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The 1990 FIFA World Cup Final was a football match played between West Germany and Argentina to determine the winner of the 1990 FIFA World Cup. The game took place on 8 July 1990 at the Stadio Olimpico in Italy's capital and largest city, Rome, and was won 1–0 by West Germany, with a late penalty kick taken by Andreas Brehme being the game's only goal.

1990 FIFA World Cup Final
Stadio Olimpico 2008.JPG
The final was played at the Stadio Olimpico
Event1990 FIFA World Cup
Date8 July 1990
VenueStadio Olimpico, Rome
RefereeEdgardo Codesal (Mexico)

The match marked several firsts in World Cup history. This was the first-ever rematch of a final and, to date, the only back-to-back rematch, as Argentina defeated West Germany in the previous final. Argentina became both the first team to fail to score in a World Cup final, and the first defending champion to reach the final and lose. West Germany's victory over Argentina marked the first time a UEFA side defeated a CONMEBOL side in a final (all previous finals between the two continents were won by South Americans.) West Germany became the first team to play in three consecutive finals (they played in the 1982 and 1986 finals), a feat only repeated by Brazil in 1994, 1998, and 2002. It was West Germany's last World Cup match; the team played three more games before a unified German team was formed.[1]


Route to the finalEdit

West Germany Round Argentina
Opponent Result First round Opponent Result
  Yugoslavia 4–1 Match 1   Cameroon 0–1
  United Arab Emirates 5–1 Match 2   Soviet Union 2–0
  Colombia 1–1 Match 3   Romania 1–1
Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
  West Germany 3 2 1 0 10 3 +7 5
  Yugoslavia 3 2 0 1 6 5 +1 4
  Colombia 3 1 1 1 3 2 +1 3
  United Arab Emirates 3 0 0 3 2 11 −9 0
Final standing
Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
  Cameroon 3 2 0 1 3 5 −2 4
  Romania 3 1 1 1 4 3 +1 3
  Argentina 3 1 1 1 3 2 +1 3
  Soviet Union 3 1 0 2 4 4 0 2
Opponent Result Knockout stage Opponent Result
  Netherlands 2–1 Round of 16   Brazil 1–0
  Czechoslovakia 1–0 Quarter-finals   Yugoslavia 0–0 (aet) (3–2 pen.)
  England 1–1 (aet) (4–3 pen.) Semifinals   Italy 1–1 (aet) (4–3 pen.)



The 1990 final is often cited as one of the most cynical and ugliest World Cup finals.[2] It was an ill-tempered game, notable for the first two sendings off in a World Cup final. During the match, Mexican referee Edgardo Codesal refused to award a penalty kick to German player Klaus Augenthaler. Later, he incurred the wrath of the Argentinians by not awarding them a penalty kick after the German team captain Lothar Matthäus fouled Gabriel Calderón.[3] Pedro Monzón had the distinction of being the first player in the 14 final games of the FIFA World Cup to be sent off, after being shown a straight red card for a reckless studs up challenge on Jürgen Klinsmann; FIFA had warned its officials to enforce the rules and Monzón had raised his foot during the tackle, a foul that Klinsmann claims left a 15-centimetre (5.9 in) gash on his shin.[4] Gustavo Dezotti, already cautioned earlier, received a straight red card late in the match when he hauled down Jürgen Kohler with what The New York Times described as a "neck tackle right out of professional wrestling", after Kohler refused to give-up the ball in an alleged attempt to waste time. After dismissing Dezotti, Codesal was surrounded and jostled by the rest of the Argentinian team.[5] Maradona burst into tears at the final whistle and blamed the referee for the loss.[6] Argentina entered the game with four players suspended and ended it with nine men on the field, overall losing over half their squad due to injury or suspension.[7][8][9]

It was also the lowest-scoring final yet seen with Argentina becoming the first team not to score during a World Cup Final, having only one shot on goal, while Germany had 16 scoring chances out of 23 shots.[6] Argentina's strategy had been to defend at all costs and reach the penalty shootout, having already advanced twice in the tournament by this means.[7][8][9] The only goal of the contest arrived in the 85th minute when Codesal awarded a penalty to West Germany, after Roberto Sensini fouled Rudi Völler [10] which led to Argentinian protests. Andreas Brehme (who took the place of regular penalty taker Matthäus) converted the spot kick with a low right footed shot to the goalkeeper's right.[6]

This victory gave West Germany their third FIFA World Cup title, also making them the team to have played in the most FIFA World Cup finals at the time (three wins, three second places), as well as avenging their defeat at the hands of Argentina in the previous final. It also meant that Germany coach Franz Beckenbauer became the only person to have won both silver and gold medals at the World Cup as a player (1966 and 1974) and as a coach (1986 and 1990).


West Germany  1–0  Argentina
Brehme   85' (pen.) Report
Attendance: 73,603
West Germany
GK 1 Bodo Illgner
SW 5 Klaus Augenthaler
CB 6 Guido Buchwald
CB 4 Jürgen Kohler
RWB 14 Thomas Berthold   73'
LWB 3 Andreas Brehme
CM 8 Thomas Häßler
CM 10 Lothar Matthäus (c)
CM 7 Pierre Littbarski
CF 9 Rudi Völler   52'
CF 18 Jürgen Klinsmann
GK 12 Raimond Aumann
DF 2 Stefan Reuter   73'
MF 15 Uwe Bein
MF 20 Olaf Thon
FW 13 Karl-Heinz Riedle
Franz Beckenbauer
GK 12 Sergio Goycochea
SW 20 Juan Simón
CB 18 José Serrizuela
CB 19 Oscar Ruggeri   46'
RWB 4 José Basualdo
LWB 17 Roberto Sensini
DM 13 Néstor Lorenzo
CM 7 Jorge Burruchaga   53'
CM 21 Pedro Troglio   84'
SS 10 Diego Maradona (c)   87'
CF 9 Gustavo Dezotti   5'   87'
GK 22 Fabián Cancelarich
DF 5 Edgardo Bauza
DF 15 Pedro Monzón   65'   46'
MF 6 Gabriel Calderón   53'
FW 3 Abel Balbo
Carlos Bilardo

Armando Pérez Hoyos (Colombia)
Michał Listkiewicz (Poland)

Match rules:

  • 90 minutes
  • 30 minutes of extra-time if necessary
  • Penalty shoot-out if scores still level
  • Five substitutes named, two of which may be used


  1. ^ Portugal v W Germany (29 August 1990), Sweden v W Germany (10 October), Luxembourg v W Germany (31 October). Unified team's first game: Germany v Switzerland (19 December)
  2. ^ Chacoff, Alejandro (6 April 2018). "The fall: how diving became football's worst crime". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  3. ^ Brian Glanville, The story of the World Cup: The essential Guide to South Africa, 2010, pp. 325 to 327.
  4. ^ "Klinsmann: the rise...and the falls". Guardian News and Media. 7 March 2004. Retrieved 21 June 2014.
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b c
  7. ^ a b Glanville, Brian (2005). The Story of the World Cup. Faber. p. 303. ISBN 0-571-22944-1.
  8. ^ a b Vecsey, George (9 July 1990). "Winning Ugly, Losing Ugly, Just Plain Ugly". The New York Times.
  9. ^ a b "A poor display bare of class". The Times. London. 9 July 1990.
  10. ^ Glanville, Brian (2018). The Story of the World Cup. Faber and Faber. p. 326. ISBN 978-0-571-32556-6. After half-time, the game grew harsher, when Klaus Augenthaler was blantanly tripped in the box by Goycoecha, Germany had far stronger claims for a penalty than that which won the match. Sensini bought down Völler in the area Codesal gave a penalty, Argentina protested furiously, and seemed to have a pretty good case.