Tuesday, 1 June 2010
world cup 1994 final
The 1994 FIFA World Cup
T 15th staging of the FIFA World Cup, was held in the United States from 17 June to 17 July 1994. The United States was chosen as hosts by FIFA on 4 July 1988. Brazil became the first nation to win four World Cup titles when they beat Italy 3-2 in a penalty shootout after the game ended 0-0 after extra-time, the first World Cup final to be decided on penalties.
Average attendance was nearly 69,000, which broke records that had stood since 1950, due to the bigger capacities of the American stadiums compared to those of Europe and Latin America. The total attendance for the final tournament of nearly 3.6 million remains the highest in World Cup history, despite the expansion of the competition from 24 to 32 teams (and from 52 to 64 matches) in 1998. It was also the highest-attended single sport event in U.S. history.
FIFA's decision to hold the event in the United States over the bids of Morocco and Brazil surprised many due to the common perception that the United States had a relative lack of football (soccer) fans. FIFA hoped that by staging the world's most prestigious football tournament there, it would lead to a growth of interest in the sport - one condition FIFA imposed was the creation of a professional football league; Major League Soccer started play in 1996. Despite these misgivings, in terms of attendance the event was a success. The average attendance of nearly 69,000 shattered a record that had stood since 1950, due to the bigger capacities of the American stadiums compared to those of Europe and Latin America. To this day, the total attendance for the final tournament of nearly 3.6 million remains the highest in World Cup history, despite the expansion of the competition to 32 teams in 1998. Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Belgium, Italy and the USA were seeded for the final draw that took place in Las Vegas, on 19 December 1993.
USA 94 mascot.
The format of the competition stayed the same as in 1990: 24 teams qualified, divided into six groups of four. Sixteen teams would qualify for the knockout competition: the six group winners, the six group runners-up, and the four third-placed teams with the best records. This was the last time this format was used, due to the expansion of the finals tournament in 1998 to 32 teams. This World Cup was the first in which three points were awarded for a win instead of two. FIFA instituted this feature to encourage attacking football after the defensive display of many teams at Italia '90.
The tournament saw the end of Diego Maradona's World Cup career, having played in 1982, 1986 where he led Argentina to the World Cup title, and 1990 as well. Maradona was expelled from the tournament after he failed a drug test which uncovered ephedrine, a weight loss drug, in his blood. Colombia, despite high expectations due to their style and impressive qualifying campaign, disappointed in the tournament, failed to advance from the round robin. The team was supposedly dogged by influence from betting syndicates and drug cartels, with coach Francisco Maturana receiving death threats over squad selection. Defender Andrés Escobar was a tragic figure of this tournament, as in the group stage match against the United States, he scored an own goal which eliminated his team 2-1. Escobar was shot to death outside a bar in a Medellín suburb only 10 days after the match, apparently in retaliation for the own goal.
Germany's Lothar Matthäus scoring a penalty kick against Bulgaria in the 10 July quarter-final at Giants Stadium. Bulgaria came back to win the match.
On the field, the biggest surprise of the tournament was Bulgaria. The Bulgarians had previously never won a match in the finals but, led by Hristo Stoichkov who eventually shared the tournament lead in scoring, they made a surprising run; Bulgaria won two of their three group matches to qualify for the second round, where they advanced with a 3-1 penalty shoot-out win over Mexico. Bulgaria then faced the reigning world champions, Germany, in the quarter-finals, where goals from Stoichkov and Yordan Letchkov gave them a 2-1 victory. Bulgaria went on to finish in fourth place after losing to Italy and Sweden, in the semi-finals and third-place match, respectively. Hosts United States advanced to the second round as one of the best third-place teams. There they played Brazil and, despite a 1-0 defeat, the USA's performance was considered a great success.
Brazil's win over the USA helped take them to the final against Italy. While Brazil's path was relatively smooth as they defeated the Netherlands in the quarter-finals and Sweden in the semis (it was the second game between Sweden and Brazil in the tournament, the first ending 1-1), the Italians had made hard work of reaching the final game. During the group stage the Italian team struggled and narrowly advanced to the next round, despite losing 1-0 to the Republic of Ireland. Roberto Baggio, who was expected to be the shining star, had not scored a goal. During the Round of 16 match against Nigeria, Italy was trailing 1-0 in the dying minutes when Baggio scored the equalizer forcing the game into extra time. There, he scored again with a penalty kick to send Italy through. Baggio carried the Italians from there, scoring the game-winning goal in the quarter-final against Spain, and both goals in Italy's semi-final victory over Bulgaria.
The final match at the Rose Bowl was tense but devoid of scoring chances. Despite the strategies disposed by the FIFA to promote offensive play, both teams failed to produce a goal. After 120 goalless minutes, the World Cup was decided for the first time by a penalty shoot-out. After four rounds, Brazil led 3-2, and Baggio, playing injured, had to score to keep Italy's hopes alive. He missed by shooting it over the bar, and Brazil were crowned champions. The trophy was handed to captain Dunga from the hands of the vice-president Al Gore. The Brazilian national team dedicated the title to the deceased Brazilian F1 champion Ayrton Senna, who had died two and a half months prior.
The third-place playoff was set between Bulgaria and Sweden, the team which scored more goals than any other in this World Cup. Sweden won convincingly with a 4-0 victory. One of Sweden's players - Thomas Brolin - was named to the All-star team.
The tournament's Golden Boot went jointly to Bulgaria's Stoichkov and Oleg Salenko of Russia, who scored a record five goals in their match against Cameroon. Both players scored six goals in the tournament. Brazil's Romário, with five goals, won the Golden Ball as the tournament's best player.