From June 8 to July 8, the 14th World Cup was held in Italy. A total of 116 national teams competed in the qualification process, with 24 qualifying for the FIFA World Cup final, including the automatically qualified host team (Italy) and the defending champions (Argentina). Costa Rica, the Republic of Ireland, and the United Arab Emirates were among the first countries to participate.
As Italy was selected to host the World Cup for the second time in 1984, the Soviet Union was the only other contender (after England and Greece withdrew).
One of the topics that dominated the discussions leading up to the event was England supporters, who included hooligans and could be a risk factor. It’s unclear if the fact that England’s matches were set to be played in Sardinia was a coincidence or not, but several people were relieved.
The back pass was abolished, and was added into the game to support a more offensive mindset. Another new feature was a stricter ruling against tackles from behind, which could now result in a red card.
The format included a group phase of six teams (two teams from each group and four third-placed teams qualified to the knockout phase), followed by a knockout phase.
Cities and arenas
Twelve stadiums in twelve Italian cities hosted the 1990 World Cup. In terms of size, the Stadio Olimpico in Rome was the closest, and it would also be the site of the final.
Argentina, the 1986 champions, will be defeated in the first round after losing to Cameroon. Argentina was able to qualify from their division by the tiniest of margins and would go on to take two penalty shootouts on their way to the final (much owing to Sergio Goycochea, a goalkeeper specialised on penalties).
Cameroon qualified to the World Cup Quarterfinals, securing the best result ever for an African team in the competition. In a thrilling contest, they were defeated by England. England nearly advanced to their second World Cup final since defeating the African sensation, but an unfortunate penalty shootout in the semifinal ended the hope.
Instead, West Germany, led by players including Lothar Matthäus, Jürgen Klinsmann, and Andreas Brehme, will reach another final.
By winning their group and also winning one of the tournament’s most memorable games, West Germany had inspired more than their final opponents. The match between West Germany and the Netherlands can also be recalled for Frank Rijkaard’s spit on Rudi Voller. West Germany deservedly won after Rijkaard was sent off and Marco van Basten and Ruud Gullit underperformed.
The final was not very exciting. Argentina, who were without their key striker Claudio Caniggia, were defensive and rugged in their play. As a result, Pedro Monzón and Gustavo Dezotti became the first players in World Cup history to be sent off in the final.
From the group stage, Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Yugoslavia, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Italy, Uruguay, Czechoslovakia, Costa Rica, West Germany, Netherlands, Cameroon, Colombia, England, and Belgium will advance.
In the Round of 16, Argentina, Yugoslavia, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Czechoslovakia, West Germany, Cameroon, and England will all win.
Argentina, Italy, West Germany, and England will all advance to the semifinals.
In the semi-finals, Argentina will defeat Italy and West Germany would defeat England. The match for third place would be won by Italy, and West Germany would defeat Argentina in the final to become the new world champions.