Memories of Italia 90
To some Italia 90 was the worst tournament in the long history of the World Cup. They point to the record low goals per game of 2.21 which has never been equalled. They talk of the 16 red cards including one in the final. It is suggested that teams were happy just to play safe through 120 minutes and take their chance in the penalty shoot out of which there were four including both semi finals. They note the rule changes introduced following the tournament such as the back pass rule brought in 1992 to discourage time wasting and the move in 1994 to awarding 3 points for a win to encourage attacking approaches.
To others it was a tournament to savour and remember. Let us just remind you of some of the highlights just in case time has dimmed your memory.
The tournament was held from 8th June to 8th July. It was summer and it was hot. Italian football was seen as the best in the world and the fans were passionate. TV coverage was excellent not least that provided by the BBC and ITV. Nessun Dorma became probably the most well known piece of opera ever. It was the most watched event in TV history attracting 2.69 billion viewers around the world.
The Early Rounds
There was an ambush waiting for cup holders Argentina. Cameroon beat them 1-0 with both teams reduced to 9 men. Cameroon went on to beat Romania 2-1 and despite losing 4-0 to the Soviet Union managed to qualify top of the group. 38 year old Roger Milla not only scored goals but also saw his hip wiggling goal celebrations broadcast time and time again. Argentina only just made it as one of best third place teams.
Costa Rica also surprised many by beating Scotland and Sweden to qualify alongside Brazil in Group C. Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and the Republic of Ireland also managed to qualify along with the expected nations.
The later rounds
The round of 16 also had some unexpected results. Out went Holland and Costa Rica. Through went Cameroon once again thanks to Roger Milla and on went England. Cameroon had progressed further than any other African nation and that is still the case. They were joined by Italy, Republic of Ireland and Spain. But it was farewell to Brazil who lost 1-0 to Argentina with a wonderful goal created by Maradona.
The quarter finals saw England knock out Cameroon and Italy ended the dreams of the Irish. The Germans put an end the tournament for Czechoslovakia and Argentina beat Yugoslavia in extra time. So the shoot out semis were created with West Germany putting out England and Argentina prevailing over Italy.
The final was perhaps not one to remember with Germany winning 1-0 from a penalty with Argentina reduced to nine men by the end.
Players that will be remembered
The dancing Roger Milla and the skills of Maradona have already been mentioned. Perhaps the performance of the tournament came from the Italian Toto Schillaci. Italy had only scored 2 goals in 7 warm up games and were unsure of their best striker. At the time the Sicilian was playing club football for Juventus in Serie B. He came on a substitute in the first game and scored. From then on he did not stop and his total of six including a penalty against England in the 3rd place play off saw him awarded the golden boot.
For many memories will focus around Paul Gascoigne. He only secured a place in the squad after a great performance against Czechoslovakia. Bobby Robson had opted to play a sweeper and Gascoigne was given the freedom of midfield which he revelled in. He provided the free kicks that led to winning goals against Egypt and Belgium. But perhaps it was the tears he shed when he received a second yellow card that meant he would not play in the final had they qualified. You were never left in any doubt about his emotions and his joy of playing for his country.
Good memories of a tournament that contained so many great footballing moments. You can find video clips very easily so if you were too young to see it or we have revived a treasured memory have a search for Roger Milla, Toto Schillaci and Mr Gascoigne.
Camisetas West Brom Un jugador muere por un golpe en un partido de fútbol. EFE. Javier Tebas acompaña la cena de Nochebuena de Cruz Blanca Huesca.