Thursday, July 8, 2010

8 July 1990 - The Worst World Cup Final

On 8 July 1990, West Germany won their third World Cup trophy, beating defending champions Argentina in an ugly Final that saw the South American side reduced to nine men before the end. It was a rematch of the previous Final, in which Argentina had beaten the Germans 3-2.

Unlike the 1986 Final, however, the 1990 one was a dire, negative affair widely considered the worst Final in the tournament's history. Playing before a crowd of 73,603 at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, both teams used a negative defensive style despite the presence of ordinarily dynamic playmakers such as Diego Maradona and Rudi Völler. After a scoreless first half, the match took a turn for the worse when Argentina defender Pedro Monzón, who had come on as a 46th-minute substitute, received a straight red card for a foul on Jürgen Klinsmann, becoming the first-ever player to be sent off in a World Cup Final.

The second was not far behind. After an 85th-minute Andreas Brehme penalty gave West Germany the lead, thanks to a foul on Völler by midfielder Roberto Sensini, forward Gustavo Dezotti earned his second yellow card of the night and was ejected in the 87th minute. The Germans held on for the remainder of the match to claim their third World Cup, tying them with Brazil as the country with the most World Cup titles.

With the win, German manager Franz Beckenbauer became only the second man (after Brazil's Mario Zagallo) to win a World Cup as a player and manager.

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