Massive crowds flocked to the 1994 finals in the United States where Brazil, inspired by Romario, deservedly claimed a record fourth World Cup title.
Argentina's Diego Maradona scored an outstanding goal against Greece before failing a dope test and being slung out of the tournament. Colombia's Andres Escobar scored an own goal against the United States and was later shot dead in his homeland.
Roberto Baggio proved Italy's hero as they marched to the final, saving their skin against impressive Nigeria in the second round and grabbing the winner in the quarter-finals against Spain. Two more goals saw off Bulgaria in the semis, but the cruellest of twists awaited him in the final.
Brazil's produced a thrilling 3-2 quarter-final win over Holland and Romario's expert finish helped them to victory over Sweden in the semi-final.
The goalless final became the first decided by a shootout. It was Baggio's skied miss that proved decisive.
July 17, 1994 - Brazil 0 Italy 0 (Brazil win 3-2 on penalties)
1994 WORLD CUP LEGEND
ROMARIO Faria de Souza
Brazil: b. 1966
Controversial forward who mixed raw opportunism and exceptional cool in front of goal with a fiery temperament on and off the pitch -- "the night is my friend," he was fond of saying.
Starred in Brazil's 1988 Olympic team and with PSV Eindhoven in Holland before a move to Barcelona in 1993 saw his international career take off.
Provided a razor-sharp cutting edge to for Brazil at USA 94, scoring the winner against Sweden in the semi-finals. He also scored against them in the group stages, with further strikes against Cameroon, Russia and Holland taking his tally to five.
He missed out on the 1998 World Cup through injury and was overlooked by coach Luis Felipe Scolari for the 2002 finals despite being the top-scorer in the Brazilian first division for the previous two seasons.
In May 2007 he claimed was his 1,000th career goal in a game between Vasco da Gama and Sport Recife.
1994 WORLD CUP TRIVIA
- Despite reputedly being a non-soccer country, USA 94 saw the highest total and average attendances in World Cup history. Some 3.5 million watched the matches at an average of 69,000, compared with 2.5 million and 48,000 at Italia 90.
- Several leading Russian players stayed home in protest at the appointment of Pavel Sadyrin as coach.
- Andres Escobar scored an own goal in Colombia's disastrous 2-1 defeat by the USA. On his return home, Escobar was shot dead, allegedly because the result cost the country's drugs and betting syndicates a fortune.
- Cameroon's 17-year-old Rigobert Song became the youngest player to be sent off when he received his marching orders against Brazil.
- Germany's Stefan Effenberg was sent home after making a rude gesture to fans while being subsitutued against South Korea. The Bayern Munich midfielder never played for the national side again.
1994 World Cup winning squad
Goalkeepers: Claudio Taffarel, Zetti, Gilmar
Defenders: Jorginho, Ricardo Gomes, Ricardo Rocha, Branco, Aldair, Cafu, Marcio Santos
Midfielders: Leonardo, Mauro Silva, Dunga, Zinho, Rai, Mazinho, Paulo Sergio
Forwards: Ronaldo, Bebeto, Romario, Muller, Viola
Coach: Carlos Alberto Parreira