The 1994 FIFA World Cup was the 15th edition of the tournament hosted by USA. There were 24 teams battling it out for a spot in the finals. After one month of football carnival in USA, it was Italy who were going to face Brazil in the final. The finals was played on 17, July 1994 at Rose Bowl stadium, California.
Brazil and Italy, a historic rivalry
Brazil and Italy are footballing nations with great history with each having three world titles against their name. The winner of this final would become the first team to win four world titles. Brazil and Italy have met each other four times in the World Cup prior to this summit clash with two wins each. In that four fixtures, two of them were high profile games – 1938 semi finals and 1970 finals. Italy won the 1938 semi finals 2-1 and Brazil won the 1970 finals 4-1.
The game kick started at Rose Bowl with an attendance of 94,124 people. Brazil had lined up with a Taffarel between the posts, and a back-line of Jorginho, Aldair, Marcio Santos and Branco. Brazil’s skipper Dunga and Mauro Silva formed the two man midfield, with Zinho and Mazinho occupying the flanks and Romario along with Bebeto formed the strike partnership. Carlos Alberto Parreira leads the team from the touch line. Arrigo Sacchi’s Italy started with Pagliuca at the goal and a solid back-line of Roberto Mussi, Maldini, Benarrivo and the skipper Franco Baresi. Berti, Dino Baggio, Albertini and Donadoni formed the four man midfield. Roberto Baggio and Massaro played up front.
Kick-off at Rose Bowl
Romario had the chance to give Brazil a lead at the 13th minute of the game with a header attempted from close range. Few minutes later Bebeto had a chance from the close range which he failed to utilise as he went for a cross instead of shooting. For Italy, it was Daniele Massaro who had the best of chances in the game. He beat two defenders in the lead up and got himself one-on-one with Taffarel, which he failed to sieze as his shot went straight at the hands of the keeper. Brazil had to make a substitution at the 21st minute of the game with Jorginho’s injury and was replaced by Cafu. The first half ended 0-0.
The second half barely had any goal scoring chances apart from a run from Baggio and a header from Bebeto. The game went to extra time and Brazil started to dominate. They generated some good goal scoring chances. Romario was within six yards from the goal in the second half of extra time and failed to convert. The game scoreline read 0-0 after the extra time and became the first ever finals to be decided by penalty shoot-out.
Both Brazil and Italy missed their first penalty as Marcio and Baresi failed to put the ball behind the net. Both the sides converted the next two penalties. Albertini and Evani scored for Italy while Romario and Branco did for Brazil. Massaro missed the 4th penalty but Dunga converted it and gave a lead for Brazil. Roberto Baggio missed the decisive penalty and the scoreline read 3-2 in penalties in favour of Brazil. Brazil were the World Champions for the fourth time and the whole team dedicated this to the late Ayrton Senna, a compatriot and triple Formula One World Champion.
Brazil striker Romario won the golden ball for the best player of the tournament. Romario also won the bronze shoe award with 5 goals. Italy’s Roberto Baggio won the silver ball. Brazil won the FIFA fair play award and took home the award for the Most Entertaining team. Hristo Stoichkov and Oleg Salenko of Bulgaria and Russia were the joint golden boot winners. Sweden’s Kennet Andersson also won the bronze shoe.