Italia 1990 | A History Of The World Cup
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Italia 1990 | A History Of The World Cup

October 12, 2019


Italia ’90 is a world cup which holds a special place in the hearts of a generation of English football fans. It is not so much the fact that their team
scraped its way into a semi-final, but the broader significance that tournament, the
first which had been experienced as a real shared national event since 1966. England striker Gary Lineker, a golden boot
winner at Mexico ’86, and scorer of four goals at Italia ’90 said:
“It was a seminal moment almost, in terms of football in this country. Lots of different kinds of people got interested
in football, all different classes of people, I think it had a significant effect on the
growth of football.” It is remembered as much for the aria used by the BBC as the theme music for their coverage as it is for the goals. The romance of the near-miss, as England lost
to Germany on penalties, Paul Gascoigne’s tears, shed when he realised his semi-final
yellow card would rule him out of the final if England made it that far, and the sense
of a team growing with every game, all of these things captured the collective imagination
and paved the way for a decade in which football in England would change forever, with the advent of the Premier League and a huge uptick in glamour. But of course, theirs was not the only story
of Italia ’90. There were the hosts, semi-finalists themselves thanks to one-summer wonder Salvatore “Toto” Schilachi. This unheralded frontman finished the tournament as top-scorer with six, a feat no one would have predicted. He had been well-known in Italy before hand,
indeed in 1989 Juventus paid Messina £3 million for his services, but Italia ’90 was his true
moment in the sun. He only ever scored one more goal for Italy
once the tournament ended. Then there was the Republic of Ireland. In the Group stages, as Roddy Doyle put it
so eloquently in his 1991 novel The Van, they “beat England 1-1, lost to Egypt 0-0 and drew
with Holland 1-1.” That was enough to see them through—the
records show them finishing third in the group, but Holland and Ireland were only split by
the drawing of lots. Few expected the Irish to get past Romania
in the round of 16, but a 0-0 draw was followed by a famous penalty shoot-out win. And when they went out to Italy in the quarter
final only a single Schillachi goal separated them and the host nation. The eventual winners, West Germany, hardly
set the tournament alight. They blasted four goals past Yugoslavia and
five past the United Arab Emirates in their opening two games, but then managed to score
two goals in a game just once more en route to victory. They drew 1-1 in their final group game with
Colombia, managed a 2-1 win over arch-rivals Holland in the Round of 16, beat the Czech
Republic 1-0 in the quarter final, beat England on penalties in the semi after a 1-1 draw
then scraped past Argentina thanks to an Andreas Brehme penalty in one of the most boring,
scrappy, ill-tempered finals in living memory. Argentina themselves were a far cry from the
majestic Maradona inspired side of ’86. El Diego, and the team, were not at the peak
of their powers by this point. Their run to the final was as prosaic as West
Germany’s, and the fact that the title was contended between two sides who prized functionality
above glamour explains why the football is not necessarily remembered as making a classic
world cup. But the stories above speak to a more romantic
truth about Italia ’90. Italia ’90’s glory was the triumph of adversity, cruel defeats made for the most romantic stories of the tournament. And no one epitomised that more than Cameroon. Cameroon shook the world in 1990. While they did not make Pele’s infamous proclamation
that an African nation would win the World Cup by the year 2000 come true, they nonetheless
lit up the event. On 8th June they opened the tournament by beating eventual finalists Argentina 1-0 despite ending the game with 9 men. They beat Romania, ensuring qualification,
and indeed eventually topped their group. Their round-of-16 game with Colombia featured
two injury time goals from Roger Millla, whose hip-swaying dance celebration is one of the
tournament’s most iconic images. And while arrogant English scouts told manager
Bobby Robson they had been “handed a bye” in being drawn against Cameroon, the Indomitable
Lions came within seven minutes of knocking the Three Lions out in what finished 3-2 to
England after extra-time thanks to a couple of questionable penalty calls in Gary Lineker’s favour. Roger Milla dancing, Toto Schillachi celebrating,
Gazza crying and Ciao, the coolest mascot of all time, all played out to the strains
of Nessun Dorma. It’s no wonder that Italia ’90 was a cultural
milestone in football history.

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  1. It seems people didn't quite understand the sayings of this Doyle guy. What he meant was that drawing vs. England was as a win but drawing vs. Egypt was like a loss. Thus the "eloquently"

  2. Great video. Have often thought that Italia 90 was a hugely important cultural moment in English, and by extension, British culture.

  3. I support India. 1. Because I'm an Indian. 2. I believe that India has a lot to offer to world football. 3. I dream of the day India will win the world cup and I don't want it with the stupid extended format of WC that is being proposed. Merit should prevail. #umaxitgiveaway3

  4. Although there are some cultural importance for Britain and especially Germany and Italy, this is still the most boring World Cup ever. The games were so dull, boring and predictable and even being fan of defensive football, most teams were just cowards, trying to hold a 0-0 draw. The England games were very entertaining, though. Even the 0-0 draw with the dutch, had a very impressive perfomance by England. I remember the refferee wrongly disallowed a goal by Lineker.

  5. @umaxitfootball Chelsea FC has been the team that I always admire… I may have started following the game for one specific personality who fascinated me with his play in the Euro '08, Michael Ballack he was… But soon then when I realised that he was a Blue, I understood, this was my team… It's been a brilliant 8 years with the club and I'm sure a whole lot more fantabulous days are there for the coming… All in all, Stamford Bridge has now truly become a second home… A visit to the same 3 days back, couldn't have given me a better feeling…
    #umaxitgiveaway3

  6. I wish there was some tactical analysis on how football progressed in this era. however this video was fun to watch.

  7. This is why World Cup shouldn't go to Qatar or any country with no Football soul… There will never be the same atmosphere, the same shared passion…

  8. It's very interesting how each tournment is remembered differently depending on where you're from. Here in Brazil we seldom ever talk about it, and when we do it's usually when discussing which World Cup was the worst in history.

  9. I'm biased and I shouldn't be surprised, but no mention of the US qualifying for a WC for the first time since 1950? Or that they only lost 0-1 to Italy, who were heavy favorites in that match, after which the Italian fans gave a standing ovation for the US effort. I know the US aren't a 'sexy' football nation, but Italia 90 had a part in building the sport and the national team.

  10. Nice video but I have three points,

    1. This wasn't just the emergence of Cameroon but Romania beating Russia 2 0 was them announcing a golden generation of their own.

    2. Roger Mila copied his goal celebration from Careca two or three days earlier scoring against Sweden (am I really the only person in the world who noticed this?!)

    3. PM me, I'll give you my personal phone number. Next time you need to say an Italian name or place in an English accent I'll record it and send it to you on WhatsApp so you can get it right

    Great work guys, loving the podcast too

  11. I'm from germany, but have to admit that this was not a good tournament. Maybe the worst world cup by the quality of the games. Seems kind of strange to me why italia'90 is such a big thing in english cultural memory. Probably because it marked the end of the dark years after heysel'85.

  12. # Afc Wimbledon. there the greatest team ever. I remember my dad flying me and him over to games from Ireland every weekend. I love my dons COYD!!!!#umaxgiveaway3!

  13. Have you guys done a video on the creation of the Premier League? I'm not really that familiar with it besides the name of the league changed.

  14. This was the first World Cup I ever watched. I was 8 years old and the time and it sparked a love and passion for football that has spilled over into other sports. I can see that this tournament did not display the best football, but this video is on point about the moments and nuances that made this World Cup memorable. I can't wait to see the video about the 1994 World Cup. That tourney changed everything about soccer here in the USA.

  15. Italia 90 is sometimes credited as having served as the impetus for Ireland's economic success in the 1990s. True or not it was a seminal moment in our history. Italia 90 is such an evocative event for Irish people my age and older. We got knocked out by a Schillaci goal…even now he's a pantomime villian here! In fact he starred in a beer commercial here years later!

  16. Platt's goal against Belgium was the catalyst for England's story. 2 dour games against Ireland and Egypt sandwiching a 0-0 "destruction " of the Dutch.

    Then end to end stuff against the unlucky Belgians, Schifo hitting the post, England slowly gaining an edge, then a minute from penalties, Gazza's run, free kick, Platt pirouettes, Preud'Homme looking dejected, Lineker humping Platt in ecstasy while Butcher and Waddle had a disco with a silly dance with the fans.

    I fell in love with football again after that. 15 years old, and never looked back, except for an ill-fitting England top from Italia 90- that's rather tight for a fattening forty-something…

  17. Beckenbauer's decision to have Buchwald man-mark Diego was what decided the final. Buchwald man of the match for me.

    Schillaci looks like the Joker after cutting his face off and stitching it back on again, by the way.

  18. you forgot about "Un estate Italiana"…. you can ask any argentinian,, and they will remember this WC better tan 1930, 1978, 1986, and 2014…. this was the best

  19. Also Communism had fallen in the eastern European countries, so it was a joyful atmosphere around when the world cup came in 1990.

  20. Bad tournament, illustrated by the fact a negative and cynical Argentina side reached the final and a mediocre England side made the last four. The group stages were OK but once this World Cup went into knockout format it descended into tedium. Perhaps the first sign international football was in decline.

  21. This channel hates Germany so much that started with shitty Englane in WC1990, even they have mistaken the legendary German kit of 90 with 94 kit. and who give a fuck about Ireland ?

  22. only the English would think they were good in Italia 90.
    They were lucky to be in the SF and who care about the cray fat boy crying after the yellow card. It showed how selfish he was. The game is not finished yet. He didn't forus on the game but care about his own.

  23. Colombia vs. England would've been a CLASSIC Quarter Final – their different styles were perfect for entertainment (as had already been demonstrated in a 1988 friendly played at Wembley), Gascoigne vs. Valderrama would've been a fascinating rivalry… Unfortunately, the World Cup is THE tournament where the good games rarely ever happen.

    Unfortunately (for myself and I assume for the football purists whom were hoping to see a memorable experience), Cameroon won against Argentina, against Romania, and against Colombia, i.e., Cameroon's style of play was extremely efficient against playmaker-based national teams. Diego Maradona was the playmaker of Argentina, Gheorghe Hagi was the playmaker of Romania, and Carlos Valderrama was the playmaker of Colombia, and Cameroon was efficient when they played against national teams that offered an obvious target to destroy (defend against)… But when Cameroon played against playmaker-less Russia, without an obvious emblematic playmaker to nullify, Cameroon looked out of their depth and were thoroughly outclassed by an underrated Russia team.

    Moreover, England did better (against Cameroon) than the other playmaker-based national teams, in large part because Colombia largely ruined Cameroon's chances in the Quarter Finals, i.e., Cameroon lost 4 of their key players in the Round of 16, meaning that Cameroon had to use 4 of their B players for the Quarter Finals, against a full strength England team. And even then, England won the game in extra-time, and after the benefit of dubious Penalty Kicks.

    (Not to mention that England had a very different interpretation of what a 'playmaker' should be, e.g., England 1993 virtually didn't used Matthew Le Tissier in the World Cup Qualifiers, and England failed to qualify to the 1994 World Cup. Le Tissier would've been the untouchable playmaker of Argentina 1994 or even Brazil 1994, but England refused to even use him in the World Cup Qualifiers that led to the World Cupo that England failed to even qualify to. So England 1990 was a playmaker-based nation team in some sense, but it was a different interpretation to Argentina's, Romania's, and Colombia's. This difference in the philosophy or interpretation of what a 'playmaker' should be, arguably was a positive against a team like Cameroon 1990.)

    I think of World Cup 1990 as something of a tragedy, in terms of all the potential games that could've happened. Fans could've watched the Top 2 South American playmakers of the time Maradona vs. Valderrama (in what could've been a vintage Round of 16 match up), Gascoigne vs. Maradona, Gascoigne vs. Valderrama, Hagi vs. Valderrama, Hagi vs. Gascoigne, etc. Not that that would've totally salvaged what was considered to be a defensive and dull tournament, but it would've definitely livened up the tournament… Instead, Maradona was injured (and played with that injury) for most of the tournament, Valderrama was eliminated early by an underrated Cameroon team that was remarkably efficient against playmaker-based national teams, Brazil played without the 24 year old Romario (because he was out of form, after a leg-break traumatic injury kept him out of the pitch for 3-4 months), Netherlands' Van Basten looked out of form and/or out of inspiration, what could've been one of the all time great World Cup performances was cut short by an uninspiring West Germany team (I'm speaking about Gascoigne here), Uruguay had talented players but failed to play to their potential, etc. Overall, the typical World Cup experience, where most of what could've been great goes to shit rather quickly. Rinse and repeat for most of every other World Cup.

    .

  24. You also didnt mention Costa Rica reaching the round of 16 for the first time ever 😉 great time

  25. yah africa is a very unlucky continent when it comes to worl dup football.
    ironically the teams are so bad now, i definitely think it will take us atleast a 100 if not a 1000 years to see an african team win it.
    u think greece wining the euros was a shocker?
    the world will explode when an african team wins the world cup.
    which by then i must have been dead…… unfortunately. (sigh)

  26. This is a brilliant channel. Could you do a slot on the pressing game used by Republic of Ireland under Jack Charlton 1986-94, or even focusing on the Euro 88 team that secured their first ever qualification and was the spine of the Italia 90 team? It's lazily characterised as a long ball kick and rush style, but was more nuanced than that, it was certainly intended to get the ball into the opponent's half and give their creative players (Brady, Whelan, Houghton) more creative licence in the attacking third. Norway emulated this approach to some degree with their breakthrough teams of the 90s.

  27. it was a world cup before football became a business, the england team was full of players you could sit down and have a drink with, italia 90 was pure drama, it had everything, it had it's heros, it's villans, it's shocks, it's surprises, it was like an opera. i've never seen an atmosphere for a sporting event since, i remember strangers talking to eachother at bus stops, i remember the streets being empty, people rushing to get home, it was a classic world cup summer, it started out with the press writing the most hateful stuff imaginable about the england team, especially about gazza and sir bobby, and when they came home, they were giants, we'll never get back what we had at italia 90, now football has no personality, it's a bunch of overtrained overhyped players, world cups are now like friendly cups, no heart, no passion, football is dead.

  28. I'd forgotten why this was so fondly remembered by people by me, among all the grumpy old journalists of today (http://www.stadiumguide.com/the-unfortunate-legacy-of-italia-1990/). It's so obvious now that the video says so at the beginning – the rollercoaster of emotions as an England supporter (which I no longer am – I'm a passionate Welshman) and the heartbreak of losing the semi final on penalties. Plus even more than England I enjoyed seeing Argentina defy the odds and beat Italy behind enemy lines (even though I was shocked when Italy scored first). Maradona age 30 mirrored my 8-year old behaviour – took everything on the field so personally and would cry if he didn't succeed. Seeing him crying after losing to Argentina still upsets me today.

  29. Italy had a great team, I personally think superior to the 2006 and 1982. Damn, luck is such a factor in direct elimination.

  30. There was nothing controversial about the penalties England were awarded during the Cameroon match. Lineker was clattered twice.

    Cameroon sliced their way through like musketeers going forward, but swung like drunken cowboys at the back.

  31. Questionable penalties?! I'm Welsh but cmon dude M. They were stonewall penalties. If Cameroon could defend they would have had a chance but they were reckless

  32. when has the england football team prized anything above functionality? Have they ever played with the grace, flair or style of Argentina or Brazil? Remember England beat Cameroon unfairly, because he referee was biased against Africans.

  33. It was Costa Rica's first world cup appearance. And a remarkable one: we beat Scotland 1-0, lost to Brazil 1-0 and beat Sweden 2-1 to advance the Round of 16 where we lost to Czechoslovakia 1-4. This was before we even had professional footballers. Most of the players held second jobs as cab drivers, salesmen and even policemen.

    I'm from Costa Rica so this was a very significant World Cup for us, only topped by our performance in Brazil 2014. 🙂

  34. "Questionable penalty decisions" ??? They couldn't have been less obvious, unless the Cameroonians (?) had shot Lineker with a Mauser from point blank range.

    What you said is treasonable. Do you even have a single English gene in your body ?

  35. I still can't believe 'THAT' was called a 'foul'. Ugh.. it was a struggle for both teams in Italy '90, and yea.. Simple, a terrible call, and the majority of the crowd didn't want Argentina to win.. UGH.. A few things to consider:
    1. Argentina's game against Yugoslavia should have never gone to penalties in the first place because Argentina made a valid 'GOAL' that was disallowed.
    2. Argentina shouldn't have gone to penalties against Italy, because Italy's 'GOAL' was offside.
    3. Maradona had a serious ankle injury due to a nasty foul in the game against Romania, but Argentina was never awarded a free-kick, as he had just gotten a 'yellow-card' and fear another one, and he didn't complain. So, Argentina played with a nerfed Maradona throughout the rest of the tournament – not even a free-kick awarded to Argentina.. C'mon..
    5. Argentina were missing four key players in the 'FINAL' against West-Germany – Caniggia, Olarticoechea, Batista, & Guisti, and West-Germany 'still' struggled..
    6. AND.. of-course, the last one — Germany was awarded a penalty, even though that wasn't a foul on Argentina's part in the slightest – the German player dived, and the Argentinian player's leg slid right by him when he dived.. so disgraceful.

  36. As far as I'm concerned, the best moment of Italia 90 & best goal was David Platt's volley against Belgium 👍
    The worst? Apart from the obvious penalty shootout disappointment v Germany, it has to be watching Shilton flapping at that deflected Andy Brehme free kick as it looped over his head in the semi final. 👎

  37. I remember every game like it was yesterday.
    I even remember poppin out to the chippy to get a bag of chips for 50p on the opening night Italy Vs Austria with my mates Tommy Finch and Lee O'Connor we saw Toto come on and get the winner in the chippy and the Chinese lady telling us to get out stop watching her telly.

  38. Germany scored 15 goals and england 8 you piece of english shit. 8 world cup finals to 1. No wonder you have an inferiority complex dip shit.

  39. Give me a break. Assertion that Germany 0f 1990 was merely functional is unfair and ridiculous. Some Mathaus and Klinsmann's goals at this WC were pure glamour. Mathaus' goal against Yugoslavia is prob the best goal of this WC. Germany of 1990 were def outstanding in very defensive low-scoring landscape of Italia 1990. It was, for sure, one of the best Germany teams. They displayed pure attacking prowess. They scored more goals than other top teams and along with Italy were only ones who managed to win all except one games in normal time. Germany of 1990 scored more goals in group stage than Spain of 2010 in whole tournament. Only thing that was missing is iconic final as cherry on top for their consistent performance at WC. But it's not their fault that Argentina decided to wait for shoot-outs. Germany did everything to score in that final. And that final's labeling as worst and ill-tempered in history of WCs is also a bit of silly exaggeration.

  40. Not sure I'd agree with Ciao being "the coolest mascot of all time" (when Zakumi, Fuleco, and even Striker the World Cup Pup outclasses that block stick figure with a ball for a head)!

  41. A little mistake at 2:35: The West Germany player on the left side wears the 1994, not the 1990 World Cup shirt. The German Team deserved the title in 1990 with international top class players like Brehme, Voeller, Klinsmann and of course captain Lothar Matthaeus.

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