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When Italia 90 came about I was in Std 6.I remember coming back from mads and wathching the World Cup finally on TV.It was the first World Cup ever to be televised in South Africa.
And there was hype everywhere. Roberto Baggio at the time the most expensive footballer in the World, The German kit,Lothar Mattheaus and of course Bobby Robson.
The heritage of this blog obviously centres around the community,family and friends and how fitting to say that it was because of one man that we had the privilege of seeing the greatest footballing spectacle in the World on our TV’s. It was Abdool Bhamjee that brought Italia 90 to our Boxes. His charisma,drive and determination at the time enabled many of us to watch the greatest players in the world on TV for the first ever time.
With the World Cup in Europe the timing was even better.
And Italy were strong and so were England. The World Cup boasted great names, Baresi,Baggio,Klinsman, Gullit,Mattheas,Klinsman,Maradona,Milla…..and many more..I leave the rest to Galactico but on behalf of Swoosh0018.Thank you Abdool Bhamjee for bringing Italia 90.
Another moment important to the blog is the THEORY OF THE ITALIA 90 Comentator.It was the black guy on TV…That used to talk really slow….and his theory was …..
Sweden beat Germany….But Germany won the World Cup….but Bafana beat Sweden…So that means Bafana are better than Germany



ITALY 1990

Italy were chosen by FIFA to host the 1990 World Cup. Italy became only the 2nd nation to host the World Cup for the 2nd following on from Mexico. Italy’s first time as hosts was pre World War II in 1934.

The format for the 1990 competition remained the same with 24 teams qualifying separated into 6 groups of 4 where the top 2 teams qualified automatically for the 2nd round as well as the 4 best 3rd placed team. The knockout phase included the Round of 16, Quarter finals, Semi-finals & Finals.

In qualification 2 disqualifications took place. Mexico were disqualified after they fielded an Overage player in a Youth Tournament, and Chile were disqualified from both the qualifiers in 1990 and the 1994 World Cup to follow as their goalkeeper Roberto Rojas faked an injury in a match against Brazil where a firework was thrown from the stands. The match was abandoned.

The official mascot for Italia 90 was “Ciao” a stick figure with a football head and an Italian Tricolour as it’s body.

The official ball used at Italia 90 was the Adidas Etrvsco.

Italy being chosen as hosts for the FIFA World Cup was definitely a good selection by FIFA as many of the stars at the FIFA World Cup were playing their club football in Italy. Infact the Italian Serie A was probably the best domestic football league at the time.
Italia 90 was to be a World Cup that promised a lot. The Mighty Germans led by Lothar Matthaus and with fullback Brehme & star striker Jurgen Klinsman who were finalist in 1986 were playing their club football for Internazionale, while the Red Half of Milan was dominated by the Mighty Dutch Trio of Gullit, Rijkaard & Van Basten instrumental in the Dutch’s Euro 88 success. Diego Maradona star of the 1986 World Cup and the Greatest Player in The World was at the forefront of success for Napoli along with Brazilian striker Careca. The majority of all the potential stars at the Italia 90 World Cup were playing their club football in Italy, creating a much greater atmosphere.

Group A
Group A featured hosts Italy who advanced to the next phase by winning all 3 of their games, 1-0 against Austria, 1-0 against USA and 2-0 against Czechoslovakia paying more attention to defence then attack. Surprise Substitute Salvatore Schillaci, who played only 1 international before the World Cup, scored the winner against Austria as well as the 1st goal against Czechoslovakia. The Czechs were rampant in their first game blasting USA 5-1. they followed that up with a 1-0 victory over Austria to join the Italians in the next round.

Group B
Defending Champions Argentina with the Magical Maradona began the tournament against Cameroon. In one of the greatest upsets ever Cameroon’s Omam-Biyik headed home the winner for Cameroon who were reduced to 10 men just before Omam Biyik scored the winner. Cameroon were later reduced to 9 men but held on to cause one of the greatest upsets ever. Defending champions Argentina once again lost their opening match as Champions as they did to Belgium in 1982.


Argentina recovered to beat the USSR 2-0. Cameroon gained strength from their victory over the World Champs and beat Romania 2-1 with 38 year old Hero Roger Milla scoring both goals. Milla was controversially selected for the team because of Cameroon’s President Paul Biya insisting he be selected. Romania who beat USSR in their opening game drew with Argentina in the final game for both to qualify, Romania 2nd and Argentina as one of the best 3rd place teams. Although Cameroon were hammered 4-0 by the USSR they still qualified top of the group and the USSR were eliminated. This would be the last ever match played by the USSR as a unit at the FIFA World Cup due to the political split up into many different nations. Cameroon became the only nation to win their group and have a negative goal difference as a result of this hiding against USSR.

Group C
Brazil, as always are one of the favourites for the tournament, and definitely the favourite for the Group. Brazil were successful with 3 wins out of 3, a 2-1 win over Sweden with Careca scoring a brace and two 1-0 victories over Scotland and 1st timers Costa Rica with Muller scoring the winner in both games. Brazil had qualified for the next round with a 100% record but were not as impressive as the Brazil of before. Costa Rica in their first ever World Cup also produced a surprise by qualifying ahead of both European teams Scotland and Sweden beating the Scots 1-0 and the Swedes 2-1 to join Brazil in the next round.

Group D
West Germany, beaten finalists in the last 2 World Cups were looking to go one better here at Italia 90. Led by Captain and Midfield Dynamo Lothar Matthaus they got off to a flying start with a 4-1 thumping of Yugoslavia with Matthaus scoring twice and a 5-1 hammering of debutants United Arab Emirates with Rudi Voeller scoring twice as well as Klinsman and Matthaus getting on the score sheet. Columbia beat the UAE 2-0 in their opener but Yugoslavia fought back after their thumping by the Germans to beat Columbia 1-0 and the UAE 4-1 to qualify 2nd behind the Germans. Needing a draw to qualify for the next round Columbia were looking good as the score after 88 minutes was 0-0. However Littbasrky gave Germany the lead in the 89th minute only for Rincon of Columbia to equalise almost immediately. That last minute goal was enough to send Columbia through as a best placed 3rd team along with Yugoslavia and West Germany.

Group E
Spain with the talents of Zubizaretta in goal and Michel and Butragueno in attack began with a goalless draw against Uruguay but then beat Korea 3-1 thanks to a Michel hatrick and Belgium 2-1 to qualify top of Group E. Belgium beat Korea 2-1 and Uruguay 3-1 to qualify 2nd behind Spain. Uruguay who held Spain beat Korea 1-0 to qualify as a best placed 3rd team.

Group F
Group F was probably the Group of Death in the 1990 World Cup featuring reigning European Champions the Netherlands who were among the favourites to win the World Cup with the likes of Gullit, Van Basten, Rijkaard & Koeman. England possessed the talents of 86 top goalscorer Gary Lineker and star playmaker Paul Gascoigne along with defensive rock Stuart Pearce. The Republic of Ireland in their 1st ever World Cup had the likes of John Aldridge while the Egyptians had star striker Hossam Hassan. Both the 1st set of games ended in 1-1 draws between England and Ireland and the Netherlands and Egypt. The 2nd round of games both ended goalless leaving all 4 teams on equal points and equal goal difference going into the final game. The Netherlands took the lead against Ireland through Gullit but Quinn equalised late in the 2nd half. England beat Egypt 1-0 to qualify top of the Group while Ireland beat Netherlands into 2nd place by virtue of a toss of a coin as both teams were on equal points as well as identical goal differences.

Round of 16
Cameroon who caused one of the great upsets of the World Cup were out to prove it was no fluke as they beat Columbia 2-1 thanks to ageing hero Roger Milla once again scoring both goals. Milla took his tally for the tournament to 4 and became the oldest goal scorer at the FIFA World Cup and Cameroon became the first ever African team to reach the quarterfinals.

Milla’s 2nd goal was somewhat a gift from Columbia as flamboyant Columbian keeper Rene Higuita well known for his attacking ability as much his goalkeeping was dispossessed by Cameroon & Milla in midfield before Milla converted into an empty goal to give Cameroon the win.

Both Cameroon & Columbia were perhaps the most entertaining teams of Italia 90, with the likes of Roger Milla the ageing Cameroonian goalscorer, the wacky Columbia keeper Rene Higuita and the talented Carlos Valderama in both football and hairstyles not forgetting their passionate fans most notably their famous bird man.

Czechoslovakia blasted Costa Rica 4-1 with Thomas Skuhravy scoring a hatrick. Republic of Ireland and Romania played out to a goalless draw and won the penalty shoot out 5-4 with Timofte of Romania missing the last penalty. Italy beat Uruguay 2-0 with Schillaci Italy’s new star striker once again getting onto the score sheet. Yugoslavia beat the Spaniards 2-1 with Stojkovic scoring both goals and England beat Belgium 1-0 with an extra time winner from David Platt which meant goalkeeper Peter Shilton kept his 10th clean sheet at the FIFA World Cup which is a record he still has today.

In what was undoubtedly the 2 ties of the round, Argentina faced Brazil in the Clash of the South Americans while West Germany faced the mighty Dutch who had re-found their total football spirit of the 70’s. A late Claduio Cannigia strike was enough for Argentina to beat the Brazilians in a very nervous game. Diego Maradona’s brilliant run through the Brazilian defence set up the winner. Reserve goalkeeper for Argentina Goycochea was brilliant in keeping the Brazilians out.

The rematch of both the 1974 World Cup Final and the Euro 88 Semi-Final between West Germany & Netherlands was to be a cracker. However early on in the game both Rudi Voeller of Germany & Frank Rijkaard of Netherlands were sent off in an infamous moment of bizarre spitting by the 2 of them. Jurgen Klinsman & Andreas Brehme helped West Germany beat the Dutch 2-1 and once again End Total Football.
Defending Champions Argentina & Diego Maradona were no where near their performances of Mexico 86. In the quarterfinals against Yugoslavia, Reserve Goalkeeper Sergio Goycochea was Argentina’s new hero as the game ended goalless after extra time. In the penalty shoot out, although the great Diego Maradona’s penalty was saved by Ivkovic and Troglio missed his, Hero Goycochea saved both of Yugoslavia’s last 2 kicks to help Argentina win the shootout 3-2.
Italy, well Italy, continued in the same predictable fashion without conceding again and who else but Toto Schillaci scoring the winner. A Lothar Matthaus penalty was enough to win the quarterfinal tie for West Germany against Czechoslovakia. In perhaps the most entertaining quarterfinal of the lot England faced up against surprise package and undoubtedly most entertaining and colourful team of the tournament, Cameroon. England took an early lead through David Platt, but the spirited Cameroonians would not give up so easily and their persistence paid off with a penalty in the 2nd half which was converted by Kunde before Ekeke gave them the lead just 4 minutes later. With just 6 minutes to go Cameroon conceded a penalty for Gary Lineker to step up and equalise and take the game to extra time. In extra time Cameroon once again gave away another penalty and Lineker once again converted from the spot to take England through to the semi-finals for the first time since 1966 when they won the competition.

The 1st semi-final featured defending champions Argentina who had come back from their surprise loss to Cameroon in the opening game versus hosts Italy. However Maradona & Argentina were far from the brilliant team of 4 years ago. Italy on the other hand had not conceded a single goal throughout the tournament. Walter Zenga had broken the record for most minutes played without conceding a goal. Before the game even started Maradona stirred up the Italian fans and players by commenting that the public of Naples, Maradona’s club fans, should support him & Argentina rather than the Italians. The game was played at Napoli’s San Paolo stadium, Maradona’s home ground. Would this statement and Napoli’s support for Maradona work in favour of Argentina. Once again it was Italy’s surprise hero Schilachi who gave them the lead. In the 2nd half however Cannigia equalised for Argentina and thus ended Zenga & Italy’s run of not conceding for 517 minutes in total. Cannigia received a Yellow Card and thus missed the finals as he picked up a yellow card in one of the Group Games. This rule would be changed for future World Cups as any yellow cards received in the Group phase would be wiped clean for the knockout phase. In extra time Argentina were reduced to 10 men as Giusti was sent off but held on to take the game to penalties. Referee Vautrot forgot about the time and added on 8 minutes extra at the end of the first period of extra time. The penalty shoot out resulted in both the Italians & Argentina scoring their first 3 penalties each. Donadoni missed Italy’s 4th penalty. Up stepped Maradona who had missed his penalty in the shoot out against Yugoslavia but this time scored. Serena missed Italy’s final penalty and handed Argentina their 2nd consecutive final appearance with Maradona scoring the winning penalty.

The 2nd semi-finals matched up a strong West German side against an equally strong English side. Andreas Brehme gave Germany the lead with a beautiful free kick. With just 10 minutes of normal time to go once again Lineker popped up to equalise for England and score his 10th goal in total at the FIFA World Cup following his 6 from Mexico 86. In extra time England’s star playmaker Paul Gascoigne received a yellow card which meant that he would miss the final if England made it. This resulted in him breaking out into tears. In the penalty shootout England and West Germany both converted their first 3 spot kicks each. Stuart Pearce stepped up to take his kick and missed while Olaf Thon scored for Germany. Chris Waddle had to score to give England any chance but he missed and West Germany were in the final.

Third Place Playoff
Hosts Italy beat England 2-1 in the 3rd place playoff with Baggio scoring the 1st goal and Schillaci scoring the winner from the penalty spot. This was Schillaci’s 6th goal which would make him the tournaments leading scorer. Schillaci also won the Golden Ball for the Best Player of the Tournament.

The finals to be played at the Stadio Olympico in Rome was as in Mexico 1986, 4 years ago, to be contested by Argentina & West Germany. This was the first time that both teams reached the final to face each other in consecutive World Cups. West Germany had also become the first team to reach 3 consecutive finals. Diego Maradona & Argentina were worthy winners 4 years ago. Having survived many a scare they reached the final once again to take on the solid Germans led by Captain Lothar Matthaus in Midfield. Jugren Klinsman & Rudi Voeller upfront were a lethal combination, while Brehme, Kohl & Augenthaler were solid in defence and coached by Football Legend Franz Beckenbauer.

West Germany won the game with a late Andreas Brehme penalty. Argentina’s Pedro Monzon became the first player ever to be sent off in a FIFA World Cup Final while his teammate Dezotti followed just before the end. 9 Men Argentina & Maradona were left in tears as Matthaus & West Germany won their 3rd FIFA World Cup. The 1-0 score-line made Argentina the first team ever to not score in a World Cup Final.

West Germany had won their 3rd World Cup Title. Franz Beckenbauer had become the first person to win the World Cup as both Captain & Coach.

Although the final itself as well as Italia 90 as a tournament produced a record low average goals per game, and lacked the flair and attacking play of previous World Cups, there was some fair share of drama and memories in terms of rivalry matches and other incidents as well as its own heroes in Schillaci & Roger Milla, 2 players who did not expect to feature at all. All in all though Italia 90 was not one of the greatest football spectacles of the FIFA World Cup.


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