Italia 90: England 3 Cameroon 2December 10, 2007 at 5:57 am | Posted in General Football, World Cup Memories | 1 Comment
The team that made Italia 90 bearable was Cameroon. Their unlikely upset of Maradona’s Argentina on the first day of the tournament sent shock waves through out the football world. Cameroon had stirring victories against Argentina, Romania, and Columbia before they met their sad end against a rock solid English side.
The entire Cameroon side was a joy to watch, but the greatest joy of all was the resurgence of the great Roger Milla, who was 38 at the time. He had toiled away in French football for years, where he fought for black player’s rights to equal pay. He was thought to be Cameroon’s team mascot for Italia 90. He came on in the first match against Argentina, and the commentator dismissed him saying “here comes Milla: he is coming on to old man it”. That smug commentator had to eat his words as Milla scored 4 goals and created 2 in Italia 90. He scored 2 against Romania, 2 against Columbia (both World Cup classics) and created both goals against England.
Cameroon played so well against England they could have won by a hatfull if they had finished better. England won by sending their striker Lineker down route one where sloppy and over physical defending by Cameroon resulted in two penalties which Lineker dispatched with ease.
Even though I have English blood I felt devastated that Cameroon lost. The cynical status quo of world football was maintained. It led to one of the worst soccer games in soccer history in the final which featured Germany and Argentina. What little magic there was in Italia 90 died when Cameroon lost to England in the quarter final in Naples that night.