Photo: Wikimedia Commons
As World Cup tournaments go, Italia ‘90 seems to split opinion more than most between those who loved it, and those who say it wasn’t as good as the hype suggests. The football purists will tell you that the standard of football was poor, the goals per game stats were the lowest there’d ever been, whilst the number of red cards was the highest, symptomatic of the cynical football on show. However, the other side of the fence will argue that it was fantastic, the last old-school World Cup before it became heavily commercialised, with plenty of unforgettable drama, great atmosphere, and lots of fantastic stories and sub-plots going on throughout the tournament.
We’re definitely in the nostalgic camp that looks back with a high degree of love. Why? Well, despite the lack of goals there were plenty of talking points and great stories. The rise of Toto Schillaci, Maradona’s battle-hardened Argentina taking on a rejuvenated Italy in his adopted city, Cameroon showing African nations the way, the Republic of Ireland living the dream, England coming agonisingly close to a first final since 1966, huge rivalries clashing in the knockout stages as West Germany met Holland and Brazil met Argentina.
And whilst there was enough drama on the pitch, we also found plenty to love off it - a brilliant logo, the greatest football mascot ever, one of the greatest football theme tunes ever, an iconic ball, the best squad song ever (despite most not turning up). and as English fans it was great not to have a tournament constantly blighted by hooligan problems.
Oh yes, and we completed the Panini album. And kept it!
A quality logo for Italia '90. That three-colour ball, and that iconic stencil-like font - superb.
Italian striker Salvatore Schillaci was one of the great stories of Italia'90, coming from nowhere to top the scoring charts with six goals. Schillaci started Italy's first match against Austria on the bench, but replaced Andrea Carnevale after 75 minutes and scored the decisive goal just three minutes later. as the match ended with a 1-0 win for Italy. Schillaci eventually got a starting place in their final group match against Czechoslovakia, starting up front alongside Roberto Baggio, Italy won 2-0, with Schillaci and Baggio both scoring. Schillaci kept his place and scored again in the first knock-out game, against Uruguay, and then bagged the only goal in the quarter final victory over the Republic of Ireland. He kept his incredible run going in the semi-final against Argentina, opening the scoring after seventeen minutes, but sadly the Azzurri went out on penalties. Finally, he scored his sixth goal of the tournament in the third place play-off against England with a late penalty.
Incredibly, Schillaci would score only one other goal for Italy during his entire career, so six of the seven goals he scored were during Italia '90.
|4||Lothar Matthäus||West Germany|
|3||Andy Brehme||West Germany|
|3||Jürgen Klinsmann||West Germany|
|3||Rudi Völler||West Germany|
Another simply beautiful football by adidas.
Following on from the Azteca of Mexico '86, this one kept the pattern of the Tango family, but was decorated in the art-style of the Etruscans (an ancient civilization of Italy) with three Etruscan lion-heads in each of the triad shapes.
Here's FIFA's official all-star team for the 1990 World Cup...
Sergio Goycochea / Luis Gabelo Conejo
Sergio Goycochea / Luis Gabelo Conejo
Whilst the official Italia '90 logo and mascot were both quite bright and cheery, the official tournament poster had a real darkness to it. But, as with everything else at this World Cup, it was still effortlessly cool with the way the flags and the pitch appeared in the bottom of the Colosseum.