world cup 1990

The 1990 FIFA World Cup was the fourteenth FIFA World Cup and was held in Italy from 8 June to 8 July 1990. The tournament was won by West Germany, winning their third title beating Argentina 1–0 at the Stadio Olimpico, Rome.

Host selection

Austria, England, France, Greece, Iran, Italy, USSR, West Germany and Yugoslavia expressed an interest in hosting the 1990 FIFA World Cup. The voting took place at the FIFA Executive Committee meeting in Zürich on 19 May 1984 by which time each country had withdrawn their interest bar Italy and USSR.

Italy won the right to host the tournament winning 11 votes to the USSR's five.

One hundred and sixteen1 countries entered the qualifying competition.

The hosts, Italy, and the defending champions, Argentina, qualified automatically. Of the remaining 22 places, 13 were allocated to Europe (UEFA), two to South America (CONMEBOL), two to the North and Central American and Caribbean (CONCACAF), two to Africa (CAF) and two place to the Asian (AFC) whilst one qualifier from CONMEBOL would face one Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) team in an intercontinental play off for the final place.

Israel and Chinese Taipei would play in the OFC qualifying campaign.


Thirty three European teams entered the 1986 FIFA World Cup. Hosts, Italy, qualified automatically for the tournament and the remaining 32 teams were divided into 7 groups.

All seven group-winners qualified automatically with the runners-up of Groups 3, 5, 6 and 7, which had 5 teams also qualifying. The two best second-placed teams of Groups 1, 2 and 4 containing only four teams also qualified. One second-placed team was therefore eliminated.

Wales were placed in Pot C as third seeds, and were drawn in Group 4 alongside Netherlands, West Germany and Finland.

Uefa qualifying Group 4

no.datescorescorers (wales)venue 
 31/08/1988Finland 0-4 West Germany Olympic Stadium, HelsinkiWCQ
41414/09/1988Netherlands 1-0 Wales Olympisch Stadion, AmsterdamWCQ
41519/10/1988Wales 2-2 FinlandSaunders (pen), o.g.Vetch Field, SwanseaWCQ
 19/10/1988West Germany 0-0 Netherlands Olympic Stadium, MunichWCQ
 26/04/1989Netherlands 1-1 West Germany De Kuip, RotterdamWCQ
 31/05/1989Finland 0-1 Netherlands Olympic Stadium, HelsinkiWCQ
41831/05/1989Wales 0-0 West Germany Arms Park, CardiffWCQ
41906/09/1989Finland 1-0 Wales Olympiastadion, HelsinkiWCQ
 04/10/1989West Germany 6-1 Finland Westfalenstadion, DortmundWCQ
42011/10/1989Wales 1-2 NetherlandsBowenRacecourse Ground, WrexhamWCQ
 15/11/1989Netherlands 3-0 Finland De Kuip, RotterdamWCQ
42115/11/1989West Germany 2-1 WalesAllenMüngersdorfer Stadion, CologneWCQ

Group standings
2.West Germany63301339

Wales and the 1990 World Cup

Wales were placed in Pot C as third seeds, and were drawn in Group 4 alongside Netherlands, West Germany and Finland.

Despite being drawn in a group with reigning European Champions, Netherlands, and West Germany, the opening match of the campaign in Rotterdam saw Alan Knill, Swansea City centre half, win his one and only cap in a 0-1 defeat.

Having taken heart from running Netherlands so close, Wales were frustrated in the first home match of the campaign being held 2-2 at home by Finland with Dean Saunders missing a late penalty which would have salvaged some pride.

The home game against West Germany saw Wales play at The National Stadium, Cardiff for the first time and a creditable 0-0 draw raised Welsh fans' hopes bu defeat in Helsinki in the following game ended Wales' hopes of reaching the 1990 FIFA World Cup.

In the final two matches against the Group heavyweights, Iwan Roberts won his first cap in the defeat against Netherlands at The Racecourse before Andy Melville won his first cap in Köln in a game where an early Malcolm Allen goal gave the Germans a scare before Wales eventually lost 1-2.

Players used during qualifying

Wales used a total of 23 players during the qualifying campaign with Neville Southall being the only player to play every minute of every game. Clayton Blackmore, Peter Nicholas and Dean Saunders also featured in every match.

Alan Knill of Third Division Swansea City made his debut, winning his only cap, in the opening match in the Netherlands. Iwan Roberts won his first cap against the Netherlands at the Racecourse, Wrexham and Andy Melville won his first cap against West Germany in Köln.

Mark Aizlewood90 9090 90
Malcolm Allen    9090
Clayton Blackmore909080909090
Mark Bowen 3110109065
Alan Davies90  90  
Gareth Hall9059    
Barry Horne909090  25
Jeff Hopkins    90 
Mark Hughes76909090 90
Andy Jones    26 
Alan Knill90     
Gavin Maguire   29090
Andy Melville     80
Peter Nicholas909090889090
Colin Pascoe 9010 1520
David Phillips  90909090
Kevin Ratcliffe 909090  
Iwan Roberts    64 
Ian Rush90909090  
Dean Saunders169090909090
Neville Southall909090909090
Pat Van Den Hauwe 90    
Geraint Williams90 808085 


1Of the 116 countries who entered Belize, Mauritius and Mozambique's entries were not accepted as they failed to pay their entry fee. Bahrain, India, Lesotho, Maldives, Rwanda and Togo withdrew whilst Mexico were suspended for playing overage players in a CONCACAF 1988 Olympic Games qualifiers.

22 pts for a win / 1 pt for a draw