On this day, 17 July 1994 (Exactly 25 years ago), Brazil beat Italy 3–2 on penalties to claim their fourth FIFA World Cup title when the match finished 0–0 after extra time; this meant that Brazil surpassed Italy and Germany as the tournament’s most successful nation.
In what was, and still, the only World Cup Final ever not to have a goal scored, the game would come to be defined by missed opportunities.
Chances were few and far between in the first half, as Romário had Brazil’s best chance of the half with a header, but he headed straight at Gianluca Pagliuca.
Late in the first half, Daniele Massaro had what would turn out to be Italy’s best chance of the match, as he had a good chance from the edge of the box after a counter-attack, but his shot was saved by Cláudio Taffarel.
The second half was largely devoid of scoring chances, as Brazil were unable to break through the center back pairing of Franco Baresi and Paolo Maldini. The lack of attacking play in the match was down to strong holding midfield play by Dino Baggio for Italy, and by both Dunga and Mauro Silva for Brazil.
As extra time began, chances would become more plentiful, as Brazil began to dominate play.
Romário had another chance early in extra time after Pagliuca made an ill advised decision to come for a cross, leaving the goal exposed, but Bebeto was unable to find him.
Roberto Baggio, who had been quiet for most of the match having picked up an injury earlier in the tournament, had his only sight of goal in the entire match in the first half of extra time, hitting a shot from around 25 yards, but Taffarel pushed the shot over.
Zinho had a chance on the stroke of halftime in extra time, hitting his shot well from inside the area, but Pagliuca saved well at his near post.
In the second half of extra time, Romário missed a golden chance to hand Brazil the trophy, as Cafu had found him inside the six yard box.
With Pagliuca at least four yards away from him on the other side of the goal, and the entire goal to aim at, the off balance Romário put his shot wide of the post.
This was the first time the World Cup would be decided on penalties. Italian captain Baresi took the first penalty and blazed his penalty over the bar.
Brazilian center back Marcio Santos went next, but Pagliuca saved the defender’s effort low to his right.
Demetrio Albertini went next for Italy, scoring his penalty into the top corner.
Romário was next for Brazil, and he scored his penalty, placing it so far in the corner that it went in off the post, tying the score at 1–1.
Alberigo Evani went third for Italy, he scored, putting his penalty high and in the middle, as Taffarel dove to the right.
Branco went next for Brazil, and he scored in the bottom left corner.
Massaro, who had scored twice in the Champions League Final less than two months previously, went next for Italy, but he was unable to put the ball in Taffarel’s net just as he had been unable to do in the match, as the Brazilian keeper saved to his left.
Brazilian captain Dunga was next, and he comfortably placed his shot into the bottom left corner, making it match point.
With Italy needing to score to keep their dreams alive, talisman Baggio stepped up to take the penalty.
In what would become an infamous moment in World Cup History, Baggio blazed his penalty over the bar, in similar fashion to Baresi, and this gave Brazil their fourth title.
On this day 17 July 2011(Exactly 8 years ago) Japan beat USA 3-1 on penalties to become the first Asian nation to win the Fifa Women’s World Cup.
Saki Kumagai scored the winning penalty after Ayumi Kaihori had saved two out of three American three spot-kicks.
Alex Morgan had opened the scoring with a low strike before Aya Miyama poked in the equaliser late in normal time.
Abby Wambach headed USA ahead in extra-time but Homare Sawa ensured a thrilling finale with a spectacular flicked effort at the near post.
A nervous-looking Shannon Boxx set the tone for USA’s penalty kicks as she struck her effort straight at Kaihori.
The Japanese keeper also saved from Tobin Heath while Carli Lloyd blazed over the bar. Wambach was the only player to find the back of the net but by this stage it was advantage Japan.
Norio Sasaki’s side missed one but scored the all-important penalty when young defender Kumagai stayed cool to fire in a brilliant spot-kick high into net.
STORIES: GEORGE MAHAMAH