History of Football: FIFA World Cup - 1990

The fourteenth FIFA football World Cup tournament took place in Italy from 8th June to 8th July 1990. The tournament was hosted by Italy for the second time – after doing so first in 1934 – and they thus became the second country to do so after Mexico in 1986. Known as ‘Italia ’90′ these were the first World Cup finals to be officially recorded and transmitted in HDTV.

The tournament was won by West Germany who beat Argentina 1.0. to claim their third World Cup title and in their last tournament before reunification later that year. The final was a rematch of the previous final in 1986. This is the only occasion when the same two teams have contested consecutive finals and the first time that the same two teams have played each twice in World Cup Finals (the only other occasion in World Cup finals history was when Brazil and Italy met in 1994 having first contested Final in 1970). Argentina lost their second World Cup Final, having lost their first in the first World Cup of 1930.

The 1990 World Cup generated a record low goals-per-game average of just 2.21. Following the tournament, the back-pass rule was introduced in 1992 to discourage time-wasting and overly defensive play, and FIFA also changed the number of points awarded for victory from two to three – to encourage more attacking play. The drawing of Lots was introduced here for the first time to separate teams with identical records in the group stage.

Cameroon, who beat the then reigning champions and eventual 1990 finalists, Argentina, in the opening game of the tournament went on to reach the quarter-finals where they were narrowly beaten by England. At the time this was the best performance of any African nation at a World Cup. The Republic of Ireland, meanwhile, also reached the last eight without winning a match (other than on penalties), scoring just two goals on the way.

David Platt scored the latest ever goal during a World Cup finals match – after 119 minutes – in England’s second round match against Belgium, while West Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer became the first man to win the World Cup as both a captain (1974) and coach.

Walter Zenga of hosts, Italy, set a new World Cup record for a goalkeeper by keeping five clean sheets and going 517 minutes unbeaten in the process.

The final was held at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on 8th July, 1990 in front of a crowd of 73,603. West Germany beat Argentina 1.0. West Germany’s scorer was Andreas “Andy” Brehme with a penalty in the 85th minute. This was the first and only World Cup final to be settled by a single penalty kick in normal time. It was also the first World Cup Final in which a player - Argentina’s Pedro Monzon – was sent off; 22 minutes later his team-mate Gustavo Dezotti was also sent off. So, not only did Argentina become the first team in a World Cup final to have two players sent off, they also became the first team in a World Cup Final not to score.

The Golden Boot (‘adidas Golden Shoe’ from 1982 until 2006) award for most goals scored in the tournament was won by Salvatore Schillaci of Italy (known as “Totò”), capped only once before the finals, with six goals.

Winners: West Germany

Runners-up: Argentina

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