The event was spread across nine USA cities from the east coast to the west, and from the south to the Midwest.
Published On 13 Nov 2022
Format: Group stage, knockouts
Matches played: 52
Goals scored: 141
Golden Boot: Hristo Stoichkov (Bulgaria), Oleg Salenko (Russia)
The World Cup finally arrived in the United States, following an impressive bid based on preparedness to host the tournament on a large scale. The event was spread across nine cities from the east coast to the west, and from the south to the Midwest.
In order to encourage attacking play, FIFA introduced some rule changes. Back-passes to the goalkeeper were not allowed, linesmen were encouraged to be lenient on the offside rule, and three points would be awarded for winning a group match.
Despite the lack of a professional football league, the host nation managed to qualify for the first knockout phase as one of the better third-placed teams. They lost 1-0 to eventual champions Brazil on US Independence Day.
Saudi Arabia were also among the surprise qualifiers for the knockouts after wins against Morocco and Belgium.
Among pre-tournament favourites were Italy with the FIFA Player of The Year and Ballon D’Or winner Roberto Baggio and Brazil with star forwards Romario and Bebeto.
Germany were knocked out in the quarterfinals by Bulgaria.
The final turn was ruled by nerves as both teams failed to score until the end of extra time. At the penalty shootout, Italy’s star player Baggio shot wide and trudged back in what has become one of the defining images of the tournament.
Brazil won their fourth world title, the first and (then) the only country to do so.
This World Cup saw the last of Argentina legend Diego Maradona at the tournament.
Oleg Salenko of Russia became the first and only player (as of 2018) to score five goals in a World Cup game in a 6-1 over Cameroon.
A World Cup game (USA vs Switzerland) was played indoors for the first time.
The tournament had record attendance and broke previous records with 3,587,538 spectators (averaging 68,991 per match).
Maradona tested positive for banned stimulant ephedrine and was subsequently withdrawn from the Argentina squad before he could be banned by FIFA.
Colombian defender Andres Escobar was murdered upon returning home after his own goal knocked his team out of the tournament.