Brazil played the qualifyings against Venezuela and Chile.
Few Brazilians remember those matches, but one episode remained: in the second match against Chile, Brazil was winning by 1 x 0, when a woman launched fireworks into the field and nearly hit Rojas, Chilean goalkeeper. Instructed by his managers, Rojas pretended that he had been hit on his head; he even used a blade to self cut his temple, in an attempt to blame the (lack of) Brazilian organization. The performance didn't convince anyone, Rojas was banned, Brazil was qualified.
The interesting thing is that the woman who launched the fire became cover of Playboy. Her name was Rosenery Mello, but she became known as Maria Fogueteira. She is one of the few memories from that Cup.
The team was bad, starting with the coach.
Sebastião Lazaroni had not won any significant title before the Cup, and didn't win anything after, either.
The main player of the team was center-forward Careca who, in duo with Maradona, had led Napoli to the scudetto in Italy. Romário was there, but, recovering from an injury, didn't play much. Players like Taffarel, Bebeto, Aldair were maturing for the Cup of 1994.
Dunga became a kind of icone of the team. Dunga was very fit, much disciplined and with limited talent. The period 1997 - 1994 became known in Brazil as the Dunga Era.
Despite the lack of talent, another point marked that team: the greediness. Instead of solidarity, there was a dispute among players for more exposition, because the European market (particularly Italy) was opening to foreign players.
From the start, the players wanted to setup a reward prize for the conquering of the Cup. On an occasion, all players posed for a photo with their hands covering the logo of the sponsor, in protest against the low prize offered.
There is not much to be said.
Brazil won the first three matches, all with a lead of one goal. Lazaroni used to say that "1 x 0 was an overwhelming victory".
Then came Argentina.
Maradona was there, but far from the fitness conditions he exhibited in 1986, in Mexico.
Argentina was current champion, but finished 3rd of the group in the first stage of the Cup. In the match against Brazil, Maradona was injured, and only could play with help of anesthetic infiltrations.
Maradona's talent was, alone, sufficient to beat that Brazilian team.
At 35' of second half, Maradona received the ball in the mid-field, dribles five Brazilians and passes to Caniggia; Caniggia gets rid of Taffarel and scores. Some journalists noticed that Alemão, who was supposed to follow Maradona, was too gentle; Alemão and Maradona were fellow players in Napoli.
Brazilians had little expectations, therefore the loss caused little comotion. There was a national consensus that the team was weak, and the luck of the draw which might help us, helped Argentina instead. The disappointment was bigger in 1986, when Brazil lost to France, and much bigger in 1982, when Brazil lost to Italy.
Italy was favourite, not only for being the host, but also for having good players like Baresi, Maldini, Baggio, Vialli. However, the main player ended up being Totó Schillaci, main striker of the tournament with six goals; Schillaci had played only one international match, before the Cup started.
Italy won all five matches, before losing the semi-final to Argentina, in the penalties shoot out.
Argentina was holders, had Maradona, but only with plenty of luck could they reach the final.
After hardly getting past the first stage and beat Brazil, Argentina won the following matches against Yoguslavia and Italy in penalties shoot outs.
The most important player in the Argentina's campaign was not Maradona, but the goalkeeper Goycochea.
Goycochea was a very limited goalkeeper, who only entered the team after Pompido broke his leg in the match against Soviet Union. Despite his limitations, Goycochea was lucky enough to defend penalties against Yoguslavia and Italy.
The champion was Germany.
The main German players were Matthaeus, Voller and Klinsmann; the coach was Franz Beckenbauer.
Germany only won the final by 1 x 0 thanks to a very controversial penalty, five minutes before the end of the match. Had the referee not anotated this penalty, maybe Goycochea could have given the championship to Argentina.
»Lazaroni was fired after the match against Argentina. The new coach was Falcão, one of the players in the 1982 Cup and one of the best Brazilian players ever. Falcão stayed short, only till July 1991, when Brazil failed in the America Cup. Falcão had never been coach before, and, besides Brazil, had only a short experience with a Mexican team. Falcão prepared the basis of the Brazilian team which, commanded by his successor Carlos Alberto Parreira, would be champion of the 1994 Cup.
»During the match against Argentina, Branco asked some water to the Argentinian bench. Later on, Branco said that he felt dizzy during the match, and was suspicious about the water. Argentinians were offended by the idea that they would use such low tactics, and said that Branco was looking for excuses. In 2005, Maradona confirmed that the water that Argentina supplied to Branco was somehow contaminated; read this article, published by an Argentinian newspaper.