1990 World Cup History
The 1990 World Cup witnessed the lowest goals-per-game average, a deluge of sendings-off and arguably the worst final ever seen.
Just 115 goals were scored from 52 games at an average of 2.21
per game. There were 16 red cards and 164 bookings at an average of
3.46 per match, another record.
In addition penalty shootouts were routine -- four in total --
including both semi-finals. Argentina advanced at the expense of
Italy and West Germany beat England.
Appropriately it was a penalty, by Andreas Brehme for the
Germans, that decided a sorry final which included two sendings off
for the Argentines. It was West Germany's third World Cup win.
Argentina's performance was typical of the tournament. They
reached the final despite winning only two games and scoring five
goals in total. Maradona finished the final in tears.
Cameroon, inspired by the veteran Roger Milla, reached the
quarterfinals, while the unheralded Toto Schillaci hit six goals
for Italy to finish top scorer.
Adding to everyone's woes were the hooligans. Some 300 were
expelled by the Italian police with England fans prominent in
several ugly brawls which nonethless weren't as bad as had been
feared before the finals.
1990 WORLD CUP LEGENDS
Germany: b. 1961
Captain and midfield general behind West Germany's success at
Italia 90. The archetypal German footballer, combining power, pace
and skill with a ruthless eye for goal.
Scored brilliant individual goal against Yugoslavia and added
three more as West Germany deservedly lifted the trophy in 1990.
England fans will remember his sporting arm around the shoulder
of Chris Waddle after the latter's penalty miss gave West Germany
victory in a thrilling semifinal shootout.
Was also in the West Germany side that reached the 1986 final --
his goal saw off Morocco in the second round -- and was captain
again at USA 94.
In total he played in five World Cups -- more than other
outfield player -- and holds the record for World Cup matches
Enjoyed great success with Bayern Munich and Inter Milan, though
his return to Bayern Munich was marred by off-field clashes with
team-mates and officials. He retired shortly after Germany's poor
showing in Euro 2000, with a record 150 caps and 23 goals.
Germany: b. 1964
Blond striker who proved West Germany's key attacker throughout
the 1990s. Strong both in the air and on the ground, with searing
pace and immense courage.
Earned reputation for diving earlier in his career, but won over
many of his English critics during a hugely successful if short
spell with Tottenham in 1994-95.
He flicked in a clinical winner in a quarterfinal grudge match
against Holland in 1990, and was a constant menace throughout for
Scored five goals in as many games for Germany at USA 94, and
inherited captaincy from Lothar Matthaus, which he retained for his
country's victorious Euro 96 campaign.
Retired from international football after the 1998 World Cup and
settled in the United States. Klinsmann was appointed coach of the
German national team in 2004 and guided his homeland to third place
at the 2006 finals.
Cameroon: b. 1952
Aged 38, he had a stunning impact on the 1990 finals in Italy,
catching the eye as much for his celebratory tangos with the corner
flag as for his goalscoring exploits.
Having made some 80 appearances for his country, Milla was
persuaded out of retirement for Italia 90 and promptly helped
Cameroon become the first African country to reach the
He purportedly changed his name to Milla from Miller because he
thought it sounded more African.
Milla's opportunism saw him score four times, twice each against
Romania and Colombia respectively, in the process becoming the
oldest player to score in the World Cup finals.
Incredibly, he bettered that feat in the 1994 finals when, aged
42, he came on as a substitute to score against Russia in a 6-1
1990 WORLD CUP TOP SCORERS
Salvatore Schillaci (ITA) 6
Thomas Skuhravy (CZE) 5
Gary Lineker (ENG) 4
Michel (ESP) 4
Roger Milla (CMR) 4
Lothar Matthaus (FRG) 4
1990 WORLD CUP TRIVIA
- Chile were banned after goalkeeper Robert Rojas pretended he
had been struck by a flare thrown from the crowd during a
qualifying match against Brazil.
Chile, who needed to win 2-0 to qualify, were losing 1-0 with 20
minutes left when the incident occurred, and Chile's players
refused to play on.
- As in 1982, holders Argentina were beaten in their opening
game. This time they lost 1-0 to Cameroon when goalkeeper Nery
Pumpido fumbled a leaping header from Omam Biyick. The Africans
also had two men sent off.
- Cameroon's Russian coach Valeri Nepomniaschi was unable to
communicate with his team without use of an interpreter. It didn't
stop the Africans marching into the quarterfinals.
- United Arab Emirates' Khaleel Mubarak became the 50th player
to be sent off in World Cup finals when given his marching orders
in the 4-1 defeat to Yugoslavia.
- Cameroon's Roger Milla, at 38, was the surprise find of the
tournament, but even he needed a helping hand in the second round
from Colombia's madcap goalkeeper Rene Higuita.
In George Best mode, Higuita tried to dribble over the half-way
line but lost the ball to Milla who rolled the ball gleefully into
the empty net.
- Blubbing Paul Gascoigne was England's star as they marched
into the semifinals. There an ill-timed tackle against West
Germany meant he was out of the final -- if England reached it --
and Gazza burst into tears at the prospect.
- Another sobbing superstar was the hero of 1986, Diego
Maradona. He led an ultra-negative Argentina side into the final
despite scoring only five goals and winning two games.
When they had two players sent off in losing the final to West
Germany, Maradona wept unashamedly.
- Toto Schillaci followed in the footsteps of Paolo Rossi in
1982 when he emerged as Italy's unexpected goal hero. The feisty
little Sicilian was the last player named in the Italian squad, but
finished top scorer with six strikes.
- The finals produced the the lowest goals-per-game average ever
-- just 2.21. There were 16 red cards and 164 bookings at an
average of 3.46 per match, another record.
- Penalty shootouts peppered the finals -- there were four in
total, with both semi-finals decided this way for the first time.
1990 WORLD CUP WINNING SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Raimond Aumann, Bodo Illgner, Andreas Kopke
Defenders: Klaus Augenthaler, Thomas Berthold, Andreas Brehme,
Guido Buchwald, Jurgen Kohler, Hans Pflugler, Stefan Reuter, Paul
Midfielders: Uwe Bein, Pierre Littbarski, Lothar Matthaus
(capt), Thomas Hassler, Gunther Hermann, Andreas Moller, Olaf Thon
Forwards: Jurgen Klinsmann, Franck Mill, Karlheinz Riedle, Rudi
Coach: Franz Beckenbauer