Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Argentina vs. Brazil - 1990 World Cup: A look back

What is "classic"? The definition of classic in Webster's dictionary is "serving as a standard of excellence : of recognized value". But in this sport, classic could mean something else. For example, what makes a match a classic? You can call it a classic if it's a match which consisted of several goals. You can call it a classic if it involves great play, great coaching and an overall great match. However, for this one, it's literally a classic... especially if you're an Argentina fan. It's the Clasico; Argentina vs. Brazil at the 1990 World Cup in the Round of 16.

Mostly labelled a boring World Cup which produced very little goals, this match was going to be a classic for whatever reason. It was the reigning World Cup champions (at the time) Argentina taking on pre-tournament favourites Brazil. In retro-spect, it was Carlos DUNGA (current Brazil National Team manager) against Diego MARADONA (current Argentina National Team manager).

It was a match involving several fouls, several Brazilian shots which hit the post, a red card and a sublime pass from one Diego Armando MARADONA to Claudio CANIGGIA.

Brazil's objectives were obvious from the get go. Attack, attack, attack and foul MARADONA every chance you get. BILARDO's tactics were quiet the opposite. Defend, defend, defend and attack on the counter using MARADONA. In the end, BILARDO won, thanks to a play by (in my opinion) the greatest player to have ever lived. MARADONA shrugged off defender after defender until he sent in a sublime pass to CANIGGIA (who was as fast as the wind itself... if not faster!) who rounded TAFFAREL and scored as he sent the Brazilian's packing and Argentina into the quarter finals.

This was the last time we faced Brazil at a World Cup ever since. So without further-a-do... MARADONA to CANIGGIA.


John said...

Wow!!! Can’t believe this match was already 20 years old.

Back then as a 10 year old kid, my parent’s wouldn’t allow me to stay up late to watch the match because they expect to be in bed early for school. But that didn’t stop me from sneaking out of my room to watch the match (Oopps!!! Hope they’re not reading this, hahaha!!!!).

Remember how my heart was pumping very fast watching every single Brazil move and just how many times they came close and hit the bar. In the end, I was all calm down after that goal from CANIGGIA. Though the match was still far from over, I knew we put one nail in Brazil’s coffin already. In the end, I was right.

From that moment, I just knew somehow we will make it all the way to the final no matter who we played against.

In the morning, my parent’s did had a hard time to wake me up and I still made it to school. I was telling all my friends about this match yet none of them believe me that we won.

Once again, thanks to Roy for another rundown in memory lane.

Mohd said...


i am not a dictator in any form. but you do not have to say that maradona is the best player ever (in your opinion). do you say 1+1=2(in my opinion)? this is a fact and anyone who does not like it is a hypocrite non-honest person!

that being said, in that tournament diego was struggling with fitness and caniggia was suspended in the final and the penalty which made germany won was a disgrace...from that time till now, luck has been avoiding us. hopefully it will change this time around.

Sebastian said...

Mohd, it's a good thing you said: "from that time (...) luck has been avoiding us" because it sure wasn't the case in that tournament!

Especially in this particular 1-0 win over Brazil in Torino.

I mean...I've never seen a team get so lucky in a single match. The missed chances by Brazil were something out of this world. There was a ball that hit both posts before it went out. GOYCOCHEA could do nothing but to look at it and then, I'm sure, he secretly thanked those two posts.

That guy MULLER (former Sao Paulo player) missed a sitter and the moment he missed, my uncle Ignacio (RIP) said: "That's it. We're winning this. If they didn't score that one, they'll never score".

I remember, as a 13-year old kid, I looked at him after the match in complete awe because to me, he suddenly became a wise man. He was a wise man already, but I didn't know his wisdom also reached football!

Surely when it comes to luck...I think the reason why we don't have it anymore is because we wasted it all in Italia 90!

We should all go round GOYCOCHEA's house and ask him to give it back to us!

Anonymous said...

my eldest child was almost called caniggia i regret not calling him that now alas his name is leighton and his the biggest prick you ever could meet havnt spoke to the boy in 6 years his a total embarresment

Anonymous said...

sorry to post again i was 18 years old in 1990 i became a father in 1991 on the the the gulf war started jan 15th

Anonymous said...

Seba i think you have a strange understanding of the word "luck" in football.

hitting the post is not luck or bad luck. it is a miss, no matter how close. the shoot was not precise enough, doesn't matter if 2 cm or 2 meters.

brazil was better, but it was not luck that made Argentina win this game. and i think brazil should have at least one more red card. they kicked maradona too hard, but ref ignored it nearly till the end.


Sebastian said...

I ask all readers to avoid using foul language or explicit comments we don't need to see here on Mundo Albiceleste.

It's been a constant in the last couple of weeks and those messages have no place here on Mundo.

Thank you very much.

Sebastian said...

Regarding luck, looks like you don't believe there is such a thing as luck in football.

Do you think there isn't such a thing as luck?

If not. What would be an example of a player or a team getting lucky?

I'm curious to know.

I see your point/theory makes a lot of sense. But I still believe there is an element of luck when a team throws EVERYTHING at you and the ball even hit both posts in the same play...

Anonymous said...


luck plays a huge at football, and in the wc luck is more present than in any other tournament.

but luck is for me three things:

1: the referee! everybody knows that their decisions can decide games, especially when these games are 50/50 ko-round games.

2: the draw: and not only the draw in the groupstage, but also the draw in the ko-round! what have all wc between 1994 and 2006 and also Argentina 1986 in common? they had only two serious opponents from the 1/8 to the final!

3: penalty-shootouts! this is debatable, but i think that luck also plays a big role here, but not always! for example: all italians shoot unstoppable penalties against france in 2006, so no luck in this case.

i know many people say: "my team played much better, but were sooo unlucky and lost". but if non of the 3 points had happened, these people are not objective and base on emotion.


Sebastian said...

I'm tempted to agree 100% with you, but FIFA gets in the middle.

See...I don't see much room for luck in the current game where you have FIFA saying there would be no seeding for the European playoffs in the WCQ and then they change that on the fly and arrange the ties at their pleasure.

Same thing 'COULD' happen at the World Cup draw and we don't know it 100%. The famous 'cold ball/hot ball' theory...

Then you see a referee as blind as to ignore Thierry HENRY's hand-ball and you're screwed.

And about penalty-shootouts, I think that is the situation where luck has less impact than in any other in football.

To me, it's pure skill and the ability to keep a cool head for both, the keeper and the takers.

I do agree it'd be wrong to blame all on luck when you lose.

Sebastian said...

One more factor in which luck could be present (especially at a WC) is injuries!

What about those muscles that get pulled during a simple run or those ankle sprains a player suffers while being on his own?

I know for a fact because I broke a tiny ligament in my left ankle playing 5-a-side with my friends and I needed surgery to repair it. It costed me 2 years away from the game and nobody touched me when I suffered that injury.

I changed directions trying to chase the ball and felt like a stone hit my ankle. Turned around to see if somebody had kicked me or threw a stone at me (that's what I felt), but there was nobody there and no stone or golf ball on the floor.

It was as stupid and as an unlucky you'll ever see an injury in your life.

Anonymous said...


yes i agree that that the equation
"luck = beeing favoured by the fifa"
is true in at least 50% at the wc. and in the last 20 years Brazil and Germany has 1000 times more of this "luck" than Argentina, which only had bad "luck".

and yes, injuries is bad luck too, of course.

however i say that penalty shootouts very often are decided by luck. i would like to explain exactly what i mean, but my english is not good enough for clear logical argumentation.


Rick said...

One of my happiest days in memory... I was 15, studying for a public exam, watched Brazil totally dominate a game as they always do and then watch Argentina score a goal out of nowhere. It feels just like striking a lottery.... way better feeling than getting your first hard-earned pay-cheque!!!

Rune said...

My big hero, Caniggia, scoring the winner against Brazil in a world cup of the best memories from my whole life actually.

Anonymous said...

Nice discussion Seba and Vitalij; the luck factor is a huge controversy in football, some consider almost everything luck in football, I mean the timing of passes, shots and runs... etc can all be considered luck, a game changing pass can be made one second later and be an offside... etc.
Others consider all that skills.

I personally think it is some of both, it is more like a game of possibilities to me; a team has 10 possible chances to score, the other has 5, the one having more is more likely to score but it is possible the other one scores at the end, just like that.

Regarding the match; I have a good collection of games and have a youtube account where I upload full matches of the world cup, it is still a work in progress and I am hoping to upload every single world cup game of Argentina.

Keep the good work guys...


Anonymous said...


yes i watched many games of Argentina on your channel! can you upload Argentina-Germany 1986??? I want to see Argentina crash the krauts. and do you have Argentina-Holland 1998?


Anonymous said...

Yes I have both, I was reluctant to upload them because the commentary is not English.
The 86 one is a so so game in my opinion, being the final and stressful... etc, but the 98 Dutch game is an absolute cracker, one of the most dramatic games I have ever seen, the most dramatic finale; we basically went from having a one man advantage, being denied a game winning penalty, having our main man sent off then conceding a killer goal; all in less than two minutes; still hurts.


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