Football in the 1990's
Football in the 1990s was, and is, probably what we are most familiar with. It was a period of World Cup history which brought very exciting World Cup final rounds as many more teams stated their claim on the coveted trophy and matches were mostly close and results depended more on strategy than skill. Again we can see the effect of the emphasis more on defence resulting in less goals and games won on the odd goal.
With the close competition, the 1990s still saw the emergence of Brazil as world number 1, with senior strikers such as Romario, Branco and Bebeto; defenders like Roberto Carlos (with his famous curling free-kicks); and playmakers with the likes of Dunga. Apart from that, the emergence of Ronaldo and Denilson, together with other talented youngsters have brought vibrance to the Brazilian team. In all, especially in the 1998 world cup finals held in Paris, teams like Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Italy, Holland, France, Spain and England all fielding strong teams, having high expectations.
The 1990's also continued the shift to a more fast-paced game of football, with work-rate coming into greater importance. The world cup was made an even bigger event with television live telecasts becoming more common and easily available.
1990 World Cup 1994 World Cup 1998 World Cup
1990 World Cup
The 1990 World Cup was held in Italy. Intense Competition saw the two teams, Argentina and Germany meet together in a horrible final, after having both got into the most unconvincing of fashions, penalties. In the end it was Germany who took back what it had lost to Argentina 4 years before in 1986, winning by the odd penalty in a very ill-tempered match which saw more than one red card.
Argentina 0-1 Germany FR (0-0)
Referee: E. Codesal (Mexico)
Germany FR: Brehme (1)-penalty
Argentina: Goycochea; Simon, Ruggeri (Monzon), Serrizuela, Sensini, Burruchaga (Calderon)
Troglio, Basualdo, Lorenzo, Dezotti, Maradona (captain)
Germany FR: Illgner; Augenthaler; Buchwald, Kohler, Berthold (Reuter), Hässler
Matthäus (captain), Littbarski, Brehme, Völler, Klinsmann
Third Place Match
Italy - England: 2-1
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The 1994 World Cup
The world cup of 1994 was won by the Brazilians, who claimed their fourth title, and their first since the 1970's. It was hosted by the USA for the first time, and was another colourful event in itself. We remember Argentina for its impressive performance in the first round with the return of the great Maradona, and their early and disappointing exit after Maradona got caught and banned from the competition after testing positive for drugs. The final was a thriller in a way, but a boring issue in another. Again the emphasis on defence (especially for such an important match), was clearly illustrated as the two teams battled and stalled a whole 120 mins without a goal. Goalless matches are normally boring, but world cup finals decided on penalties are always a thrilling (and cruel) affair. In the end, it was a fatigued Roberto Baggio, Italy's own hero, the sort who would score penalties 9 out of 10 times, cracked under pressure and ballooned his crucial penalty to send Brazil into ecstasy.
Brazil 3-2 Italy (0-0), second half (0-0), after extra-time (0-0), (penalty kicks)
Stadium: Pasadena Rosebowl
Referee: S. Puhl (Hungary)
Brazil: Marcio Santos (0-0)-saved, Romario (1-1), Branco (2-2), Dunga (3-2)
Italy: Baresi (0-0)-missed, Albertini (0-1), Evani (1-2), Massaro (2-2)-saved
Baggio R. (3-2)-missed
Brazil: Taffarel; Jorginho (Cafu), Aldair, Marcio Santos, Branco, Mazinho
Mauro Silva; Dunga (captain), Zinho (Viola), Romario, Bebeto
Italy: Pagliuca; Mussi (Apolloni), Baresi, Maldini, Benarrivo; Berti (Evani)
Albertini, Baggio D., Donadoni, Baggio R., Massaro
Third Place Match
Sweden - Bulgaria: 4-0
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The 1998 World Cup
The 1998 world cup was held in France and saw the host nation winning the cup for the first time in history, after so many close disappointments in the past. Brazil was the team to look out for, coming as defending champions, with a team of veterans together with the introduction of the football prodigy and World Footballer of the Year Ronaldo. Other players included the young and talented Denilson. France too, were impressive, keeping clean sheets throughout the first round and finding the numbers in goals. In the end, the world cup final was a big letdown for Brazil and Ronaldo, who didnt even play the match due to fits resulting from the immense pressure put on him. The final was lost in the end to a better France on the day, by a flattering score of 3-0, the French playmaker Zidane putting in two of them through headers off corners. It was a really exciting world cup that had teams like Holland, Croatia, Argentina, Germany, England and Italy all performing impressively but going out eventually in close matches. Italy was knocked out of the world cup through penalties for the third time, this time to France, Holland managed to go all the way to the semi-finals, but got edged out narrowly to Brazil in a nail-biting semi-final and England going out to Argentina through penalties after surviving with only 10 men for over 45 mins. It was a world cup to remember.
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