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The story of the 1990 World Cup

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Jonathan Stevenson | 06:07 UK time, Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Between now and the start of the World Cup, we will be looking back at previous tournaments with the help of some of the key characters and the BBC's archive footage. Today, we ask the Golden Boot winner about his Italia '90 experience.

Italy, June & July, 1990

I can see it all now as clearly as if it was yesterday. Gazza's tears, Schillachi's bulging eyes, Milla's hips and Rijkaard's phlegm are destined to hold a special place in my heart forever, all played out to the incomparable soundtrack of Nessun Dorma.

After all, the 1990 World Cup in Italy is my World Cup. Every kid gets one, and Italia '90 will always belong to me.

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As a nine-year-old whose life already revolved around football, an approaching World Cup was beyond exciting. I'd completed the Panini album, stuck the six unwanted swaps of the Belgie-Belgique foil around my room and impatiently counted down the days until 8 June.

Little did I know that the man who would become the star of Italia '90 was awaiting the start of the tournament every bit as eagerly as I was. Unknown outside his country, Salvatore 'Toto' Schillaci was about to become one of the most famous sportsmen on earth.

"I'd had a great season for Juventus, scoring 23 goals, but I was one of the last to be called up," recalls Schillachi. "The press helped me a lot and I was just so happy to be in the squad because I didn't expect it.

"Twenty years have gone by now, but it seems so recent still. Whenever there's a World Cup, I always think back to 1990. It was a beautiful experience, truly unforgettable and it brought me worldwide fame."

Before I get too misty eyed reminiscing, a quick reality check. I'm aware if you happened not to be an impressionable youngster in 1990, you might not look back too fondly at a World Cup that saw a lot of defensive football, a paucity of goals and a spate of shocking incidents that led to red cards, not to mention the dullest final ever. But anyway...

Arriving home from school in time for the opening game, neither I nor anyone else could have predicted what was about to unfold. As holders Argentina took on unfancied African side Cameroon, Diego Maradona and his side were fated to fall victim to one of the greatest shocks in the tournament's history.

Despite Cameroon ending the game with nine men, they somehow earned a 1-0 victory thanks to the tamest of headers from Francois Oman-Biyik that crept under the body of the hapless Nery Pumpido in the Argentine goal.

Cameroon became the story of the tournament, something their 38-year-old super sub Roger Milla was keen to underline. Only in the squad because Cameroon president Paul Biya asked him to come out of retirement, Milla stepped off the bench in their second game against Romania, scored twice, danced jubilantly by the corner flag and ensured a legend was born.

Meanwhile, some of the bigger teams were struggling. Argentina recovered enough to squeeze into the last 16, Euro 1988 champions the Netherlands were similarly unconvincing and hosts Italy began nervously, only edging past Austria in their opening game thanks to their very own super sub.

"I didn't expect to get on, I'd been dreaming away," added Schillaci, who now runs a football school in Palermo. "I remember that cross from Gianluca Vialli and I was standing in-between two huge defenders, like bulls they were. It seemed like the ball was being controlled by something else, it arrived exactly where I was standing and I managed to head in. That's how it all started."

Scotland's World Cup started and all but ended with a shock 1-0 defeat at the hands of tiny Costa Rica, but England and the Republic of Ireland were getting their very different campaigns under way in goal-shy Group F.

The Republic's first finals was an unqualified success even though Jack Charlton's side didn't win a single game inside 90 minutes. Three draws earned them a last 16 crack at the Romanians and after a 0-0 draw, keeper Packie Bonner and defender David O'Leary were the penalty shoot-out heroes, before a Schillaci goal did for them in the quarters.

The second round provided plenty of thrills and spills as David Platt's stunning volley earned England a 119th-minute win over Belgium, Milla took advantage of Colombia keeper Rene Higuita's moment of madness to fire Cameroon into the last eight and the genius of Maradona secured Argentina victory over Brazil as he teed up Claudio Caniggia to score the winner.

Unfortunately, the last 16 also provided one of the World Cup's most unsavoury incidents as the Netherlands' tame exit at the hands of West Germany was marred by the appalling sight of Frank Rijkaard spitting (more than once) at Rudi Voeller, before and after both players were dismissed.

"That day I was wrong," admitted Rijkaard years later. "I always had respect for Rudi, but I went berserk when I saw that red card. I talked to him after the match and I apologised. I'm very happy that he accepted. I have no bad feeling about him now."

The latter stages disappointed quality-wise, but there was no shortage of drama as England and Cameroon clashed in their quarter-final tie. The first African side to reach the last eight led 2-1 with 25 minutes left, before two Gary Lineker penalties - the second in extra-time - earned Bobby Robson's men a semi-final berth.

Elsewhere, Argentina and West Germany sneaked through, but Schillaci, carrying the hopes of the host nation after his fourth goal put the Irish out, was on fire. With golden boy Roberto Baggio mostly subdued, Schillaci and his iconic eye-popping celebration was the talk of the town.

"I knew it was a great moment and I tried to do my best while not thinking about what it all might mean," said Schillaci. "I didn't have the kind of pressure that some of the other players had because they already had big reputations. Anything I did would have been better than expected, so I felt quite calm."

Calm enough to score an Italian opener in their semi-final against Argentina, but it wasn't enough as Caniggia levelled and the hosts went out on penalties. Against all odds, the holders made it back to the final.

A day later in Turin, old enemies West Germany and England battled it out for the right to meet Maradona and co. Once again I was allowed to stay up late and I'll never forget a moment of it, even the sick feeling in my stomach when Des Lynam uttered the words: "This of course is the most momentus day for English football since 30 July 1966."

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Is it possible to still feel raw about something that happened 20 years ago? Andy Brehme's cruelly deflected free-kick looped over Peter Shilton and in to give the West Germans the lead, before Lineker expertly took advantage of some defensive uncertainty to level 10 minutes from time.

The tension (at the ground, in my house, everywhere I'd imagine) was unbearable, but it was broken fleetingly by a moment of startling innocence. After losing control of the ball following a mazy run, Paul Gascoigne - soon to become just Gazza - lunged in on Thomas Berthold, was shown a yellow card and immediately realised he would be banned for the final, should England make it.

As the brilliant 23-year-old midfielder's bottom lip started to quiver, Lineker went to console his team-mate, famously gesticulating at the England bench as the iconic tears began to fall. Penalties followed, and after Stuart Pearce's effort was saved and Chris Waddle blazed over, England, shatteringly, were out.

Seeing my heroes distraught, I wept inconsolably with them. I had watched on helpless as Pearce - a man I had worshipped ever since I knew what football even was - had endured a moment I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. As I trudged upstairs to my room to stare at the swarm of posters bearing his image on my wall, I would have quite happily never watched another football match again in my entire life.

Luckily, mum and dad didn't put me through the torture of the Argentina v West Germany final, a match journalist Brian Glanville dubbed "probably the worst, most tedious, bad-tempered final in the history of the World Cup", choosing instead to drag me along to my brother's school play.

I didn't miss much, only the first red card in a World Cup final, a dodgy penalty decision, the second red card in a World Cup final and the Germans winning their third world title. In the process, Franz Beckenbauer wrote his name in history as the first World Cup-winning captain to later manage a team to victory.

In a tournament of tears, the last ones - ironically, given the events of 1986 - belonged to Maradona, incensed by the travesty of injustice that had befallen his side. "I cried on the ground after the game because of the unfairness of it all, not because we lost," he said.

I cried because we had lost, but something more important had happened during June and July in 1990 - the World Cup had become an inextricable part of my life, and I knew it would always be so.

Watch Gazza and Lineker talk about their semi defeat (UK only)
Watch highlights of Cameroon's stunning win over holders Argentina (UK only)
Watch West Germany's 2-1 win over the Netherlands (UK only)
Watch England squeeze past thrilling Cameroon in the quarters (UK only)
Watch West Germany beat Argentina in a woeful final (UK only)

I'm sure you have your own special memories of 1990. On Friday, courtesy of a Swede who once tormented England, we look back at the 1994 World Cup in USA which finished with a fourth victory for the Brazilians.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Italia novanta was also my world cup. i was 12 but remember too well milla and schillaci. they both sort of disappeared after the WC, especially Toto Schillaci. I remember Gascoigne crying but cannot forget Maradona on the pitch crying also. No matter how boring football was, I believe 90 was the WC of a new era especially as it brought african football to the fore. Truly unforgettable. How amazing that 20 years after cameroon went so far, the first world cup is being held in africa. very fitting.

  • Comment number 2.

    Fantastic memories, was my 1st world cup too - I had made an england flag from a sheet of A4 and a red crayon, it sat on the arm of my chair for every england game. I think I cried as much when my mum threw it away after we lost to germany cause I wouldn't need it anymore as I did to us actually loosing.

  • Comment number 3.

    Hi Jonathan... Great read.

    It's funny exactly what I felt and remember of the 1990 world cup. I guess being born in 81 it was the first world cup we were fully able to comprehend. There was a video called "Hero" of the 1986 world cup in Mexico that i used to watch over and over.... but my memories of that world cup was of the video and not the actual games.

    Hope this world cup will be as memorable as 1990.

  • Comment number 4.

    Not a great tournament as mentioned. Without wanting to sound like an old grump, England were mightily fortunate to get as far as they did. Belgium could have easily beaten them and Cameroon should have been out of sight before they (once again) lost their discipline.
    But the semi final defeat does still hurt even now - although not as much as 'the Hand of God'.
    Its even a struggle to come up with outstanding performers in this World Cup. The West Germans were a solid enough team and Matthaus a fine leader, Schillaci had his moments as did other talented midfielders Scifo and Stojkovic - whose two goals against Spain were magical.
    Cameroon was the story of the tournament - fantastic names, Mboue, Makanaky, wonderful, carefree flowing football and the Quarter Final is a match that will stay with me forever, due in a large part to Barry Davies' fantastic commentary.

  • Comment number 5.

    England reaching the semi-finals was their best performance in a World Cup since 1966.

    For me, the 1990 Italy World Cup Finals will be mostly remembered as the one in which an African team (in this case Cameroon) finally gave a good account of themselves.

    Overall though, it was a slighly disappointing World Cup tournament although sales of operatic music received a huge boost with the Three Tenors theme.

    Full match details and statistics from Italy 1990 available here:

  • Comment number 6.

    What Irish person doesn't remember Italia 90. It's rumoured to be the kick off point for the Celtic Tiger that swept the country for 20 years afterwards as the borrowings of so many people were so high. My brother went to Italy for the last qualifying match and at some point money was wired so he could stay on for the quarter final. I have no clue if he even saw the match. For years after that match when I met Italians of my age, I would say one word, Schillaci. We would all laugh and smile and hug like demented idiots. The goal itself was a sickner. The ball was badly struck, bounced, bobbled and curved just out of reach of Bonner. I had a T Shirt of O Leary's Penalty kick, which was on Sale on the street by the time the bars were letting out, and another one, with Bonner saving the penalty. Those were the heady days and Irish football has since longed to go one better. This was truly the tournament were I learned football is a universal langauge and unifier. Pity the people who run FIFA are not more talented and courageous.

  • Comment number 7.

    One other thing I just remembered, There was a advertisedment on Irish Telly for a beer only a few years back. Two blokes are in a bar talking to an Italian tourist whose English is not great. They Introduce themselves and one says he is Packie Bonner, the other says yeah, I am Dave O Leary. The Italian looks at them and says, Oh let me introduce my friend, Toto, and there is Schillaci, sipping on a beer. It Fascinates me that over 20 years later, advertisers were clued in as to the fact that this ad would work. It's that deep for us, perhaps as deep as Gaza's tears were for the English. The man was Englands national treasure, pity you didn't look after him better.

  • Comment number 8.

    Nice article. It was a poor WC though. As you say, all kids have their 'own' WC. Mine was in 1970. For me, it has been the only one. Intenational football has been dying a slow, tedious death ever since, maybe due to national barriers being less defined nowadays and the World being a smaller place and the foreign stars no longer having the aura and mystery they once had in the days when we only saw them every 4 years. We also had a team to respect back then with players who were oozing class and who were worthy of the call of their Country. How things change when we look at some of the samples our kids are supposed to look up to today. I hardly bother with England games nowadays. The unmerited hype and rubbish that surrounds them long since turned me off.

    Ahhhh! Pele, Jairzinho, Tostao,Rivelinho, Moore, Lee, Banks,Charlton, Facchetti, Riva,Boninsegna, Muller, Beckanabaur and so many, many others from 1970. They were real international footballers, not the con artists, social pariah's and fakes we see today.

  • Comment number 9.

    I was only 8 years old for Italia 90 and, as such, don't remember a great deal of the football. I remember running around the playing fields for weeks pretending to be Salvatore Schillachi every time I scored though! Of course, we all remember Gazza welling up too...

  • Comment number 10.

    Yeah great read Stevo, Italia 90 was my first world cup and one I’ll always remember. Lets be clear though, the quality of football played was few and far between. But the drama that has tainted it kind of makes you forget the borefest is actually was.

    Still the England/West Germany game was a cracker. I seem to remember we both hit the post and Gazza stretched as much as a man can stretch at the back post to agonisingly miss prodding home the winner. I think he may have been wrong footed as the cross came in???

    Yeah the football was dire, but the tournament did give us some of the greatest collection of heroes and villains along with drama I’ve seen at major tournament. Good memories.

  • Comment number 11.

    This was my first World Cup. My first tournament was 1988 but my first qualification and full World Cup was 1990 and I can remember it so well.

    From "World in Motion" to the moment we got knocked out it was a special occasion to me, something I'd never experienced before. Seeing us get dismally knocked out in 1988 didn't have a huge impact as I'd not seen anything before that but the semi final loss to West Germany hurt so much and little did I know it would be the first of many such events!

    I even remember the strange on-screen display the Italian TV network provided, with each half having it's own 45 minute counter (rather than a full 90 minute one) and the garish yellow print down one side.

    It was all part of the charm, for me. Watching the opening sequence roll with the operatic theme brought bumps to my skin every time and I watched more football in those few weeks than I'd watched in my whole life before then.

    This tournament was timed with my introduction to watching my favourite team win the FA cup, which was a period where I realised I had fallen in love with football.

    Let's hope this World Cup brings even more great memories, but no more tears for England!

  • Comment number 12.

    you said it collie,

    Twas my first WC too, (terrible football tho, but that didnt matter) it still makes me laugh that Ireland got to the quarter finals with out winning a game and only scoring two goals, I dont really remember how many groups there were but it seemed in every groupe 3 teams went through, and remember Egypt nearly getting through only needing a goal against england, while the irish and holland where passing the ball back and forth.

    Good times indeed. (shakes fist at toto)!!

  • Comment number 13.

    I was born in 1980 so this was 'my' world cup too. To anyone older it was a boring World Cup but I don't remember it that way. It's was exciting and enthralling to my 10 year old eyes.

    It did contain some of the greatest ever world cup goals Robert Baggio against the Czechs and Lothar Mattheus against Yugoslavia both amazing runs from the half way line and to me Dragan Stojkovic's goal against Spain killing a dropping ball dead and sliding the ball home is one of the greatest pieces of skill I've ever seen.

    94 and 98 may have seen more goals and more attacking football but Italia 90 will always be my favourite world cup.

  • Comment number 14.

    please spare a thought for the belgian team that was outstanding that year, and should have put england to the sword that unforgettable night... we were by far the better side, hitting the post twice, before going out to a piece of magic by david platt (of all people!)

    the belgians could have gone all the way that year... by far my best wc-memory (1986 we came in fourth but i was only 4 years old at that time)!

  • Comment number 15.

    I just remember the size of the entre circle during the opening game, it was HUGE!!!
    Overall it was an OK'ish world cup but not quite on a par with Mexico 86. A lot of future Premiership stars made their name during this world cup, unfortunatley Italia '90 was where they peaked.

  • Comment number 16.

    'After all, the 1990 World Cup in Italy is my World Cup. Every kid gets one, and Italia '90 will always belong to me.'

    Goddess, you're right! I hadn't thought about it, but you're spot on. And that was my World Cup too. I was about your age then too. (I think that means I'm about your age now as well.)

    What I remember... loving Cameroon, hating Argentina, though I liked Cannigia and their post-Pompidou goalie - Goycochea, right? I remember shouting 'Yes!' and jumping up and down when Andy Brehme scored that penalty against the evil boys in blue and white.

    I remember Toto Schillachi, but I'd forgotten his name for years till I read this article and had to look him up. His Wikipedia photo is unrecognizable - I thought he had LESS hair before.

    I liked the logo with the stickman.

    I didnt think much of the opera - some fat guy singing like he couldn't have kids.

    I remember someone complaining (I'm not British, I grew up in West Africa) about why Britain had three entries in the world cup when all of Africa had only two. And someone else telling him Britain had only two, since Ireland wasn't part of Britain, and then I had to go home and ask my dad about it and he kinda explained the difference between Northern Ireland and southern Ireland and that there was a difference between Great Britain and the United Kingdom and the British Isles and I got very confused. I don't even remember what he said, or if he said it right, but he said that as long as I never accused anyone with an Irish accent (which I'd only heard on tv but it was distinctive so I felt I'd be able to tell) of being British, I'd be alright.

  • Comment number 17.

    As I am the same age as Stevo we have similar memories of this world cup. I still have my sticker book, incomplete of course, and remember the feeling of satisfaction I got when I could finally start filling out my wallchart. 0-1. Oman Biyik.
    Looking back now I can see how people say it was a dull world cup. Too many fouls, referees clamping down, defensive football...but like everyone else my age we remember selective moments; Oman Biyik leaping about 5 feet in the air to head in that goal, Caniggia being taken out by consecutive Cameroon defenders, Matthaus' thunder strike against Yugoslavia, David Platt's volley in the last minute of extra time against Belgium, Baggio's goal aginst Czechoslovakia, Rijkaard gobbing into Voeller's permed mullet, Rene Higuita, David O'Leary being swarmed by his Irish teammates after that penalty, Shilton seemingly glued to the ground as Brehme's free kick deflected over him, Gazza's tears, "have a word with him", Waddle hitting the post in extra time, Maradona sobbing like a baby on the touchline in the final, Nessun Dorma and World In Motion. Anyone around the age of 30 can still recite the John Barnes rap in full.

  • Comment number 18.

    For me this World Cup isd very special simply because it was Ireland's first ever appearance at the finals. We had been desperately unlucky in Euro 88 not to reach the semi finals thanks to a lucky goal from Holland's Wim Keift. We qualified in November 1989 by beating Malta away (the barman of Valetta apparently still have fond memories of the takings they took that day!) As fate would have it we were paired again with England and Holland from that same group and outsiders Egypt. The first game was against England and we quickly found ourselves 1-0 down thanks to Lineker, however with time running out, Bonner hoofed the ball upfield and Kevin Sheedy scored a typical left foot shot to earn a point. The next game against Egypt was an absolute shocker with about one shot (nevermind on target!) in the whole match which meant we needed a draw against Holland to progress. Again we gave away a soft early goal this time to Gullit, with 10 minutes to go another Bonner punt resulted in a mishit back pass by full back Berry Van Aerle (if you watch the footage, after Van Aerle hits the ball you can see him shake his head as he was clearly shouting "****!") the goalie couldn't hold it and Niall Quinn banged in the rebound! The rest of the game was so unbearably tense that I couldn't watch it and went into the back garden! With a 1-1 draw both Ireland and Holland went through but needed to draw lots to choose who came second or third in the group behind England. I can't remember where Ireland came but we got Romania in the last 16 while the Dutch got a fateful appointment with the Germans!

    The Romania game was truth by told, absolutely awful! They were a very good team led by the young Georgi Hagi but luckily for Ireland their speedy striker Marius Lacatus was suspended for this game. After 120 boring but anxious minutes, it went to penalties, all the first penalties were well struck but when Daniel Timoftei came up to take the fifth Romanian penalty, he set himself up with a very short run up and you could tell he wasn't in the right frame of mind to take it and it was not surprising that Bonner saved it low to his right. When David O'Leary came up to take the last penalty I think the whole of Ireland gasped as he wasn't really a penalty taker but he produced a great penalty into the top corner! Almost immedaitely you could hear ccar horns going off all across Newry which continued for several hours!!

    After this the Italy game was a complete anti-climax. As Collie21 says above the Italian goal came from a mis-hit shot which decieved Bonner and fell perfectly for Schillachi. To make it even more painful, if you look at the build up to the goal, twice an Irish player made a tackle and won the ball only for it to break perfectly for another Italian to keep the move going! Ah well!! After this the Italians just shut up shop and Ireland couldn't find a way through. That summer in ireland was just unbelieveable, the official team song Put'em Under Pressure was No.1 althrough the summer and most of the top 10 was taken up with other WC themed songs! It was incredible to have lived through it especially as I don't think Ireland will ever reach those heights for a long while.

    The Italian team was for my mind the best one that I've ever seen. Zenga, Baresi, Bergomi and Maldini at the back with Ancelotti, Donadoni and Guiseppe Giannini in midfield and Schillachi and the youn Baggio up front. Baggio scored an unbelieveable goal against Czechoslovakia in the group stages and Schillachi hit an absolute belter against Uruguay in the last 16. After beating us I really wanted Italy to go on and win it but they were too casual against Argentina and paid the price. That Argentinian team was for my mind the worst side ever to reach the WC final. As four years earlier they relied heavily on Maradona but he looked unfit. They found a real star in goalie Sergio Goicochea who replaced Nery Pompidou when he broke his leg and he kept them in matches with stunning saves, he was also a brilliant penalty stopper.

    Poor old Scotland! Everyone expected them to beat Costa Rica, but as with Peru in 78 no one relaised that they were a very good side especially Juan Cayasso who scored the winner against them. They then turned over the highly rated but disappointing Swedes in the next game before going out against Brazil after Jim Leighton couldn't hold a shot. England recovered well after a poor start, for me their star player was David Platt especially for that brilliant volley against Belgium.

    Cameroon were the real stars of the tournament, the Argentina game stands out for me not for the result but for the 2 red cards especially the second one when the guy just took out Cannigia in full flow and was blowing kisses at the crowd as he went off!! Roger Milla then became the hero with his late cameos, especially against Colombia when he made a complete mug out of Higuita! However their lack of discipline cost them badly against England when they gave away 2 penalties from clumsy challenges, a better team would have seen the game out. Another team I enjoyed watching was Yugoslavia. It's a true shame that thanks to nationalism a team that could have dominanted European football in the 1990's was broken up, they were favourites for Euro 92 when they had to pull out and could well have won a WC.

    As was said above the final was terrible. What made it harder to watch was that Germany were actually a very good team and if they had just gone out and played as well as they could then they could have won easily but they just resorted to fouling and diving. I remember watching the game on ITV and when Juergen Kohler (I think) went down in agony from a nothing challenge, Ron Atkinson scornfully remarked "There's another one of those 6ft 4 hardmen, He's as hard as custard!!" In truth the Germans had been the best team, Voeller and Klinsman were one of the best strike pairs ever and Lothar Matthaus was without doubt the player of the tournament.

    Sorry for the long post but this was a very spacial tournament for me!

  • Comment number 19.

    This was also a cynical World Cup to go along with the general poor standard of play. Previous competitions had had the fouling and diving but 1990 seem to take it to a new level (or is it plumb to a new depth?).
    The few moments of good play include Matthaus' two long shots against Yugoslavia, the sublime skill of Stojkovic versus Spain and the goals of Roger Milla.
    Largely it was tough going though.

  • Comment number 20.

    #10 freddy_dingo

    I believe you are talking about Euro 96 where Gazza just missed tapping the ball home!!!

    Waddle hit the inside of the post for England in Extra time in Italia 90 that was the closest either side came to winning that game in regulation time!!

    (So close but yet so far)

  • Comment number 21.

    A very good account.

    I also remember it well.

    But what I recall most of all is this....

    Gazza became a hero overnight. The tears showed how deeply he felt it. The whole of England was proud of him.

    And then, as they ALWAYS do, with everyone, the dirty gutter press - The Sun, The Daily Mail - spent the rest of his career ripping the lad to pieces.

    These so-called "patriotic" rags do more to rubbish England than anything else!! And even to this day, they still hound Gazza.

    That's my overriding memory of 1990 WC. The passion of the players against the dirt of the press.

  • Comment number 22.

    16. At 09:36am on 26 May 2010, buymespresso wrote: Your DAD was spot on. :-)

    18. At 09:38am on 26 May 2010, JPSLotus79 wrote:
    Bloody hell, I have more and more memories flooding back... I actually had one of those key rings with the stick figure looking a man made from a rubiks cube heading the ball. I think you are a bit harsh on Bonners save for me it was top class to save a penalty, couldn't care less if the player was in the right frame of mind or not, but I certainly didn't have the calm to spot that at the time. O leary was sublime. I was 23, playing the field and it was a warm hot summer, and I can remember sitting on one of the honking cars Going down O Connel street that evening. How I long for those feelings again. I have sworn to myself for a long while if we qualify for a world cup again, or a European cup, I will be at every match......... Who knows it might start an economic recovery :-).

  • Comment number 23.

    16. At 09:36am on 26 May 2010, buymespresso wrote:

    I didnt think much of the opera - some fat guy singing like he couldn't have kids.

    eh?? Nessum Dorma was sung by a Tenor not a Soprano and is without doubt the greatest World Cup soundtrack ever

  • Comment number 24.

    My first world cup was '78 but '82 was MY world cup with the mesmirising Brazillians that were stumped by a rampant Italy.

    Italia '90 was a strange strange world cup watching it as a second year at Uni in Lagos, Nigeria. Too many awful matches to remember cause of defensive leanings that made FIFA introduce these stupid laws that have almost outlawed tackling. Holland had too much infighting that led to van Basten thinking he was Cruyff thereby playing too deep creating or attempting to create goals instead of being at the end of chances and finishing them with the aplomp that we were accustomed to seeing with him. There were many great games though. Infact, no other tournament has provided us with a second knockout round fixtures of Holland/Germany; Brazil/Argentina; England/Belgium(at a time when the Belgians were actually very good) and Yugoslavia/Spain since. Yes we had the awful Irish play the poor Romanians while Cameroon despatched Colombia but that was a really tasty round of fixtures the likes we have not seen again.

    Brazil were awful and Lazaroni should be in jail. Vicini's Italy were sensational going forward while Baresi and Bergomi made sure nothing got past them at the back - they would have been worthy champions! Belgium got rightly 'robbed' against England after their robbery of the Soviet Union four years earlier - Belgian football is just recovering from the passing of that generation that included the wonderful Scifo. Cameroon were mugged by England. The Africans should have been out of sight and there would have been no need for extra-time at all. England did not get a sniff all game and just chased shadows as Makanaky, Ebongue, Mbouh, the Biyik brothers held sway. The move that led to Eugene Ekeke's goal was just pure art. The sight of Walker, Butcher and Wright chasing the man without the ball was pure comedy.

    The England Germany semi was very very good though. A penalty shoot-out was the best way to seperate two teams who were evenly matched. This was a game I watched many many times on VHS after and it is still tough to watch the losers. Shilto should have been subbed as he got nowhere near the German efforts - he was by then too old. The Italians were weighed down by history and Argentina playing ONE good game in the entire tournament in the semi.

    The final should be expunged from the record books really. The acting and diving of the Germans was more disgraceful in my view than the percieved rough tactics of the Argentines. Those two red cards..goodness me! I would love to ask Klinsmann and Kohler - two six footers - what thyey think now as they watch the images of them going down like that. And it was never a penalty in a million years. Not even close.

  • Comment number 25.

    like many others, this is probably my favourite World Cup as it was also the first i remember, being 8 at the time. It was my first experience of anything like this, and the music around the finals made it brilliant - world in motion and nessun dorma (or messy doormat as it became known in our house) were fantastic.

    We used to have a highlights programme from after the WC on tape that BBC1 produced, i must have watched that millions of times down the years to see Higuita lose the ball when dribbling out of goal (something im sure we have all tried since on Fifa!!), the names of the Cameroon players and the dance of Milla, and the hair of the likes of Caniggia and especially Valderamma!! Not to mention the England games of course, which were unbelievable. I can still recall a lot of the commentary from Platt scoring and Lineker in the semi final.

    I will never forget also that, fancying myself as a bit of a goalkeeper at the time (i still do in 5-a-side!!) i got the whole England goalkeeper outfit for my birthday just after the WC had finished, what a brilliant present!!

  • Comment number 26.

    I was 7 and Italia 90 was my first memory of a football tournament. David Platts volley was the best thing I have ever seen as a football fan. Still cannot believe he went to Bari after though........

    Anyway the semi final against Germany was the only match I was allowed to stay up to watch, my dad sat me down and I watched the whole game, cheering every pass and enjoying every second.

    However when we lost I felt it was my fault as it was the only game I had watched....and we lost.

    I am 27 now and still feel I had something to do with the loss......I feel better now I have shared that!

  • Comment number 27.

    20. At 09:42am on 26 May 2010, LABSAB9 wrote:
    #10 freddy_dingo

    I believe you are talking about Euro 96 where Gazza just missed tapping the ball home!!!

    Waddle hit the inside of the post for England in Extra time in Italia 90 that was the closest either side came to winning that game in regulation time!!

    (So close but yet so far)


    didnt West Germany hit the post in extra time as well? But that shot was unbelievably close from Waddle. I fancy if we had won that game we would have won the final as well. Still we will never know now.

    As others have already stated, the amount of red cards and foul play in this finals was incredible, i remember being very shocked at the antics in the final, two red cards was unbelievable. And of course the Voller/Rijkaard incident just the most shocking of the lot, Voller cant believe whats happened at first!!

  • Comment number 28.

    It was a surreal feeling, after all the heartache of the the previous 16/17 years from not qualifying for 1974 to reaching the semi-finals, one match away from the World Cup final!! The Belgium match was tight but England always seemd in control. Quite the opposite against Cameroon, they were so dangerous, whenever Milla got the ball he looked like he was going to score. It was a huge relief to beat them, pretty lucky too. Someone above said Milla disappeared but I think he made a few substitute appearances in the 1994 tournament. It was about 6:30am in the morning in Australia when the the semi-final was over and England were out. Gutted. I headed down to the boat I was working on and spent the next 3 days with a bunch of Germans, they didn't even know they'd won, and weren't that bothered. I later watched Schillaci play in Japan, his nickname "Toto", is the main brand of toilets over there. The real final of that tournament was the England vs W.Germany game. England were the best team in the tournament, I think Linker said that a few years later too, although I may be biased...

  • Comment number 29.

    Other players to note, Enzo Scifo of belgium and the stand in keeper for Argentina who was amazing on peno shoot outs, Goygachea or something. Also Cascarino for Ireland, still think that is brilliant by big Jack

  • Comment number 30.

    27. At 09:56am on 26 May 2010, Jimmy wrote:

    didnt West Germany hit the post in extra time as well? But that shot was unbelievably close from Waddle. I fancy if we had won that game we would have won the final as well. Still we will never know now.

    I don't think so mate they did in Euro 96 but i'm pretty sure not in Italia 90

  • Comment number 31.

    I remember watching the semi against Germany, and when Gazza caught Berthold and the entire German bench were up urging the ref to book him, it wasn't that bad a tackle, but the bench were the one's who got him booked. Gazza seemed to lose heart at that point, they knew that he was the biggest creative threat to them. Didn't watch the final, and by all accounts didn't miss anything either.

  • Comment number 32.

    Thoroughly enjoyed this trip down memory lane courtesy of my colleague Stevo - although I'm a touch disappointed he didn't make more of New Order's World in Motion. Surely the greatest of all the England football songs?

  • Comment number 33.

    @LABSAB9 - You're spot on, it was Euro96. It’s that long ago England did anything worth while in a major tournament I’m beginning to merge the 2 semi-finals into 1.

  • Comment number 34.

    1990 was the first world cup where I would watch matches with mates rather than at home with the family.

    1982 provides a vague memory as, at the age of 9, it was when I had my first bet. 10p on Brazil to beat Italy. Perhaps Rossi did me a favour by scoring that hat-trick so that I didn't win and enjoy it too much to want to gamble again.

    I remember sitting up in 1986 to watch a preview of the Mexico world cup on ITV with Brian Moore. Now there was a man who could capture the excitement of a game.

    The Euro's in 1988 was the real eye opener and I was mesmerised by the Dutch in a way I haven't been by any other team. It was a football epiphany and one that hasn't been topped since despite the way certain football is hyped nowadays.

    To 1990 though. I was able to watch every game and at sensible hours as well. Great memories and I'm glad that someone mentioned Matthaus. I have this abiding memory of him charging through midfield, skipping tackles with the grace of a hurdler and riding others with great strength. Essien reminds me of him I would say.

    Also, there was the Cameroon doing everything in their power to stop a Claudia Cannigia run. The first tackle was strong, the second left his staggering and the third did the job. Cannigia up in the air - him in one direction and his boot in another. It might be a romantic image and not necessarily quite accurate.

    Also, the Rikjard Voller incident in the San Siro. Something about that match (and I didn't understand the German/Dutch rivalry at the time) in the cathedral that is the San Siro.

    Ah, halcyon days. Oh, and Paul Parker.

  • Comment number 35.

    30 - LABSAB9 - haven't got the sound on (as at work) so dont know who it was but about 7:30 into the highlights of the semi WG hit the post - although outside as opposed to the inside of the post that Waddle hit.

    Really enjoying these summaries of the world cups, have gone now from the ones i dont remember but have read about before, to the ones i can remember growing up to. Brilliant!!

  • Comment number 36.

    Jimmy - I can assure you, it was far easier writing about the World Cups I can remember, and I'm sure Bevo feels the same!
    As I wasn't quite six, my recollections of Mexico '86 are fuzzy to say the least. But I definitely remember sitting on the floor of the lounge when Maradona punched the ball into the net and my dad being so frustrated he told me to go outside and play.
    Still, at least he didn't make me miss the greatest goal ever scored four minutes later...
    Thanks dad.

  • Comment number 37.

    Italia '90 was also my first world cup. Although I was only 7. The only game I remember clearly in truth is the England v Cameroon quarter final. My dad tells me I watched the semi final with him as well, but I don't have any great memory of that. The other moments I remember are Matthaus' brilliant goal in the early rounds (vs Yugoslavia?) and Baggio's great goal agains the Czechs... as well as Republic's penalty shoot out victory over Romania. I've seen all the other bits since, Gazza's tears, Oman Biyike's header, Milla's dance, Rijkaard's spit...... but the above bits are the only ones I really remember from the time.

    I think the reason that we all look back so misty eyed on Italia '90 now is that we'll never see another World Cup like that again. Football is so globalised now that I know who will be in the Ghana squad at the world cup, I know who Italy's late call ups would be, I watch Lionel Messi every weekend on the Spanish football and every midweek in the Champions League, so it won't wow me the way Baggio's brilliant goal, or Canigga's dribbling against Brazil did in 1990. Hell, I even know who will be in the New Zealand squad - and I've played against at least one of them in English non-league...... That element of freshness and suprise that used to exist is gone.... and with it I fear has some of the excitement. Yes, I get a tingle when I think of watching South Africa and Mexico kick it off on 11 June..... the excitement of knowing the World Cup is on.... but will we come out of it with new heroes like Millar, Canigga and Schillachi? I doubt it..... and that is why we will all still pine for Italia '90. The last of the "old" World Cups.

  • Comment number 38.

    #37 RetiredNo6

    Good post. The innocence lost that you describe was also the best argument that I can think of to not have the '39th game' as well.

    Almost everyone else was arguing about money and they forgot the football. One poster on here described how all the football world trying to play the same football to get into the EPL and the 39th game would homogenise football and that element of difference and surprise would ultimately lost and that argument won me over.

    There will still be new stars though. It's just that they will quickly be gobbled up into European football and will become 'ordinary'.

  • Comment number 39.

    yeah i remember WG hitting the post, i think they hit the post before waddle did, agree that that semi should have been the final, i remember my grandad laughing when gazza was crying (irish) i felt very sad for him indeed, "have a word" that is the stuff of legends.

    Italy won the 3rd place playoff didnt that? 2-0 i think, was that the first time there was a 3rd place play off, or was there always one?

  • Comment number 40.

    I'd watched the WC's from 74 onwards and this was the poorest. The best performance was from the 'three tenors' but I also have to say that Dragan Stojkovic's goal against Spain was the best: one of the coolest finishes I've seen.

    Congrats to the Irish for having a great run but England were fortunate to get past Belguim (though good goal by Platt) and especially Cameroon (who had a great WC) and then the penalties against the Germans. Suffice to say I wasn't supporting England so it worked out well in the end.

    Rotten final ruined by a ref who sent one of the Argies off early on for very little and ruined the event as a spectacle. The Germans though had to rely on what was a very soft penalty to win it: Voller taken down in a light wind I think and obviously still recoling from the FR's spit in the Holland game. If I was Argentinian I'd have been really annoyed at the way it all went.

  • Comment number 41.

    It was good to see England do well. I can still remember the start of the live programme for the Semi Final when, even before 'Nessum Dorma' was played a very serious looking Des Lynam said 'There are only three teams left who can win the 1990 world cup. Argentina, West Germany....and England'. You could feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. I was far too terrified to enjoy that semi final and was a 19 year old in a local bar in which men decades older than me were also in tears.

    Despite that drama the 1990 World Cup was almost as bad as the 2006 one. It was pretty dull stuff and not a vintage.


    Voller vs Rijkaard. Sorry, but that had me in stitches.
    Rene Higuita finally getting caught out. Everyone knew it was bound to happen.
    Roger Milla, Baggio, Mattheus and Gazza were all excellent.

    Everyone goes on about Gazza being the best player in Italia '90 but was Mattheus by a million miles.

  • Comment number 42.

    #35 Jimmy

    Apologies mate i stand corrected

  • Comment number 43.

    This was my first proper World Cup (I was 8) - and we were in Italy for it!

    I remember seeing the England team bus pull in in Naples, and also remember being taught to do that funny elbow-waggling dance that was the fans craze at the time (the 90s equivalent to the 'easy, easy' move I guess?)

    Great times. Remember being in tears after England crashed out. :(

  • Comment number 44.

    LABSAB9 - no worries!!

    having watched some of one of the video packages, i realise i forgot to also list Baggio and Higuita amongst the terrible hair cuts of the world cup as well.

    i think in the European Championships in 2008 (though i may be wrong) the BBC did a whole host of "you are the ref" scenarios that were brilliant for getting some debate going, and separating the Andy Grays from the David Ellarys. Any one know if these will be coming back for this tournament?

    (i expect not given the demise of QOTW, ROTW and Robbo...)

  • Comment number 45.

    Boy oh boy! This world cup will live in my memory forever. My first worldcup, I was 14, in secondary school, and quite frankly, school was never ever so exciting. I remember watching some of the matches in the big assembly hall on a 14-inch screen! Being a junior, I had to be at the back. But it was all good. Roger Milla, Oman Biyik, the tall Thomas N'kono, players I remember so fondly. And then Gary Lineker spoilt it for all Africa! I still blame the ref in that match though. The same ref for the Final who robbed Argentina. Football needed video evidence way back then, when is FIFA going to wake up!

  • Comment number 46.

    This was my "2nd world cup" (in terms of ones i remember, the other '86). True it was dull in places. I remember it for the following:

    The Soviets were one of the favourites, hammered Romania for chances and possession and lost 2-0...then i cried when we bottled it vs Argentina and were effectively out.

    England who really didnt have a great tournament performance wise. They lucked it vs Cameroon & Belgium and were 2nd to West Germany in that game.

    A poor Brazil

    Toto Schillachi

    Claudio Caniggia

    Cameroon 1-0 Argentina

    Nessun Dorma

    And finally! Andreas Brehme and his amazing technique in crossing the ball and taking the winning pen in the final. It started copy cat techniques from me on the pitch for years to come...

  • Comment number 47.

    Two words come to mind when I think about Italia90 : David Platt.
    Never been so heartbroken after a game. We had a great team, Scifo and Ceulemans hit the post,....

  • Comment number 48.

    I got a shiver down my spine reading that blog. So many memories. Best world cup EVER. And the sticker album (big hard back folder) was also the best ever.

    How many of us would take an England semi-final appearance right now if it was offered to us?

  • Comment number 49.

    Never understood the Belgian feeling of being "robbed" against England, when England had a perfectly good goal disallowed for a bogus offside even before David Platt's wonder goal went in. We scored two, they scored none, we went through.

    Cameroon played far better football than England in their quarter final, but were undone by their tendency to scythe down the opposition rather than tackle them. In their match against Argentina one of them was sent off for an assault on Caniggia that was one of the worst I've ever seen in football. If they could have cut out the indiscipline they would certainly have beaten England that night.

    On the whole, but for one game England were poor in this World Cup. I was astounded by the brilliant performance they turned in against West Germany. Though they didn't fulfil much of their potential I still think that man for man this was probably the best England team that has ever taken the field: Shilton Parker Wright Walker Butcher Pearce Waddle Gascoigne Platt Beardsley Lineker.

  • Comment number 50.

    #49 Johnnygray26

    In their match against Argentina one of them was sent off for an assault on Caniggia that was one of the worst I've ever seen in football. If they could have cut out the indiscipline they would certainly have beaten England that night.
    I mentioned this earlier as well. This is the clip you're after.

  • Comment number 51.


    Two words come to mind when I think about Italia90 : David Platt.
    Never been so heartbroken after a game. We had a great team, Scifo and Ceulemans hit the post,....

    Now you know how we felt when you (somehow) beat us 4-3 in 1986 ;)

    Thats knockout football for you. All it takes is one good/lucky game!

  • Comment number 52.

    Italia '90 may have been the worst final to date at the time, but surely the '94 final was worse? If only because it wasn't bad-tempered, had no goals, not even a penalty, and thus forced us to endure another 30 minutes of tedious extra time with not even a remote hope of a result, simply hanging around for the only drama of the match, namely the penalty shoot-out.

    If the only notable element of a match is the sight of a pony-tail-wearing Italian crying after the match was over, you know it was a stinker.

  • Comment number 53.

    #52 Tim

    Could have been worse. I remember reading articles at the time suggesting that for the 94 world cup, the match would be split into 22.5 minute quarters because of the American appetite for tv commercials!

  • Comment number 54.

    Having just moved to the country From Eire i had a dual interest in supporting England and Ireland. If i didn`t show interest in England`s games id be abandoned by me mates! I was 10 years old and this was my first recollection of a football tournament. I remember the special small balls that were released( a novelty back then) and the Panini stickers were everywhere at school. At the time i didnt really know that much about the game but i loved every drop of it i could savour. I now view it as the worst football wise but its still a precious memory and will remain so. It is correct as a previous poster stated "the last old world cup" before the advent of the internet and globalisation/saturation. My memories include:

    * Matthaus destroying a strong Yugoslav team.

    *England v republic- just horrible game

    *Schillachi`s entrance vs Austria

    *Maradona & Caniggia being bullied into a defeat vs Cameroon

    *England somehow beating belgium and the thrilling penalties of Romania v Ireland

    *England defying Cameroon. (My mum & sis were cheering on cameroon!) Great game, i was actually tired afterwards.

    *England`s sad loss to the best team in the tournament- germany.

    Italia 90 changed the game forever. IT may not have had the best games or most goals but it opened up football to the world and the emotion it evokes. Its power through the joy(cameroon,england at various times) and the pain(tears of pearce,maradona,gazza etc) was a geat seller for the sport. I love every world cup and this was my first. You know you will never forget your first!

  • Comment number 55.

    That David Platt goal was the one I practised day after day, throwing a little ball over my shoulder as I swivelled to hit it on the volley into the top corner of the garage wall. I'd love to say I succeeded 9 times out of 10 but that would be a huge lie, more often than not I either missed the thing (it was only a mini ball I was playing with here) or spooned it over and into the neighbour's garden!

    I remember a lot of that world cup, in particular Cameroon beating Argentina at the start. The way Matheus ran the German midfield and dear old Bobby Robson trying to console the players at the end of the semi-final. It won't go down as a classic world cup but like you say Johnno this one felt like mine and I'll never forget it.

  • Comment number 56.

    Although I remember the 1978 world cup with a certain amount of fondness, Italia 1990 will always be the stand out world cup. As an exiled Paddy, I watched every minute of the tournament with complete intensity.

    The standout moment was watching the Romanian Game, my mother had invited the local priest around for tea, the game was late afternoon 5 ish I think and as it went to extra time and penalties the Priest had arrvived and ushered in to the Dining Room - as O'Leary's penalty nestled in the net - the priest was subject to language normally reserved for losing a limb or finding out that the local had run out of Guinness on 17 th March......

    I'm not sure the priest ever came back to be fair and O'Leary's star fell after his stint with Leeds, but my front room on 25th June 1990 was something I'll never forget....

  • Comment number 57.

    On a related note - I'm gutted we are missing the 2010 world cup, but I'll be supporting England as best I can - What I really want is an England France Final with Henry sent off and a Rooney brace (one from each hand.....)

    Like the Murphys I'm not bitter.....

  • Comment number 58.

    Being only 9 at the time, and not having any memory of the 86 WC, this was also my first WC. It still remains in my opinion, the best WC I've been alive to see.
    The reasons for this are quite simple, in part it was due to the fact that I never really watched that much football on tv as a kid, (can't even remember if much was on other than MOTD), so having a month of games every day allowed me to really get into football.

    The key factor however was obviously England's performance. There has been criticism in the above posts about our performance, and I can't disagree with that. However the fact that we were scraping through in extra-time, with late goals, and ending up with penalties in the semi-finals made it that much more exciting. We were not certain to win matches, nor certain to lose, matches could have gone either way on a few moments of inspiration, and somehow we managed to keep pulling it out of the bag until finally going out on penalties. This just made it so exciting as a supporter.

    I've never enjoyed subsequent world cups as much as Italia 90 (partly because they didn't have such a good theme tune!), but also due to the commercialiastion when it's been held in football powerhouses of France and Germany, whilst not really enjoying the sense that in 94 and 2002 the world cup went to nations not normally known for international football pedigree and the whole event just felt a bit stage managed to try to show the hosts in the best light in an attempt to develop football in those regions. Not that taking football to such places is a bad thing, but everything feels too stage-managed, such as ensuring the home crowds in 2002 had those plastic tubes they clapped together or the vuvuzelas in SA this time round.

    Although I am excited about the upcoming cup in SA, I just feel that because so much has been made of the fact it is being held in Africa, this will dominate the headlines whenever an African team have a good result, rather than simply praising any team that plays well regardless of which continent they are from. I was also watching a programme the other day about how when SA score a goal, there is a pre-planned goal celebration the team have been instructed to carry out to. This seems so wrong, it should be upto the individual to celebrate as they wish, not have something an over-keen choreographer makes them practice in training beforehand. It almost makes me wish they don't score any goals to spite the choreographer, but knowing how much it would mean to the fans I simply can't wish that on them.

    Ultimately Italia 90 just seemed so much purer and less commercialised and pre-planned than everything after (although granted WC90 was probably more commecialised than prior WCs) - as such I just can't get as excited about WC's these days, thus Italia 90 remains my favourite cup to date by a long way.

  • Comment number 59.

    Not an entertaining World Cup as it turned out but I was so excited waiting for it to arrive.
    Then rushing home from school one Friday afternoon to watch the opening game and there was Maradona doing effortless keepy up's in the centre circle before kick-off, and I rubbed my hands in glee just waiting for another month of watching the little maestro dazzle the football world. Alas it wasn't to be from him or anyone else, as one turgid game followed another.
    Scotland were heartbreaking again. Needed England's and Ireland's luck but we got none. History remembers a 1-0 defeat by Costa Rica it forgets we battered them and should never have lost that game, then we beat Sweden one of our best world cup results and just lost 1-0 to Brazil, with Mo Johnston missing a glorious chance to equalise. If thats not enough we still have a chance to head through as one of the best 3rd place sides until a injury time long range winner from Uruguay v South Korea dashed our hopes for good!!
    After Scotland went out I wanted Italy to win (well as I had no real aspirations for a Scotland win, I guess from the start I wanted Italy to win) as for me they were by far the best side at this World Cup, though a Final between them and W. Germany would have been Nip and Tuck.
    England were very fortunate their semi-final place being similar to Turkey's in 2002, being down more to good fortune and other sides failings than their own strengths. When the Argentina beat Italy in the semi I was beginning to worry that whomever won the 2nd semi would win the World Cup, so I did watch England's semi with a great deal of trepidation but as ever they didn't let me down.
    Not a great World Cup but it was an end of an era one for me. At 15 it was the last one I'd watch at school, enjoying next day analysis and recreations on the football pitches. By 1994 drink and women were interfering so although we met up for occasional kickabouts, football wasn't our life as it had been in those heady summers of 82,86 and 1990.

  • Comment number 60.

    #48 - brilliant call about the hard back sticker album!!

    I was 7 for this world cup and its some of first memories of watching football. The Irish games of course....

    But back to the sticker album...some of you must remeber it...
    I was never so proud when i finished the whole Irish team...
    And i also vividly remeber the part which went through famous goals scored at previous World Cups...for some reason the one that stands out was a Laudrup goal (not sure which brother) a mazy run which was drawn out in a diagram showing the path he took to score the goal!!

    Great memories...roll on 11th June and come on England (i have them backed to win it...thats the only reason!!)

  • Comment number 61.


    I still have that sticker album. Full of stats and facts of previous World cups, along with the great goals, matches and players section. A collosus of a sticker album!!!

  • Comment number 62.

    By June 1990 I was a seven year old English born kid living in Aberdeenshire...that was more of a gameshow fan than a football fan.

    I remember World in Motion(and to a lesser extent Nessan Dorma)
    I remember that wierd figure with a football for a head.
    I have vague memories of watching a few minutes of England vs West Germany.

    I cannot remember much more than that first hand. Still, it was the first World Cup I have any memories of at all.

    I really got to find out more about the tournament when a friend leant me a book on it circa '91. I remember being very dissapointed with Scotland's performance(particularly the Costa Rica game) and vaguely impressed with England reaching the semis.

    Now of course, looking back from a distance of 20 years I am more than impressed with England's performance back then. I'd happilly travel back in time to June 1990 as an England fan in my 20s and experience what watching that run would have been like.

    Recently I got a taste of it when I saw a large chunk of the England vs Cameroon match on ESPN Classic. We looked to have a very good team, however so did Cameroon, however not beating the likes of Cameroon can't have been an option.

    Having said that, having watched your footage of both the Germany vs Holland game and the final, maybe I was right to give this tournament a miss.

  • Comment number 63.

    As seems to be the case in most World Cups, the best team (in my opinion) didn't win. I thought Italy deserved to win that year. People will always say what a great World Cup it was for England, but they were very lucky to reach that far. In fact only Italy of the last four really deserved to be there and they lost.

  • Comment number 64.

    1990 consistently gets a bad rap as the 'worst World Cup' or whatever, but for drama (ie, beyond football technique) it never failed to deliver. I recall watching most of the tournament on a nifty little 14" Sony in my rooftop studio flat that overlooked south London. So into it I was that I booked afternoons off work to take in the first round matches, and, like others, was running two concurrent wallcharts. (I'll admit the BBC's took pride of place - I still have it, and the souvenir book that accompanied it.) My best friend, a Welshman and erstwhile football-hater, became so enveloped in the thrall of England's progress that, when on the 'phone to me, he'd hang up as soon as Pavarotti's voice kicked in...

    Much of the football wasn't great, it's true, but there was nonetheless a ton of excitement on offer. Despite their shortcomings (and the double red card emulated by their opponents in the final), Cameroon's defeat of Argentina remains, for me, the best opening match I've ever seen. Germany/Costa Rica in 2006 gave us a bunch of great goals, but this game was more significant in that both gave a major upset and paved the way for African football to be taken seriously.

    Other memories: Matthaeus running the midfield and burying a 30-yard scorcher past the Yugoslavs; Peter Purves's National Power ads that punctuated every ITV match; park football between England and the Republic of Ireland; Baggio's nonchalance and Toto's popping eyeballs; yes, okay, 'Nessun Dorma'; Roger Milla dispossessing Rene Higuita to put Cameroon into the last eight; Valderrama's hair; the collective cheer across south london when Platt's volley sank the Belgians; Lineker's focus and 'have a word' wink; and forget Gazza's tears, his 'Cruyff turn' against the Dutch themselves would've been worth the admission to that game alone; Englandneworder's best WC song ever that rang out, reminding us all that the best summers are always football summers...

  • Comment number 65.

    Just a quick note...

    Scotland played more than one game in this World Cup. We didn't lose to Costa Rica then go home. We played and beat a VERY good Sweden side, and were unlucky against Brazil.

    Thanks for the mention though. Everybody would seemingly rather hear about a fat man crying than the actual story of the World Cup.

    You get paid for this rubbish too, I assume.

  • Comment number 66.

    I was also watching a programme the other day about how when SA score a goal, there is a pre-planned goal celebration the team have been instructed to carry out to. This seems so wrong, it should be upto the individual to celebrate as they wish, not have something an over-keen choreographer makes them practice in training beforehand. It almost makes me wish they don't score any goals to spite the choreographer,



    I hope that isn't true.

    If it is I REALLY hope they don't get a goal. What a joke!

  • Comment number 67.

    memorys of 1990

    holland were playing on concrete shoes that wc, cameroon beat argentina, ireland were great and the stojkovic goal vs spain was testament of his skill
    it was the worst world cup final ever, was so gutted with the game had to blow off some steam with a footy game on the amiga (goal or sensible soccer)

  • Comment number 68.

    I think part of the problem with the legacy of this WC is that the dull final and the odd shocking Group (ie Group F) has somewhat distorted the general consensus a little - there were still a lot of great games, good goals and it I think there hasn't been many cases since where a mere footballer's name becomes somewhat iconic in a short space of time - there have been many great players since but it seemed a very 'personality' led affair beyond the mere nuts and bolts of the 90 minutes. Helped if you were 6 or 7 years old and these surnames would instantly become the stuff of legend. Perhaps young fans might think the same of today's stars but this was a time slightly before the influx of glamorous players in the domestic game and therefore there was, to my mind, an exoticism unparalleled in Italy that summer.

  • Comment number 69.

    Don't tell the boss, but I've done nothing all day except read your comments about 1990 (oh, and the gossip column, too:

    My favourites include number 55 - mate, me and my brothers must have tried to do a 'Platty' down the park about 50 million times and never even got remotely close. Shame he had to ruin it by being one of Forest's worst managers ever...

    Also, any Panini chat is top drawer by me. I loved that album too, though looking back now it perhaps doesn't feel as iconic as the '86 one - maybe that's just because of the awesome Maradona pose that I've tried to recreate ever since and also failed.

    SuperJLounge - can't believe I didn't mention Valderrama's hair, either. Sure it was in the first draft. Now where did I leave it...

  • Comment number 70.

    #67 Demoremda_AJAX

    Ahh, but did you have the Codemasters Italia 90?

  • Comment number 71.

    Mexico 86 was my first world cup, but Italy 90 was the one that I have most affection for. In a way 86 was part one that gave me the first bitter sweet experience as a 9 year old, and 90 was part 2 at 13. At this most impressionable of times, my support and interest in the national side was at its strongest! I remember the summer of 1990 being a long hot affair, and it was a summer above all others. Everything fell into place; the Italian feel (Italy doing well in their world cup) the passionate theme song, and a vibe that this could be our year; that Sir Bobby and the lads would heal the unjust of 86.
    I don't recall much of the group stage, but I certainly remember the tight game against Belgium. Reading some of these entries, I do faintly remember a good goal rubbed off, and feeling aggrieved as the minutes ticked by, and penalties looming in a rather flat game. And then with seconds left, that floated free kick by Gazza met by Platt’s volley that to this day is one of the best goals I have ever seen. Pure delight and relief. A Lineker tap in would have done, but a super strike made the script.
    I remember a clip on TV of a witch doctor predicting a 2-0 win for the impressive Cameroon. And of course it was 2-0 after a short period of time in the first half, and we looked flat on out heels and heading out! But Lineker stepped up and helped us this time with those 2 big, big penalties!
    What followed, hmmm. Just amazing how Germany’s free kick snuck in past a wondering Shilton! And then that goal by Lineker after a long nervous wait. A great cross by Parker, and the ball bounced perfectly for Lineker, who was being marked by 3 defenders; coolly slotting in another great goal. Then Waddle hitting the post! The Penalties; Shilton guessing right each time, but the German penalties, as ever, perfect; fast and in the corners! Pearce and Waddle, well. Forth place overall was deflating, but about right.

  • Comment number 72.

    Aahhh....Itaia 90...

    Nice blog, will read the rest of the soon.

    Not my first world cup; Spain 82 was the first I remember, Mexico 86 was the first I watched with any interest, but for me Italia 90 evokes so many memories it will always be my favourite. I was 16 and on the extra long summer break between taking GCSE's and starting A Levels. I looked old enough to get served (illegally) in pubs and whatched most of the Enland games in town.
    New order, the John Barnes rap, gazza, Linaker, Cameroon, Maradonna crying at the end of the rubbish final.
    I'm 36 now and although there have been 4 world cups since (at the time of writing) none have lived up to 90. it just shows that its not just about the quality of the football because as the blogger says, it was not great.

    USA 94 was a bit of a non event; I cheered on the Irish as best I could but it just wasn't the same.

    France 98, I actually thought we could win it, I felt sorry for Becks, he didn't deserve the backlash - although he was a muppet.

    Japan 02, a group of talented individuals under a media courting spinless bufoon.

    Germany 06, as above

    Africa 10 TBA...

  • Comment number 73.

    I attended Italy-USA match at the Olimpico. Italy won 1-0. It was a great display from the Italians, especially the goal from Giannini. The whole match was entertaining, and an unbelievable atmosphere from the 77 000 present. Those who watched on television had a different view of the game. Isn't obvious why, that the medium can make even the best of games uninteresting?

  • Comment number 74.

    Well the positive comments about Italia 90 mostly refer to England doing well. Italia 90 and Euro 96 will always be the most memorable tournaments for England fans because we had emotional investment in England succeeding.

    I do understand what people are saying about Italia 90 being the last of the 'old World Cups' where we could discover great players for the first time. Now with blanket media coverage, the internet and so much live football it's impossible to not know who the star players are and not to see clips of them or see them play regularly. North Korea are unknowns but we won't see a great player emerge from nowhere like we have in the past. For me Mexico 86, Euro 88 and Italia 90 were the best tournaments for that, since USA 94 the coverage of world football has improved so much that there are no more surprises and the tournament has lost some of its exoticism.

  • Comment number 75.

    It's interesting reading everyone talk about this as their first world cup - makes me feel like a real old hand. They don't remember but it was my children's first world cup - I's bought my two year old son his first Scotland shirt - the smallest size I could find and he wore it like a dress! - saw him through to '98, that's what I call value for money. And my daughter was born in the middle of the tournament - I told her Mum to just cross her legs until Scotland were out - so that didn't take long, the shock of Costa Rica, the renewed hope against Sweden and then Brazil once again - do we have to have them in our group EVERY time! H duly turned up as the round of 16 got under way and my babysitting duties seemed to coincide with matches! In subsequent years she has had to negotiate birthday parties around various football tournaments.

    England really did get lucky - but seemed to have built up the momentum that has sometimes seen teams like Italy and Germany go on to win. They just needed to be a little bit more clinical in front of goal against Germany and it might have been very different.

    For a wonderful account of the Ireland Romania penalty shoot out, read Roddy Doyle's "The Van" it really seems to catch some of the emotion and optimism of the time.

    As others have said the final was awful and I see that the 10 best goals sequence just shows the cup being lifted and no action - about sums it up!

  • Comment number 76.

    1982 was 'my' World Cup, but 1990 took place at an importnat time of my life. That summer I sat my finals at university and so the World Cup was taking place as I was doing so. I did sit a watch the Scotland v Costa Rica match with a couple of other Scots students in the student room of our English uni, that result was a great start! The second my final exam finshed I headed to the pub just in time to see the Rep of Ireland v Romania game go to penalties. By the time of the England v Cameroon game I was back home, but as that match was being played I was explaining to my parents that I would be leaving home again to go and live with my the girlfriend in another city. The night of the final the then girlfriend had cooked a special dinner to celebrate us getting our own flat, but I was more interested in the final. It couldn't have put her off, as she is now the wife!

    So 1990 for me was taking place as a backdrop to some important stages of my life. Nessun Dorma for me isn't Gazza, Baggio and Schillachi, but the stress of finals, awckward conversations with the parents and earning money to pay a mortgage.

    happy days!!!! sort of!

  • Comment number 77.

    What follows is a complete one dimensional post from a german who loved this world cup for obvious reasons ;-)

    You are free to ignore this post.

    Last chance to jump to the next posting.

    You have been warned... ;-)

    It doesn't need very much to bring my memories back to Italia '90. Un'Estate Italiana by Gianna Nannini still gives me the creeps everytime i hear it. The picture of Frank Rijkaard spitting on Ruuuuuuuudi Völler his hanging next to my wedding pictures in the hall.
    As a lot of people stated above - Italia '90 was my World Cup as well. Being 12 years old, being German, being traumatised by the '86 Final, being humiliated by Roland Koeman after the Euro '88 Semi-Final - Italia '90 was the ultimate compensation for all of this.
    It took 16 years for a german team to reach the quality and attractiveness in play of the 1990 team.
    Cruising through the group stage with two impressive 4:1 and 5:1 goal fests and a not so impressive but still memorable (thanks to Valderama's hairstyle) 1:1 to Columbia.
    The second round "battle" with the Netherlands, one of the tightest games i've ever seen. Propably the best game Jürgen Klinsmann ever played in his whole career and also the "birthplace" of Guido 'Diego' Buchwald and Jürgen Kohler 'Fußballgott'.
    The quarterfinal pretty unspectacular but then: the big one against England. Well, as I'm posting here on the BBC site I just can say one word: sorry ;-) Naaa, it was a huge game by both teams with England having the better chances. Penalties are a lotterie-game so Germany had just more luck this evening.
    And then the final - retrospective and from an objective point of view I can say: yes, it was a pretty dull final. But when your team plays a world cup final it is definately the biggest and most enthralling game you can imagine! (Perhaps you'll find out this summer, but i certainly don't hope you will! ;-) )
    The constellation was just brilliant: Germany had played a very good tournament and didn't sneak through to the final. The oponent Argentina did sneak through and eliminated a marvelouse Italian Team by some destructive football, which led to the fact, that all the italian supporters favored the german team to win the final. And, last but not least: revenge for the '86 final - as just said: the constellation was brilliant.
    The Argentinian never got a foot on the ground in the final. Sadly it had to be decided by a dodgy penalty decision (yes, it was a dive), but never the less: the right team won the final, that I'm absolutly sure of!

    So bring on the 2010 World Cup and may the best team win!
    Fingers crossed ;-)

  • Comment number 78.

    Footless - a silver surfer then. You must remember football in black and white. Also, you've helped out with the Scottish sterotype of identifying the value for money in your purchase.

    54_74_90_2010 - us English would take a boring final if it meant we won the thing.

    Great posts though you two, clearly 1990 bring's back special memories for both of you.


  • Comment number 79.

    I don't think I've ever been more scared than when Lineker stepped up with England 1-2 down with 8 minutes left to take that penalty.

    It was also the world cup when I 'became a man' during Cameroon v England. I must've been keen on the lass to do it then. Mind you the whole act was over during half time. I had one eye on her and one the telly in case the second half started. I still get visions of Des Lynam when I'm with the missus.

  • Comment number 80.

    #79 On the eigth day Eboue took over

    You, sir, are a rouge and a scoundrel. And we love you for it! (Maybe her mind is still on Des Lynam as well!)

  • Comment number 81.

    #79 - I love it!!! Top notch! !

  • Comment number 82.

    Oi MrBlueBurns less of the silver (though there are more than few!)
    and 1970 was in colour so there! (even if our tele wasn't) and nothing wrong with Value for Money.

    Nowadays I'd take a boring group qualification never mind final to see Scotland there again, but it's getting harder and harder as Scotland are just not producing the same quality of player they once did and the European qualification process is quite rightly getting harder as the tournament is opened up to Africa and Asia.

    But yes 1990 - special memories - but not for the football!

  • Comment number 83.


    #79 On the eigth day Eboue took over

    You, sir, are a rouge and a scoundrel. And we love you for it! (Maybe her mind is still on Des Lynam as well!)

    Complain about this comment
    # 81. At 4:50pm on 26 May 2010, devley1888 wrote:

    #79 - I love it!!! Top notch! !



    I was getting nowhere fast with that lass but my infatuation with footy made her jealous. 'Do you love football more than me?'...'Of course not honey'....

    Well she wanted me to prove it. What else could I have done? I was clever enough to wait for '...and England lead 1-0 at half time thanks to David Platt' to make my move.

    I went through a lot of emotions in that hour of my life! She thought I was mental by full time.

  • Comment number 84.

    Awesome #79! Sadly I can almost picture it.

    I have very blurred memories of this as I was just 6, but the march of Cameroon was clearly legend in the making. The fact that Milla was nearly as old as my dad!

    Funny how I warmed to their green shirts but not Germany's. That semi could have broken me as a child - the tears of Gazza is the most iconic moment for English fans in a generation or so. I thought for years we had lost a replay to them but I suppose that was me learning what extra time is.

    That drama meant I considered the 3rd place playoff to be far more important than anyone else ever has! Sat about 6 inches from the telly in anticipation of a bronze medal, but Italy were a better side.

    Such a shame the final were two negative teams again. My parents explained to me that Germany were more likeable, which dumbfounded me, but I hadn't seen Argentina up until now. I remember watching it over tea and if it had been better football I might have more captivated by football for the next couple of years. I thought for a long time it was a big factor in the Berlin Wall coming down too!

    In retrospect, the Voller-Rijkaard fiasco must have lightened up the absence of good football. But Matthaeus and Littbarski, what players!>

  • Comment number 85.

    Yes, this was my first cup too and the one I remember the best, oddly. I know where I was for every key game (I actually watched most of them on TV).

    I was reaaaally looking forward to it thanks to the Orbis World Cup '90 magazine/sticker album that I had been patiently collecting for 6 months!

  • Comment number 86.

    No fair, BBC! We football fans overseas ought to be able to watch those videos too. We all have memories of those far-off days, so why not accommodate us too? Surely it isn't a technical problem!

  • Comment number 87.

    A brilliant piece and I agree whole heartedly with you. I was 9 at the time and a mad Forest fan so it seems like we were going through very simular experiences.
    We'd taken our first family holiday to France that summer and straight away became good friends with an Irish family. The girls of both families played together while me and Paul the Irish son played football every day. Then England v Ireland arrived and the bar on the campsite was a wash of green and white.
    One of my fonderst memories was watching Scotland v Brazil. I'm a quarter Scot so did my part by making a makeshift kilt from my Mum's travel rug. Also when The Irish faced Egypt my Dad dressed himself in full Arab gear with a sign on the back saying "Come on you Egypts"...a play on the Irish egit or however you spell it.
    We came home by the time of the 2nd round but the Platt goal and the Cameroon match were watched my the fireplace in Skegness (I always sat in the same spot) and the Semi Final was the same...Nesun Dorma has haunted me ever since. I'm not sure if you feel the same but it brings the hairs up on my neck everytime I hear it. I hope that the modern game allows for youngsters to feel the same way about 2010 as I do about 90

  • Comment number 88.

    This was the first WC where i can say I watched nearly all the matches.Cameroun beating Argentina in the opener,Kana Biyik getting sent off and blowing kisses to the crowd and the worst tackle I've ever seen Benjamin Massing on Claudio Cannigia.Roger Milla dancing at the corner flag(the oldest swinger in town I remember the commentator saying)Higuita suffering from brain freeze and Schillaci carrying the Italians on his back.Stunning solo goals from Matthaus and Baggio,negative Argies,a Brazil side lacking flair and a strong England team.I'll never forgebt Gazza squeezing the sweat outta his jersey at half time in extra time(would have had probably 10 to choose from nowadays)Sergio Goicoechea saving those penalties and Chris Waddle sending his PK all the way to Mars.
    Had to go back to boarding school for the final had to watch around one tiny tv that could pass for a transistor radio today.Horrible match.Argentina ready to take it to pens again while Klinsmann and Voller preferred to dive about.Brehme took his pen well and i was cured of a future gambling addiction after betting on Maradona and his wrecking crew!

  • Comment number 89.

    I was 24 at the time, truth be told it was a memorable tournament rather than a good one, and as for nobody thinking Cameroon could beat Argentina? I did... and won about £250 on them... would've been more if it wasn't for England!

  • Comment number 90.

    Man, this got me going. Have been thinking about 90 all day. I dont agree that it was a boring WC, with exception of the final perhaps.

    There were so many great characters in the WC of 90 with some magnificent names, especially the Argentinians: Goikoechea, Oleortichacha (or something), Buruchaga, then the Colombians: Higueta (?) and of course the many with the crazy hair Valderrama. Like other unsung heroes, Valderrama was another example of great midfielders in this WC like Shiffo (has there ever been a better Belgian team?, Michel and Stojkovic. And of course Matthaeus (has there ever been a more German player?!). The man was a machine.

    I think the magic of WC 90 was that a lot of the stars expected to do wonders (like Maradona and Voeller) were overshadowed by people you never expected. Schillaci, Milla, Cannigia and Pleat who had a great tournament.

    But how amazing was Brehme, perhaps the most accomplished German LB ever? His 2-3 goals for the Germans were all crucial. Only Brazilian LBs score 3 goals in a WC, although Brehme's were all from set pieces. He scored the penalty that really was not (Voeller was one of the first masters of the new era of diving, even though a great player) in the final breaking the heart of the Argentinians who really were hard done by a bad decision.

  • Comment number 91.

    As a Villa fan I will always remember the 1990 World Cup as David Platt's World Cup. He is the forgotten man next to the child-like genius of Gazza, both then and now, but he had a great tournament. Once he came on against Belgium there was no looking back.

    I remember very well the lads in the office trying to volley tippex bottles into the bin for weeks after. Good times.

  • Comment number 92.

    ahh very good read. though i was much too young to remember italy1990 (born two years before) i can definitely relate to the pre world cup excitements of collection promo stickers and swapping them fervently with friends at school.

    france 1998 was definitely of my more memorable world cup memories.

  • Comment number 93.

    A real trip down memory lane... As a 1980 child italia '90 was my first world cup memory. I don't remember it being a boring tournament at all, I was just so excited to have so much football to watch as there was hardly any matches on the tele those days.
    The build up was brilliant too. On the Wirral the local police did 'cop cards' (similar to the sticker books these days) where you had to go and ask for one each week at the police station- very exciting for a nearlly ten year old!

    Cheers for the memories Stevo

  • Comment number 94.


    nop dont know that one

  • Comment number 95.

    Great evocative article, I was ten and it was my first. From the Platt goal against Belgium to Waddle’s penalty miss I think I hit a peak of intensity and excitement that hasn’t been beaten since, and because of my age now, probably never can be. Remember how you felt when Gary Lineker puts his two arms in the air and looks to the sky after the equalizer against Germany. Pretty good… 1-1 after 80 minutes and the winner of this game is favourite in the final….for some minutes after that, anything was possible…but in the end, only tears.

    England had a what might have been semi final and Argentina had refereeing decisions against them in the final but the truth is neither team deserved the trophy based on overall performance in the tournament. For me, Italy and Germany were the two best teams in the tournament by a distance.

    To this day I could tell you the score of any match you want in that tournament, it is all etched on my brain. I can tell you off the top of my head without pausing for thought that my team of the tournament was 1 Goycochea (Arg) 2 Bergomi (Ita) 3 Brehme (Ger) 4 Walker (Eng) 5 Baresi (Ita) 6 Matthaus (Ger) 7 Gascoigne (Eng) 8 Stoykovic (Yugoslavia) 9 Schillaci (Ita) 10 Milla (Cam) 11 Scifo (Bel) That midfield has never been bettered in any world cup since by the way.

    The Belgiums are right in that team probably edged England for quality, and they did hit the post twice, but there argument that they deserved to win it not correct. It would be, if it wasn’t for John Barnes having a perfectly good goal disallowed.

    And let’s not forget MARADONA HANDLED THE BALL AGAIN to save Argentina in the group stage against the USSR. The hand of God 2 on his own goal line which seems is in danger of not making the history books at all.

    Great post retired no 6 by the way.

    “the priest was subject to language normally reserved for losing a limb or finding out that the local had run out of Guinness on 17 th March......”hahaha, funny

    “I remember a clip on TV of a witch doctor predicting a 2-0 win for the impressive Cameroon. And of course it was 2-0 after a short period of time in the first half,”
    No Platt opened the scoring before they later went 2-1 up

  • Comment number 96.

    The sound track to this world cup was awesome and remains with me to this day.

    It's still a mystery how Agentina made it to the final - They managed to scrape through on penalties.

  • Comment number 97.

    58 - Duncan: The vuvuzelas are not stage-managed. How's your mind?

  • Comment number 98.

    "And let’s not forget MARADONA HANDLED THE BALL AGAIN to save Argentina in the group stage against the USSR."


    Well, we'll see if Michael Owen's cheating against Argentina in consecutive World Cups (diving for penalties in 1998 and 2002) is remembered in the history books.

    I suppose it depends on who is writing them... embittered Englishmen, or an impartial observer.

  • Comment number 99.

    @98 I'm not proud of what appeared to be diving by Michael Owen, but I think it's a pretty safe bet that most strikers in world football are pretty economical with the truth when it comes to challenges in the box. I mean, just look at Ortega's dramatic plunge in the same match that earned Argentina their non-existent pen. If you're suggesting that this kind of thing needs stamping out, then I'm with you. However, as for the 'history books' printing this as 'fact', then I think you're hopelessly optimistic - apart from anything else, it was never proven.

    Maradona's handball, on the other hand - along with Thierry Henry's vs Ireland a few months back - was far more blatant a piece of deception than the odd penalty box tumble. My opinion is that, these days, this is how players behave: however, I'd place the blame in both cases largely with the referees who somehow managed to miss what billions across the world spotted immediately.

    Bring on video evidence. Except, of course, that'll never happen.

  • Comment number 100.

    The standard of football didn't match that of the Mexico'86 WC but it had many similarities not least the same two protagonists in the final - Argentina v W. Germany...had a very slow start made by England which rapidly grew in hope and hype but ended in the same usual despair.

    Argentina took on the 'no-one likes us but we don't care role', even managing to lose their shock opener to Cameroon and taking the full might of referees' red-cards and penalties to finally strip them of their crown. A new world was set to dawn in Europe - it would be the last we saw of West Germany and Yugoslavia in their familiar guises.
    Pavarotti ushered in the new era of football fashionistas and hinted that the money classes were sitting up and taking notice. Things wouldn't be the same again.


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