Looking back at the 1990 World Cup, John McAuley nominates the best games from the tournament held in Italy.
World Cup 1990 revisited: The best games
West Germany 2 Netherlands 1
Having rekindled old enmities during their European Championship semi-final two years earlier, the familiar foes met in a last-16 clash at the San Siro. At 22 minutes, Rudi Voller and Frank Rijkaard were sent off for an ugly exchange. Rijkaard then spat at his German opponent for the second time in a matter of moments. Voller’s teammates provided the last laugh, though, scoring early in the second half through Jurgen Klinsmann and then eight minutes from time via Andreas Brehme’s right boot. West Germany had their revenge.
England 3 Cameroon 2
By now the neutral fans’ favourites, Cameroon took on England in Naples for a place in the semi-finals. Having gone a goal down to David Platt’s first-half header, the introduction of Roger Milla at half time sparked the usually ebullient Africans. In the space of five minutes, Emmanuel Kunde converted a penalty and Eugene Ekeke rounded off a beautifully crafted goal. Cameroon were dreaming of a last-four spot. However, eight minutes from time, Gary Lineker won a penalty and stroked home. The Tottenham striker repeated the feat in extra time to set up a meeting with West Germany.
West Germany 1 England 1 (West Germany 4-3 on pens)
Andreas Brehme later described it as “the final before the final”. The last-four scrap is synonymous with Italia ’90, when West Germany embellished that hoary cliché and kept their nerve in a penalty shoot-out. Firstly, Chris Waddle almost scored from just inside his own half. Klinsmann volleyed narrowly wide. Then, Paul Parker deflected Brehme’s free kick into England’s goal. Paul Gascoigne got booked and cried. Lineker equalised to force extra time, where Waddle rattled a post. The winger was infinitely more wayward with his match-defining spot kick in the shoot-out.
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