The 1990 FIFA World Cup was the 14th FIFA World Cup….which is the quadrennial international football world championship tournament….as It was held from June 8 to July 8, 1990 in Italy….the second country to host the event twice (the first being Mexico in 1986)….as teams representing 116 national football associations entered, and qualification began in April 1988. A total of 22 teams qualified from this process along with host nation Italy and defending champion Argentina.
The tournament was won by West Germany….for their third World Cup title. They beat Argentina 1–0 in the final….a rematch of the previous final four years earlier…. with Italy finishing 3rd and England 4th….after both lost their semi-finals in penalty shootouts. This was the last tournament to feature a team from the divided Germany….with the country being reunified later in 1990.
The 1990 World Cup is widely regarded as one of the poorest World Cups….as It generated an average 2.21 goals per game….a record low that still stands….and a then-record 16 red cards….including the first ever dismissal in a final. This World Cup saw the introduction of the pre-match Fair Play Flag (then inscribed with “Fair Play Please”) to encourage fair play….as negative tactics led to the introduction of the back-pass rule in 1992….and three points for a win instead of two at future World Cups.
Nonetheless, the 1990 World Cup stands as one of the most watched events in television history, garnering an estimated 26.69 million non-unique viewers over the course of the tournament….as this was the first World Cup to be officially recorded and transmitted in HDTV by the Italian broadcaster RAI in association with Japan’s NHK….as the telecast seen herewith was covered by the Spanish speaking channel Univision. At the time it was the most watched World Cup in history in non-unique viewers….but was bettered by the 1994 and 2002 World Cups.
The emergence of Cameroon as a team to be reconned with was evidenced by their reaching the quarter-finals….where they were narrowly defeated by England. As seen in this video….Cameroon opened the tournament with a shocking victory over reigning champions Argentina in Group play….as seen in this video below… then ended up topping the group ahead of both the reigning World Cup champion and the European champions runners-up squad of the Soviet Union. Their success was fired by the goals of Roger Milla…. who was a 38-year-old forward that came out of international retirement to join the national squad at the last moment after a personal request from Cameroonian President Paul Biya….as Milla’s four goals and flamboyant goal celebrations made him one of the tournament’s biggest stars….as well as taking Cameroon to the last eight. Most of Cameroon’s squad was made up of players who played in France’s premier football league, Ligue 1, where French is one of the officially spoken languages in Cameroon after it being a former French territory. In reaching this stage of this 1990 World Cup….they had gone further than any African nation had ever managed in a World Cup play before….a feat which has only been equalled twice since….by Senegal in 2002 and Ghana in 2010. Their success was African football’s biggest yet on the world stage, and FIFA subsequently decided to allocate the CAF qualifying zone an additional place for the next World Cup tournament.
This was an exciting match that is well worth watching again for any fan of futbol.