It’s been 25 years since the 1994 World Cup Final

Today marks 25 years since the 1994 FIFA World Cup Final and the famous Roberto Baggio penalty miss.

The 1994 FIFA World Cup Final took place at the Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena, USA on 17 July, exactly 25 years ago.

It was a game between Brazil and Italy, two of the three most successful nations in the history of the competition at the time (alongside Germany) with three titles.

Both sides had already faced each other in a World Cup final previously, in 1970 at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico, a game that saw the famous Brazilian generation which included Pele, Jaizrinho and Rivellino thump the Azzurri with a 4-1 victory.

The Selecao played a perfect tournament in the United States, conceding only three goals, two of which came in the quarter-finals against Holland, on their way to the 1994 World Cup decider.

Romario was their star player at the competition. The Barcelona striker had scored five goals in Brazil’s six games before the final, only failing to find the net in the Round of 16 against the hosts, USA.

Italy, on the other side, were a bit lucky to find themselves at the Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena. They finished the group stage with four points (one win, one draw and one defeat) and qualified for the knockout phase as one of the best third-placed teams from the groups.

That’s when Roberto Baggio took matters into his own hands. The Juventus forward at the time was the Azzurri’s hero in each of the next three rounds.

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He netted a last-minute equalizer against Nigeria in the Round of 16 and converted a winning penalty 11th minutes into the extra-time.

In the quarter-finals against Spain, Baggio also scored in the dying moments of the game, sending Italy into the semi-finals of the competition. There, his brace was enough for the Blues to beat Hristo Stoichkov’s Bulgaria 2-1 and book their place in the 1994 FIFA World Cup Final.

The final itself was not a very attractive game. It was actually more of a tactical clash between both sides and became the first World Cup decider to finish 0-0 after both regular and extra time.

It was all down to the penalty shootout for the first time ever in a World Cup final, with Brazil winning 3-2 and lifting the record-breaking fourth World Cup title.

Twenty-five years on, it is still the Roberto Baggio penalty miss which stands out as the most memorable moment of the game. Italy’s hero from the knockout stage sent the ball high into the clouds, a shot which will probably haunt him for the rest of his life.

To be fair with Roberto, his teammates Franco Baresi and Daniele Massaro also missed their spot-kicks in the shootout. And at the end of the day, even if Baggio scored his penalty, Brazil would have another chance to win it, with a goal in the next round.

Do you remember the 1994 FIFA World Cup Final and what do you think about Roberto Baggio’s infamous reputation from that game? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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