The DFB's major titles: Football World Cup 1990

Coronation of football’s emperor under Rome’s night sky

Magazine, 10.11.2022

8 July 1990: 16 years after his World Cup triumph as a player, Franz Beckenbauer wins the trophy again – this time as trainer. The image of the “Kaiser” wandering across the pitch alone and deep in thought while his players celebrate is beamed around the globe.

World Cup 1990 

It is the climax of an exciting tournament that thrilled football fans across the world. The “magical nights” conjured up by Gianna Nannini and Edoardo Bennato in their World Cup anthem live up to their name and provide a number of exciting games.

High drama in the duel with the Netherlands

In the round of 16, Germany meet the Netherlands in a memorable and at times controversial game (2:1). Both Frank Rijkaard and Rudi Völler are sent off. Emotions on the pitch, in the stands and in front of the TV at home are running high. This bad-tempered match with unseemly scenes on the pitch continues the Dutch-German football rivalry. The subsequent quarter-final against the Czech Republic is tame by comparison and goes off without any controversy. Team captain Lothar Matthäus scores the game’s only goal with a penalty, enough to put Germany into the semi-final.

Argentina wrecks Italy’s dream

Hosts Italy were also one of the favourites of course. It is the Argentinian team that wrecks the Italians’ dreams of winning the World Cup in their own country. After the “Azzurri” concede their first goal in the tournament and can only equalise, the game goes to penalties. Normally composed and reliable, the Italians are understandably nervy and narrowly lose the penalty shootout 4-3. The same fate awaits the England team in their semi-final match against Germany. In a game of high drama, England also lose 4-3 on penalties.

Argentina without a shot on goal in the final

In the 60-year history of the World Cup, this was the first time that the same two teams had met for the second time in a final. The two countries had played each other in 1986 in Mexico, where Diego Maradona’s Argentina got the better of the German team. The 1990 rematch is unexpectedly one-sided from the very beginning. The depleted Argentinian side does not manage a single shot on goal in the entire 90 minutes of play. Superstar Maradona is unable to repeat his heroics from four years earlier. Stuttgart defender Guido Buchwald man-marks him out of the game. Germany’s hero is Andreas Brehme, who scores a late penalty to win the final 1-0.

Back home in Germany, an estimated 25 million follow the game on TV. They and millions of others around the world watch as Franz Beckenbauer becomes only the second person ever to win the World Cup as a player and a manager – only Brazil’s Mario Zagallo had managed this feat before.

(Text: Martin Sulkowsky)

A strong team can achieve anything

The German national football team has won the World Cup four times – in 1954, 1974, 1990 and 2014. ERGO is an official partner of the national team and is commemorating these great triumphs in a series of articles. 

Part 1 - Football World Cup 1954: “The miracle of Berne” – Triumph for all eternity

Part 2 - Football World Cup 1974: Home comforts for Beckenbauer, Müller and Co

Related articles

Magazine 27.10.2022

The DFB's major titles: Football World Cup 1954

On 4 July 1954, the unthinkable happens: Germany wins the football World Cup. For the first time ever, the German national team becomes world champions and sends the whole country into a wave of euphoria, bringing new strength to the nation in difficult times.

Magazine 07.11.2022

The DFB's major titles: Football World Cup 1974

Germany wins its second World Cup. Captain Franz Beckenbauer and his team lift the new World Cup trophy after a thrilling final against the Netherlands at Munich’s Olympic Stadium.

Magazine 15.11.2022

The DFB's major titles: Football World Cup 2014

The highlight of Jogi Löw’s career and an unforgettable 7-1 in the semi-final against hosts Brazil. 24 years after the last title, Germany can celebrate again: For the fourth time, the German national team wins the World Cup. And for the first time in South America.