FIFA World Cup

A brief history of Fifa World Cup: Italy 1990, when West Germany triumphed in a goal-shy tournament

This World Cup witnessed the lowest goals-per-game average, a deluge of sendings-off and arguably the worst final ever seen.

It’s that time again! The greatest show on earth is upon us. Ahead of the Fifa World Cup in Russia, we look-back at the 20 tournaments before and the standout aspects from them.

Next up, a goal-shy tournament in Italy that saw West Germany lift their third World Cup title.

Italy 1990

The 1990 World Cup witnessed the lowest goals-per-game average, a deluge of sendings-off and arguably the worst final ever seen. Just 115 goals were scored in 52 games at an average of 2.21 per game. There were 16 red cards and 164 bookings at an average of 3.46 per match, another record. In addition, penalty shootouts were routine – four in total – including both semi-finals. Argentina advanced at the expense of Italy and West Germany beat England, a night remembered to this date for Paul Gascoigne’s tears.

Appropriately, it was a penalty, by Andreas Brehme for the Germans, that decided a sorry final which included two sendings off for the Argentines. It was West Germany’s third World Cup win.

Argentina’s performance was typical of the tournament. They reached the final despite winning only two games and scoring five goals in total. Maradona finished the final in tears.

Cameroon, inspired by the veteran Roger Milla, reached the quarter-finals, while the unheralded Toto Schillaci hit six goals for Italy to finish as top scorer.

For Lothar Matthaus, playing in his third World Cup, it was a memory like no other:

“Winning the World Cup was just the most emotional experience. At the time I was living and playing in Italy, and so it almost felt like a home tournament for me. Our first games were played in what felt like my living room – the San Siro in Milan! By the end, it wasn’t just the German fans supporting us, but the Italian fans too. Rudi Voller, who was at Roma, was also playing in the Final and Italy had been knocked out by Argentina, so the whole stadium was behind us. Germans talk nowadays about the summer fairy tale of 2006, but this was my summer fairy tale. And it had a happy ending too.”  

— Quotes: Fifa.com

Stats and trivia

  • Fouls aplenty! The total of 16 red cards and 164 bookings at an average of 3.46 per match is a tournament record. The referees must have been given a run for their money.
  • Argentina became the first finalists not to score and also the first to have a player sent off when Gustavo Dezotti was dismissed. 
  • Franz Beckenbauer became only the second man after Mario Zagallo to win the world crown as first a player and then a coach and the first ever to do the captain-coach double.
  • One of Germany’s players of the tournament was Lothar Matthaus, who enjoyed a free role this time around compared to his man-marking responsibilites in 1986 (he kept Maradona quiet for a long in the ‘86 final.) Matthaus played in a record 25 World Cup games during his career. He featured at every tournament from 1982 until ‘98, and is one of only three players – and the only outfield player – to have been part of five separate editions of the global showpiece. Gigi Buffon could have broken the record this year, had Italy qualified.
  • After Morocco became the first African team to reach the second stage of the finals in , Cameroon took it a step further in 1990, becoming the first ever team from the dark continent to play in the last eight of a World Cup. A quarter-final run inspired by Roger Milla.
  • Speaking of Roger Milla, the legendary striker became the oldest goalscorer in the tournament history, at and age 38 years and 34 days. That record would be broken four years later though... by Milla himself!
  • Andreas Brehme, the man who scored the title-clinching goal for West Germany, remains the only player to have scored penalties with both feet in the World Cup.
  • Leading goalscorer: Salvatore ‘Toto’ Schillaci (Italy) - 6 goals
  • Total number of goals in the tournament: 115 (2.2 goals per match - the lowest ratio in the tournament’s history) 

For your viewing pleasure

The final, not a very exciting one...

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Moments...

Official poster

Reuters
Reuters

With AFP and Fifa.com inputs

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Swara Bhasker: Sharp objects has to be on the radar of every woman who is tired of being “nice”

The actress weighs in on what she loves about the show.

This article has been written by award-winning actor Swara Bhasker.

All women growing up in India, South Asia, or anywhere in the world frankly; will remember in some form or the other that gentle girlhood admonishing, “Nice girls don’t do that.” I kept recalling that gently reasoned reproach as I watched Sharp Objects (you can catch it on Hotstar Premium). Adapted from the author of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn’s debut novel Sharp Objects has been directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, who has my heart since he gave us Big Little Lies. It stars the multiple-Oscar nominee Amy Adams, who delivers a searing performance as Camille Preaker; and Patricia Clarkson, who is magnetic as the dominating and dark Adora Crellin. As an actress myself, it felt great to watch a show driven by its female performers.

The series is woven around a troubled, alcohol-dependent, self-harming, female journalist Camille (single and in her thirties incidentally) who returns to the small town of her birth and childhood, Wind Gap, Missouri, to report on two similarly gruesome murders of teenage girls. While the series is a murder mystery, it equally delves into the psychology, not just of the principal characters, but also of the town, and thus a culture as a whole.

There is a lot that impresses in Sharp Objects — the manner in which the storytelling gently unwraps a plot that is dark, disturbing and shocking, the stellar and crafty control that Jean-Marc Vallée exercises on his narrative, the cinematography that is fluid and still manages to suggest that something sinister lurks within Wind Gap, the editing which keeps this narrative languid yet sharp and consistently evokes a haunting sensation.

Sharp Objects is also liberating (apart from its positive performance on Bechdel parameters) as content — for female actors and for audiences in giving us female centric and female driven shows that do not bear the burden of providing either role-models or even uplifting messages. 

Instead, it presents a world where women are dangerous and dysfunctional but very real — a world where women are neither pure victims, nor pure aggressors. A world where they occupy the grey areas, complex and contradictory as agents in a power play, in which they control some reigns too.

But to me personally, and perhaps to many young women viewers across the world, what makes Sharp Objects particularly impactful, perhaps almost poignant, is the manner in which it unravels the whole idea, the culture, the entire psychology of that childhood admonishment “Nice girls don’t do that.” Sharp Objects explores the sinister and dark possibilities of what the corollary of that thinking could be.

“Nice girls don’t do that.”

“Who does?”

“Bad girls.”

“So I’m a bad girl.”

“You shouldn’t be a bad girl.”

“Why not?”

“Bad girls get in trouble.”

“What trouble? What happens to bad girls?”

“Bad things.”

“What bad things?”

“Very bad things.”

“How bad?”

“Terrible!!!”

“Like what?”

“Like….”

A point the show makes early on is that both the victims of the introductory brutal murders were not your typically nice girly-girls. Camille, the traumatised protagonist carrying a burden from her past was herself not a nice girl. Amma, her deceptive half-sister manipulates the nice girl act to defy her controlling mother. But perhaps the most incisive critique on the whole ‘Be a nice girl’ culture, in fact the whole ‘nice’ culture — nice folks, nice manners, nice homes, nice towns — comes in the form of Adora’s character and the manner in which beneath the whole veneer of nice, a whole town is complicit in damning secrets and not-so-nice acts. At one point early on in the show, Adora tells her firstborn Camille, with whom she has a strained relationship (to put it mildly), “I just want things to be nice with us but maybe I don’t know how..” Interestingly it is this very notion of ‘nice’ that becomes the most oppressive and deceptive experience of young Camille, and later Amma’s growing years.

This ‘Culture of Nice’ is in fact the pervasive ‘Culture of Silence’ that women all over the world, particularly in India, are all too familiar with. 

It takes different forms, but always towards the same goal — to silence the not-so-nice details of what the experiences; sometimes intimate experiences of women might be. This Culture of Silence is propagated from the child’s earliest experience of being parented by society in general. Amongst the values that girls receive in our early years — apart from those of being obedient, dutiful, respectful, homely — we also receive the twin headed Chimera in the form of shame and guilt.

“Have some shame!”

“Oh for shame!”

“Shameless!”

“Shameful!”

“Ashamed.”

“Do not bring shame upon…”

Different phrases in different languages, but always with the same implication. Shameful things happen to girls who are not nice and that brings ‘shame’ on the family or everyone associated with the girl. And nice folks do not talk about these things. Nice folks go on as if nothing has happened.

It is this culture of silence that women across the world today, are calling out in many different ways. Whether it is the #MeToo movement or a show like Sharp Objects; or on a lighter and happier note, even a film like Veere Di Wedding punctures this culture of silence, quite simply by refusing to be silenced and saying the not-nice things, or depicting the so called ‘unspeakable’ things that could happen to girls. By talking about the unspeakable, you rob it of the power to shame you; you disallow the ‘Culture of Nice’ to erase your experience. You stand up for yourself and you build your own identity.

And this to me is the most liberating aspect of being an actor, and even just a girl at a time when shows like Sharp Objects and Big Little Lies (another great show on Hotstar Premium), and films like Veere Di Wedding and Anaarkali Of Aarah are being made.

The next time I hear someone say, “Nice girls don’t do that!”, I know what I’m going to say — I don’t give a shit about nice. I’m just a girl! And that’s okay!

Swara is a an award winning actor of the Hindi film industry. Her last few films, including Veere Di Wedding, Anaarkali of Aaraah and Nil Battey Sannata have earned her both critical and commercial success. Swara is an occasional writer of articles and opinion pieces. The occasions are frequent :).

Watch the trailer of Sharp Objects here:

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This article was published by the Scroll marketing team with Swara Bhasker on behalf of Hotstar Premium and not by the Scroll editorial team.