.)

England  Flag of England.svg0–0Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands
Attendance: 35,267
Republic of Ireland  Flag of Ireland.svg0–0Flag of Egypt.svg  Egypt

England  Flag of England.svg1–0Flag of Egypt.svg  Egypt
Wright Soccerball shade.svg58' Report
Republic of Ireland  Flag of Ireland.svg1–1Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands
Quinn Soccerball shade.svg71' Report Gullit Soccerball shade.svg11'
Attendance: 33,288

Ranking of third-placed teams

1 B Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina 311132+13Advance to knockout stage
2 D Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia 311132+13
3 F Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands 30302203
4 E Flag of Uruguay.svg  Uruguay 31112313
5 A Flag of Austria.svg  Austria 31022312
6 C Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland 31022312
Source: FIFA

Ireland won the drawing of lots against the Netherlands for second place in Group F: the Netherlands were the only third-placed team not to have won any matches - or lost any: they progressed with three draws (3 points).

Knockout stage

The knockout stage involved the 16 teams that qualified from the group stage of the tournament. There were four rounds of matches, with each round eliminating half of the teams entering that round. The successive rounds were: round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals, final. There was also a play-off to decide third/fourth place. For each game in the knockout stage, any draw at 90 minutes was followed by 30 minutes of extra time; if scores were still level there would be a penalty shoot-out (five penalties each, if neither team already had a decisive advantage, and more if necessary) to determine who progressed to the next round. Scores after extra time are indicated by (a.e.t.) and penalty shoot-outs are indicated by (pen.).

Round of 16Quarter-finalsSemi-finalsFinal
24 June – Turin
Flag of Brazil (1968-1992).svg  Brazil 0
30 June – Florence
Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina 1
Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina (pen.)0 (3)
26 June – Verona
Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg  Yugoslavia 0 (2)
Flag of Spain.svg  Spain 1
3 July – Naples
Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg  Yugoslavia (a.e.t.)2
Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina (pen.)1 (4)
25 June – Genoa
Flag of Italy.svg  Italy 1 (3)
Flag of Ireland.svg  Republic of Ireland (pen.)0 (5)
30 June – Rome
Flag of Romania.svg  Romania 0 (4)
Flag of Ireland.svg  Republic of Ireland 0
25 June – Rome
Flag of Italy.svg  Italy 1
Flag of Italy.svg  Italy 2
8 July – Rome
Flag of Uruguay.svg  Uruguay 0
Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina 0
23 June – Bari
Flag of Germany.svg  West Germany 1
Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czechoslovakia 4
1 July – Milan
Flag of Costa Rica.svg  Costa Rica 1
Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czechoslovakia 0
24 June – Milan
Flag of Germany.svg  West Germany 1
Flag of Germany.svg  West Germany 2
4 July – Turin
Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands 1
Flag of Germany.svg  West Germany (pen.)1 (4)
23 June – Naples
Flag of England.svg  England 1 (3) Third place
Flag of Cameroon.svg  Cameroon (a.e.t.)2
1 July – Naples 7 July – Bari
Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia 1
Flag of Cameroon.svg  Cameroon 2Flag of Italy.svg  Italy 2
26 June – Bologna
Flag of England.svg  England (a.e.t.)3Flag of England.svg  England 1
Flag of England.svg  England (a.e.t.)1
Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium 0

All times listed are local (UTC+2)

Round of 16

Two of the ties – Brazil vs Argentina and Italy vs Uruguay – pitted former champion countries against each other and West Germany met the Netherlands in a rematch of the 1974 World Cup Final. The all-South American game was won for Argentina by a goal from Claudio Caniggia with 10 minutes remaining after a run through the Brazilian defence by Diego Maradona and a strong performance from their goalkeeper Sergio Goycochea. It would later come to light that Branco had been offered water spiked with tranquillisers by Maradona and Ricardo Giusti during half time, to slow him down in the second half. Initially discredited by the press, Branco would be publicly proven right years later, when Maradona confessed the episode on a TV show in Argentina. [33] Hosts Italy beat Uruguay 2–0, thanks to goals from Schillaci and Aldo Serena.

The match between West Germany and the Netherlands was held in Milan, and both sides featured players from the two Milanese clubs (Germans Andreas Brehme, Lothar Matthäus and Jürgen Klinsmann for Internazionale, and Dutchmen Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard for Milan). After 22 minutes Rudi Völler and Rijkaard were both dismissed after a number of incidents between the two players, including Rijkaard spitting on Völler. As the players walked off the pitch together, Rijkaard spat on Völler a second time. Early in the second half, Jürgen Klinsmann put the West Germans ahead and Andreas Brehme added a second with eight minutes left. A Ronald Koeman penalty for the Netherlands in the 89th minute narrowed the score to 2–1 but the Germans saw the game out to gain some revenge for their exit to the Dutch in the previous European Championship.

Meanwhile, in Cameroon v. Colombia, Roger Milla was introduced as a second-half substitute with the game goalless, eventually breaking the deadlock midway in extra time. Three minutes later he netted a second after Colombian goalkeeper, René Higuita was dispossessed by Milla while well out of his goal, leaving the striker free to slot the ball into the empty net. Though the deficit was soon reduced to 2–1, Cameroon held on to become the first African team to reach the World Cup quarter-finals. Costa Rica were beaten 4–1 by Czechoslovakia, for whom Tomáš Skuhravý scored the tournament's second and final hat-trick.

The Republic of Ireland's match with Romania remained goalless after extra time and the Irish side won 5–4 on penalties. David O'Leary converted the penalty that clinched Ireland's place in the quarter-finals. Ireland thus became the first team since Sweden in 1938 to reach the last eight in a World Cup finals tournament without winning a match outright. Yugoslavia beat Spain 2–1 after extra time, with Dragan Stojković scoring both the Yugoslavs' goals. England were the final qualifier against Belgium, as midfielder David Platt's swivelling volley broke the stalemate with the game moments away from a penalty shoot-out.

Cameroon  Flag of Cameroon.svg2–1 (a.e.t.)Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia
Milla Soccerball shade.svg106', 108' Report Redín Soccerball shade.svg115'
Stadio San Paolo, Naples
Attendance: 50,026
Referee: Tullio Lanese (Italy)

Czechoslovakia  Flag of the Czech Republic.svg4–1Flag of Costa Rica.svg  Costa Rica
Skuhravý Soccerball shade.svg12', 63', 82'
Kubík Soccerball shade.svg76'
Report González Soccerball shade.svg55'
Stadio San Nicola, Bari
Attendance: 47,673
Referee: Siegfried Kirschen (East Germany)

Brazil  Flag of Brazil (1968-1992).svg0–1Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina
Report Caniggia Soccerball shade.svg81'
Stadio Delle Alpi, Turin
Attendance: 61,381
Referee: Joël Quiniou (France)

West Germany  Flag of Germany.svg2–1Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands
Klinsmann Soccerball shade.svg51'
Brehme Soccerball shade.svg85'
Report R. Koeman Soccerball shade.svg89' (pen.)
San Siro, Milan
Attendance: 74,559
Referee: Juan Carlos Loustau (Argentina)

Italy  Flag of Italy.svg2–0Flag of Uruguay.svg  Uruguay
Schillaci Soccerball shade.svg65'
Serena Soccerball shade.svg83'
Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Attendance: 73,303
Referee: George Courtney (England)

Spain  Flag of Spain.svg1–2 (a.e.t.)Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg  Yugoslavia
Julio Salinas Soccerball shade.svg84' Report Stojković Soccerball shade.svg78', 93'

England  Flag of England.svg1–0 (a.e.t.)Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium
Platt Soccerball shade.svg119' Report
Stadio Renato Dall'Ara, Bologna
Attendance: 34,520
Referee: Peter Mikkelsen (Denmark)


The first game of the last 8 saw Argentina and a Yugoslav side, reduced to 10 men after only half an hour, play out a goalless stalemate. The holders reached the semi-finals after winning the penalty shoot-out 3–2, despite Maradona having his penalty saved. A second Argentine miss (by Pedro Troglio) looked to have eliminated them until goalkeeper Sergio Goycochea – playing because first choice Nery Pumpido broke his leg during the group stage – rescued his side by stopping the Yugoslavs' final two spotkicks.

The Republic of Ireland's World Cup run was brought to an end by a single goal from Schillaci in the first half of their quarter-final with hosts Italy, thus becoming the team who advanced the furthest in a World Cup without winning a single match. West Germany beat Czechoslovakia with a 25th minute Lothar Matthäus penalty.

The quarter-final between England and Cameroon was the only quarter-final to produce more than one goal. Despite Cameroon's heroics earlier in the tournament, David Platt put England ahead in the 25th minute. At half-time, Milla was brought on. In the second half, the game was turned on its head during a five-minute stretch: first Cameroon were awarded a penalty from which Emmanuel Kunde scored the equaliser; then in the 65th minute Eugene Ekeke put Cameroon ahead. Cameroon came within eight minutes of reaching the semi-finals before they conceded a penalty, which Gary Lineker converted. Midway through extra time, England were awarded another penalty and Lineker again scored from the spot. England were through to the semi-finals for the first time since 1966.

Republic of Ireland  Flag of Ireland.svg0–1Flag of Italy.svg  Italy
Report Schillaci Soccerball shade.svg38'
Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Attendance: 73,303
Referee: Carlos Silva Valente (Portugal)

Czechoslovakia  Flag of the Czech Republic.svg0–1Flag of Germany.svg  West Germany
Report Matthäus Soccerball shade.svg25' (pen.)
San Siro, Milan
Attendance: 73,347
Referee: Helmut Kohl (Austria)

Cameroon  Flag of Cameroon.svg2–3 (a.e.t.)Flag of England.svg  England
Kundé Soccerball shade.svg61' (pen.)
Ekéké Soccerball shade.svg65'
Report Platt Soccerball shade.svg25'
Lineker Soccerball shade.svg83' (pen.), 105' (pen.)
Stadio San Paolo, Naples
Attendance: 55,205
Referee: Edgardo Codesal (Mexico)


The first semi-final featured the host nation, Italy, and the world champions, Argentina in Naples. 'Toto' Schillaci scored yet again to put Italy ahead in the 17th minute, but Claudio Caniggia equalised midway through the second half, breaking Walter Zenga's clean sheet streak throughout the tournament. There were no more goals in the 90 minutes or in extra time despite Maradona (who played for Naples in Serie A at the time) showing glimpses of magic, but there was a sending-off: Ricardo Giusti of Argentina was shown the red card in the 13th minute of extra time. Argentina went through on penalties, winning the shoot-out 4–3 after more heroics from Goycochea.

The semi-final between West Germany and England at Juventus' home stadium in Turin was goalless at half-time. Then, in the 60th minute, a free-kick tapped to Andreas Brehme resulted in a shot which was deflected off Paul Parker into his own net. England equalised with ten minutes left; Gary Lineker was the scorer. The game ended 1–1. Extra time yielded more chances. Klinsmann was guilty of two glaring misses and both sides struck a post. England had another Platt goal disallowed for offside. The match went to penalties, and West Germany went on to win the shoot-out 4–3. [34]

The two matches had the exact same score at 1–1, an identical penalty shootout score at 4–3, and the same order of penalties scored.

Third place play-off

The game saw three goals in a 15-minute spell near the end of the match. Roberto Baggio opened the scoring after a mistake by England's goalkeeper Peter Shilton, in his final game before international retirement, presented a simple opportunity. A header by David Platt levelled the game 10 minutes later but Schillaci was fouled in the penalty area five minutes later, leading to a penalty. Schillaci himself got up to convert the kick to win him the tournament's Golden Boot for his six-goal tally. Nicola Berti had a goal ruled out minutes later, but the hosts claimed third place. England had the consolation prize of the Fair Play award, having received no red cards and the lowest average number of yellows per match.

Italy  Flag of Italy.svg2–1Flag of England.svg  England
Baggio Soccerball shade.svg71'
Schillaci Soccerball shade.svg86' (pen.)
Report Platt Soccerball shade.svg81'
Stadio San Nicola, Bari
Attendance: 51,426
Referee: Joël Quiniou (France)


The final between West Germany and Argentina has been cited as the most cynical and lowest-quality of all World Cup Finals. [1] [2] [35] [36] [37] In the 65th minute, Argentina's Pedro Monzon – himself only recently on as a substitute – was sent off for a foul on Jürgen Klinsmann. Monzon was the first player sent off in a World Cup Final.

Argentina, weakened by suspension and injury, offered little attacking threat throughout a contest dominated by the West Germans, who struggled to create many clear goalscoring opportunities. The only goal of the contest arrived in the 85th minute when Mexican referee Edgardo Codesal awarded a dubious penalty to West Germany, after a foul on Rudi Völler by Roberto Sensini leading to Argentinian protests. [38] Andreas Brehme converted the spot kick to settle the contest. In the closing moments, Argentina were reduced to nine after Gustavo Dezotti, who had already been given a yellow card earlier in the match, received a red card when he hauled Jürgen Kohler to the ground during a stoppage in play. The 1–0 scoreline provided another first: Argentina were the first team to fail to score in a World Cup Final.

With its third title (and three second-place finishes) West Germany – in its final tournament before national reunification – became the most successful World Cup nation at the time along with Italy and Brazil (also won three titles each then). West German manager Franz Beckenbauer became the first man to both captain (in 1974) and manage a World Cup winning team, and only the second man (after Mário Zagallo of Brazil) to win the World Cup as a player and as team manager. It was also the first time a team from UEFA won the final against a non-European team.

West Germany  Flag of Germany.svg1–0Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina
Brehme Soccerball shade.svg85' (pen.) Report
Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Attendance: 73,603
Referee: Edgardo Codesal (Mexico)



Salvatore Schillaci received the Golden Boot award for scoring six goals in the World Cup. This made him the second Italian footballer to have this honour, after Paolo Rossi won the award in 1982. In total, 115 goals were scored by 75 players (none credited as own goals).

6 goals
5 goals
4 goals
3 goals
2 goals
1 goal



Golden Boot Best Young Player FIFA Fair Play Trophy
Flag of Italy.svg Salvatore Schillaci Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg Robert Prosinečki Flag of England.svg  England
Golden Ball [40] [41]
1st Flag of Italy.svg Salvatore Schillaci 1629
2nd Flag of Germany.svg Lothar Matthäus 1036
3rd Flag of Argentina.svg Diego Maradona 802
4th Flag of Cameroon.svg Roger Milla
5th Flag of Germany.svg Jürgen Klinsmann
6th Flag of Italy.svg Roberto Baggio

All-star team

FIFA published the first All-Star Team in 1938, but it never made an All-Star Team again until 1990 due to ensuing complaints. In 1990 an All-Star Team was announced in combination with the Golden Ball ceremony. It was chosen by the same journalists who chose the best player, but this team is still considered unofficial. [42]


Final standings

After the tournament, FIFA published a ranking of all teams that competed in the 1990 World Cup finals based on progress in the competition, overall results and quality of the opposition. [43] [44]

1 D Flag of Germany.svg  West Germany 7520155+10121st
2 B Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina 723254+172nd
3 A Flag of Italy.svg  Italy 7610102+8133rd
4 F Flag of England.svg  England 733186+294th
5 D Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg  Yugoslavia 531186+27Eliminated in the quarter-finals
6 A Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czechoslovakia 5302105+56
7 B Flag of Cameroon.svg  Cameroon 53027926
8 F Flag of Ireland.svg  Republic of Ireland 50412314
9 C Flag of Brazil (1968-1992).svg  Brazil 430142+26Eliminated in the round of 16
10 E Flag of Spain.svg  Spain 421164+25
11 E Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium 420264+24
12 B Flag of Romania.svg  Romania 412143+14
13 C Flag of Costa Rica.svg  Costa Rica 42024624
14 D Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia 41124403
15 F Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands 40313413
16 E Flag of Uruguay.svg  Uruguay 41122533
17 B Flag of the Soviet Union.svg  Soviet Union 31024402Eliminated in the group stage
18 A Flag of Austria.svg  Austria 31022312
18 C Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland 31022312
20 F Flag of Egypt.svg  Egypt 30211212
21 C Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 30033630
22 E Flag of South Korea (1984-1997).svg  South Korea 30031650
23 A Flag of the United States (Pantone).svg  United States 30032860
24 D Flag of the United Arab Emirates.svg  United Arab Emirates 300321190
Source: [ citation needed ]




The official mascot of this World Cup was "Ciao", a stick figure player with a football head and an Italian tricolore body. [48] [49] [50] [51] [52] [53] Its name is an Italian greeting.

Match ball

The official match ball of this World Cup was the "Etrusco Unico", manufactured by Adidas.


The official song of this World Cup was "Un'estate italiana".

See also

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The 1998 FIFA World Cup knockout stage covers the games from the second round through to the final at the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France. The top two teams from each of the eight groups qualified for the knockout stage. Teams played one game against each other, with the possibility of extra time and penalties if a winner could not be determined after 90 minutes.

Russia has participated in 4 FIFA World Cups since its independence in December 1991. The Russian Federation played their first international match against Mexico on 16 August 1992, winning 2–0. Their first participation in a World Cup was in the United States in 1994 where they achieved 18th place.

The knockout stage of the 1990 FIFA World Cup was the second and final stage of the final tournament, following the group stage. It began on 23 June with the round of 16 matches, and ended on 8 July with the final held at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, in which West Germany beat the defending champions Argentina 1–0 to claim their third World Cup.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Uruguay at the FIFA World Cup</span> Participation of Uruguays national football team in the FIFA World Cup

This is a record of Uruguay's results at the FIFA World Cup.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Germany at the FIFA World Cup</span> Overview of Germany at the FIFA World Cup

This is a record of Germany and West Germany's results at the FIFA World Cup. For Germany's World Cup history, FIFA considers only the teams managed by the Deutscher Fußball-Bund, comprising three periods: Germany, West Germany and reunified Germany. The Germany national football team is one of the most successful national teams at the FIFA World Cup, winning four titles, earning second-place and third-place finishes four times each and one fourth-place finish. Germany's 12 podium finishes in 20 tournaments add up to at least three more than any other nation. In addition, Germany are the only team which has stood on the podium at least once during the completed decades in which at least one tournament was held. Along with Argentina, Brazil and Spain, they are one of the four national teams to win outside their continental confederation, with the title of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in South America. The team qualified for every FIFA World Cup tournament they have entered, the second most frequent, and only failed to reach the quarter-finals three times, in 1938, 2018, and 2022. With this, Germany's 8th place or better (quarter-finals) in 17 out of 20 tournaments (85%) ranks highest in FIFA World Cup finals history. It makes Germany the best team in the history of the tournament in terms of final positions, if points were awarded proportionally for a title, runner-up finish, third-place finish, semi-final and quarter-final appearances.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Italy at the FIFA World Cup</span> Overview of Italy at the FIFA World Cup

This is a record of Italy's results at the FIFA World Cup. Italy is one of the most successful national teams in the history of the World Cup, having won four titles, just one fewer than Brazil, but last qualified for the event in 2014. The team was present in 18 out of the 22 tournaments, reaching six finals, a third place and a fourth place.

This is a record of the Netherlands at the FIFA World Cup. The Netherlands entered qualification for 19 of the 22 FIFA World Cup tournaments to date, qualifying 11 times. They have a record of 3 World Cup final appearances without winning the tournament.

The FIFA World Cup is an international association football competition contested by the men's national teams of the members of Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport's global governing body. The championship has been awarded every four years since the first tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946, due to World War II.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Belgium at the FIFA World Cup</span> Overview of Belgium at the FIFA World Cup

Belgium have appeared in the finals tournament of the FIFA World Cup on 14 occasions, the first being at the first FIFA World Cup in 1930 where they finished in 11th place and played the first ever World Cup match against the United States. The inaugural FIFA World Cup final was officiated by Belgian referee John Langenus.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Switzerland at the FIFA World Cup</span> Overview of the performance of Switzerland at the FIFA World Cup

The FIFA World Cup, sometimes called the Football World Cup or the Soccer World Cup, but usually referred to simply as the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the men's national teams of the members of Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport's global governing body. The championship has been awarded every four years since the first tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 due to World War II.

The FIFA World Cup is an international association football competition contested by the men's national teams of the members of Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport's global governing body. The championship has been awarded every four years since the first tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946, due to World War II.

The FIFA World Cup is an international association football competition contested by the men's national teams of the members of Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport's global governing body. The championship has been awarded every four years since the first tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946, due to World War II.

The 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup qualification UEFA play-offs decided the eighth and final UEFA qualifier for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup.

The final tournament of the 1934 FIFA World Cup was a single-elimination tournament involving the 16 teams which qualified for the tournament. The tournament began with the round of 16 on 27 May and concluded with the final on 10 June 1934. Italy won the final 2–1 for their first World Cup title.


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  2. 1 2 "World Cup 1990". ESPN Soccernet. 9 November 2009. Retrieved 11 August 2010.
  3. Glanville, Brian (2005). The Story of the World Cup. Faber. ISBN   0-571-22944-1.
  4. Freddi, Cris (2006). Complete Book of the World Cup. HarperSport. ISBN   978-0-00-722916-1.
  5. 1 2 "FIFA World Cup Record – Organisation". Archived from the original on 13 June 2007. Retrieved 14 June 2012.