Football World Cup 1994 » Winner – Teams – Statistics – History

The 1994 Football World Cup Finals were held across nine cities in the United States. The Final was played between Brazil and Italy at the Rose Bowl Stadium near Los Angeles on the 17th of July 1994.

The match was decided by a penalty shootout, with Brazil beating Italy 3-2. It was the first World Cup Final to be decided on penalties. In spite of the absence of a national soccer league, the matches were extremely well attended, with an average of nearly 69,000 spectators for each game. This is a record that still stands today.

Participating Teams of the 1994 World Cup Finals

24 teams qualified for the 1994 World Cup Finals. South Korea and Saudi Arabia represented Asia, with Japan just missing out on a place. Africa was given three slots in the final as a result of their strong performance in the 1990 World Cup competition. They were represented by Cameroon, Nigeria and Morocco.

The place representing Northern and Central America and the Caribbean were won by Mexico and they were joined by the United States who, as host country, were given an automatic place in the tournament. South America was represented by Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Columbia.

Europe once again dominated the competition and their representatives were Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, the Republic of Ireland, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. It was the first World Cup since 1938 that none of the Home Nations (England, Scotland, North Ireland and Wales) had qualified for the competition.

Also, East and West Germany played together as a re-unified German team and attempted to defend West Germany’s title from the 1990 World Cup Final. In addition, Russia competed as an individual country after the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Winner of the World Cup 1994

The 1994 World Cup was won by Brazil 3-2 in a nail-biting penalty shoot-out. Brazil had beaten Sweden 1-0 in the Semi-Final and then met Italy who had beaten Bulgaria 2-1. Both Brazil and Italy were keen to win their fourth World Cup.

For the first time in World Cup history, the Final was nil-nil after both regular time and extra time and this meant that the match would be decided by a penalty shootout. Italian player Roberto Baggio had been Italy’s star player throughout the tournament and was largely responsible for getting his team to the final in spite of the team’s indifferent form. He took the decisive penalty shot but kicked the ball about two feet above the crossbar and Brazil won the match.

Brazil Brazil
Italy Italy
17 July 1994

The Story of 1994 FIFA World Cup

Football World Cup 1994

After the initial controversy of awarding the 1994 World Cup Finals to the USA, a country without a strong history of watching or playing football, the Finals were quickly declared a success. There was a lot of interest in the games, with a record number of spectators attending the fixtures. The 1994 World Cup was also a World Cup of firsts, with innovations in the types of arenas used and in sports broadcasting.

  • Innovative venues – As the USA did not have the existing soccer stadium infrastructure of other World Cup hosting nations, a number of American Football and basketball stadiums were repurposed for the event. This led to the first World Cup match in history being played indoors when Switzerland met the USA at the Silverdome in Michigan. Even though this was an indoor match, the play was conducted on a real grass pitch fitted especially for the occasion. This has since been repeated at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups.
  • Revolutionising sports broadcasting – American sports such as baseball, ice hockey, basketball and American football are typically punctuated by lots of pauses to allow for commercial breaks. As soccer does not have these breaks, broadcasters were forced to think laterally about how they could finding advertising slots without interrupting the flow of the game. As a result, the 1994 World Cup was the first sporting event to feature a sponsored scoreboard and game clock that were displayed on the screen all the time. These features have now been adopted by most sports. The players also had their name, as well as their number, written on the back of their shirts to make it easier for less experienced American commentators and fans.