PARIS, May 7 – The 1990 World Cup witnessed the lowest goals-per-game average, a deluge of sendings-off and arguably the worst final ever seen.Just 115 goals were scored from 52 games at an average of 2.21 per game. There were 16 red cards and 164 bookings at an average of 3.46 per match, another record.
In addition penalty shootouts were routine — four in total — including both semi-finals. Argentina advanced at the expense of Italy and West Germany beat England.
Appropriately it was a penalty, by Andreas Brehme for the Germans, that decided a sorry final which included two sendings off for the Argentines. It was West Germany’s third World Cup win.
Argentina’s performance was typical of the tournament. They reached the final despite winning only two games and scoring five goals in total. Maradona finished the final in tears.
Cameroon, inspired by the veteran Roger Milla, reached the quarter-finals, while the unheralded Toto Schillaci hit six goals for Italy to finish top scorer.
Adding to everyone’s woes were the hooligans. Some 300 were expelled by the Italian police with England fans prominent in several ugly brawls which nonethless weren’t as bad as had been feared before the finals.
1990 WORLD CUP LEGENDS
Germany: b. 1961
Captain and midfield general behind West Germany’s success at Italia 90. The archetypal German footballer, combining power, pace and skill with a ruthless eye for goal.
Scored brilliant individual goal against Yugoslavia and added three more as West Germany deservedly lifted the trophy in 1990.
England fans will remember his sporting arm around the shoulder of Chris Waddle after the latter’s penalty miss gave West Germany victory in a thrilling semi-final shootout.
Was also in the West Germany side that reached the 1986 final — his goal saw off Morocco in the second round — and was captain again at USA 94.
In total he played in five World Cups — more than other outfield player — and holds the record for World Cup matches played (25).
Enjoyed great success with Bayern Munich and Inter Milan, though his return to Bayern Munich was marred by off-field clashes with team-mates and officials. He retired shortly after Germany’s poor showing in Euro 2000, with a record 150 caps and 23 goals.
Germany: b. 1964
Blond striker who proved West Germany’s key attacker throughout the 1990s. Strong both in the air and on the ground, with searing pace and immense courage.
Earned reputation for diving earlier in his career, but won over many of his English critics during a hugely successful if short spell with Tottenham in 1994-95.
He flicked in a clinical winner in a quarter-final grudge match against Holland in 1990, and was a constant menace throughout for opposing defences.
Scored five goals in as many games for Germany at USA 94, and inherited captaincy from Lothar Matthaus, which he retained for his country’s victorious Euro 96 campaign.
Retired from international football after the 1998 World Cup and settled in the United States. Klinsmann was appointed coach of the German national team in 2004 and guided his homeland to third place at the 2006 finals.
Cameroon: b. 1952
Aged 38, he had a stunning impact on the 1990 finals in Italy, catching the eye as much for his celebratory tangos with the corner flag as for his goalscoring exploits.
Having made some 80 appearances for his country, Milla was persuaded out of retirement for Italia 90 and promptly helped Cameroon become the first African country to reach the quarter-finals.
He purportedly changed his name to Milla from Miller because he thought it sounded more African.
Milla’s opportunism saw him score four times, twice each against Romania and Colombia respectively, in the process becoming the oldest player to score in the World Cup finals.
Incredibly, he bettered that feat in the 1994 finals when, aged 42, he came on as a substitute to score against Russia in a 6-1 defeat.
1990 WORLD CUP TOP SCORERS
Salvatore Schillaci (ITA) 6
Thomas Skuhravy (CZE) 5
Gary Lineker (ENG) 4
Michel (ESP) 4
Roger Milla (CMR) 4
Lothar Matthaus (FRG) 4
1990 WORLD CUP TRIVIA
– Chile were banned after goalkeeper Robert Rojas pretended he had been struck by a flare thrown from the crowd during a qualifying match against Brazil.
Chile, who needed to win 2-0 to qualify, were losing 1-0 with 20 minutes left when the incident occurred, and Chile’s players refused to play on.
– As in 1982, holders Argentina were beaten in their opening game. This time they lost 1-0 to Cameroon when goalkeeper Nery Pumpido fumbled a leaping header from Omam Biyick. The Africans also had two men sent off.
– Cameroon’s Russian coach Valeri Nepomniaschi was unable to communicate with his team without use of an interpreter. It didn’t stop the Africans marching into the quarter-finals.
– United Arab Emirates’ Khaleel Mubarak became the 50th player to be sent off in World Cup finals when given his marching orders in the 4-1 defeat to Yugoslavia.
– Cameroon’s Roger Milla, at 38, was the surprise find of the tournament, but even he needed a helping hand in the second round from Colombia’s madcap goalkeeper Rene Higuita.
In George Best mode, Higuita tried to dribble over the half-way line but lost the ball to Milla who rolled the ball gleefully into the empty net.
– Blubbing Paul Gascoigne was England’s star as they marched into the semi-finals. There an ill-timed tackle against West Germany meant he was out of the final — if England reached it — and Gazza burst into tears at the prospect.
– Another sobbing superstar was the hero of 1986, Diego Maradona. He led an ultra-negative Argentina side into the final despite scoring only five goals and winning two games.
When they had two players sent off in losing the final to West Germany, Maradona wept unashamedly.
– Toto Schillaci followed in the footsteps of Paolo Rossi in 1982 when he emerged as Italy’s unexpected goal hero. The feisty little Sicilian was the last player named in the Italian squad, but finished top scorer with six strikes.
– The finals produced the the lowest goals-per-game average ever — just 2.21. There were 16 red cards and 164 bookings at an average of 3.46 per match, another record.
– Penalty shootouts peppered the finals — there were four in total, with both semi-finals decided this way for the first time.
1990 WORLD CUP WINNING SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Raimond Aumann, Bodo Illgner, Andreas Kopke
Defenders: Klaus Augenthaler, Thomas Berthold, Andreas Brehme, Guido Buchwald, Jurgen Kohler, Hans Pflugler, Stefan Reuter, Paul Steiner
Midfielders: Uwe Bein, Pierre Littbarski, Lothar Matthaus (capt), Thomas Hassler, Gunther Hermann, Andreas Moller, Olaf Thon
Forwards: Jurgen Klinsmann, Franck Mill, Karlheinz Riedle, Rudi Voller
Coach: Franz Beckenbauer