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Brazil in the World Cup 1994 - USA

«World Cup.

Matches and Players

Brazil 1994 USA Cup

This was the starting line-up in the final match:
Taffarel, Jorginho, Aldair, M. Silva, M. Santos and Branco;
Mazinho, Romário, Dunga, Bebeto and Zinho.

The team: Taffarel, Jorginho, Aldair, Marcio Santos and Leonardo; Mauro Silva, Dunga (C), Mazinho and Zinho; Bebeto and Romário.
Reserves: Zetti (G), Gilmar (G), Cafu, Ricardo Rocha, Ronaldão, Branco, Raí, Paulo Sérgio, Muller, Ronaldo and Viola.
Coach: Carlos Alberto Parreira.
Assistant coach: Mário Jorge Zagallo.

The matches:
»Brazil 2 x 0 Russia
»Brazil 3 x 0 Cameroon
»Brazil 1 x 1 Sweden
»Brazil 1 x 0 USA
»Brazil 3 x 2 Holland
»Brazil 1 x 0 Sweden
»Brazil 0 x 0 Italy

The Preparation

See results of the South America Qualifyings for the 1994 World Cup.

1994 World Cup mascot
Mascot 1994

Brazil had never sweated so much to participate of a World Cup.

Until the 1980s, the World Cup qualifyings was little more than a formality to Brazil.
Brazil was so clearly superior that most other South American countries were more concerned in losing by little than actually beating Brazil. Moreover, the teams were divided in groups; the stronger teams (Brazil and Argentina) were seeded, and wouldn't play against each other.

In 1994, things changed a little: the ten South American countries were divided in two groups of five teams each.
Brazil would play against Ecuador, Bolívia, Venezuela and Uruguay.
The first match was a draw with Ecuador, 0 x 0. Then, on July 25th 1993, a sad event: for the first time in History, the Brazilian football team lost a match in the qualifyings for the World Cups; playing in La Paz, 3,600 meters of altitude, Bolívia beat Brazil by 2 x 0.

Brazil only secured a place in the last round of the Qualifiers.
The last match would be against Uruguay, in Maracanã, on September 19th 1993. Brazil needed only a tie, and was favourite to win; however, Uruguay is always a tricky adversary, and many times had surprised Brazil (the most obvious, of course, the victory in the final match of the 1950 World Cup); one month earlier, Brazil and Uruguay had tied 1 x 1 in Montevidéu.

1994 World Cup poster
Poster 1994

In 1993, Romário, then aged 27, was at the peak of his career; he was an idol in Barcelona, after some successful seasons with PSV Eindhoven. Earlier in 1993, Brazil had disputed America Cup.
In a match in 1992, coach Carlos Alberto Parreira left Romário in the bench; Romário, as usual, expressed his dissatisfaction ("if I knew I wouldn't play, I wouldn't have come over from Spain", he said).

Parreira got very upset, and banned Romário from the Brazilian team. Brazil played the first seven matches of the qualifyings without Romário, while journalists and fans claimed for his presence.

Before the match against Uruguay, Parreira gave up and called Romário.
Brazil won by 2 x 0, and Romário scored the two goals.

From that match on, Parreira and the Brazilians became more lenient with the lack of discipline of Romário.

The matches

Parreira's philosophy could be summarized as (he never denied it): first, have a strong defense to save goals; then, if possible, have an attack to score goals.

1994 World Cup emblem
Emblem 1994

Brazil seemed to have a good defense line, with Jorginho, Mozer, Ricardo Gomes, Ricardo Rocha and Leonardo (the same defense from 1990, only with younger Leonardo in place of Branco).

In the middle field, Parreira put his pet player, Dunga, who better than anyone personified the spirit of that team: plently of force with little of talent; to help Dunga, there was strong Mauro Silva.
Parreira would leave the creativity functions to Raí, who had led São Paulo F.C. to a double world club championship in Tokyo.
In the attack, Brazil would depend on only two players: Bebeto and Romário.

A few months before the Cup, exams showed that Mozer had cardiological problems; Ricardo Gomes suffered a serious injury and was also dismissed; Ricardo Rocha stayed, but he was also injured.
So, the entire defense would have to be redone from scratch. Parreira called two players: Aldair and Márcio Santos.

Contradicting expectations, Aldair and Márcio Santos formed probably the most solid center-backs of Brazil ever.
Brazil ended the Cup with only three goals against (two in one match, against Holand), much thanks to the good performance of these two players.
In the middle, Raí let everybody down. Despite all support and opportunites, he simply could not play well, and was substituted by Mazinho.
And, if Márcio Santos and Aldair were doing a good job in the defense, Bebeto and Romário were doing an excellent job in the attack. Because of Parreira's defensive mentality, Brazil scored only eleven goals in 1994; of these, Romário scored five and Bebeto three.


Brazil won the first nervous match against Russia by 2 x 0. Romário scored first, Raí, kicking a penalty, scored the second.

Second match, Brazil 3 x 0 Cameroon. Romário, Márcio Santos and Bebeto scored.

Brazil tied the following match, against Sweden, thanks to an invididual play of Romário's. Brazil moved to the next stage.

On July 4th 1994, Brazil would play against USA. Brazil would normally win easily, but the Americans were playing at home, in their National Day.
In the first half, Leonardo, left-defense, hit his elbow violently against an American player; Leonardo was sent off immediately, which increased Brazil's uncertainty.
Later, Leonardo declared that he acted by instinct, without any intention to harm; Leonardo is a football player with a much higher culture than the average; he had a successful career in Milan AC; after he retired (Leonardo was present also at the 1998 World Cup), he, along with Raí, founded and maintains Fundação Gol de Letra, a NGO which uses sports as a means to assist poor children in Brazil.
Brazil won that match thanks to the usual: Aldair and Márcio Santos effective in the defense, Romário and Bebeto effective in the attack. Bebeto scored the sole goal at 28 minutes of second half.

Next, Brazil beat Holland.
In the second Brazilian goal, Romário was clearly off side, but he pretended he had not seen the ball; the referee considered that Romário was not participating of that play, and Bebeto scored.
The match was an easy 2 x 0 for Brazil, but in ten minutes Holland scored two goals.
Then, in a long free kick, Branco scored; Branco was a veteran, who had participated of the cups in 1986 and 1990, who was much admired by the Brazilians for his boldness.

FIFA considered this Brazil x Holland to be a classic match.

Brazil won the semi-final against Sweden by 1 x 0, with a good performance by the defenders and a goal by Romário.

Brazil and Italy played the final of the 1994 World Cup.
This time, not even Romário could help Brazil win.
For the first time in the History of World Cups, a final match ends in 0 x 0, and must be decided in penalty kicks. This happened because both Brazil and Italy had a scheme which privileged first the defense, and, luck allowing, the attack.
Brazil won in the penalties. The Italians missed three of four kicks.

Brazil was four times champion. Brazilians refer to this cup as the Cup that Romário won for Brazil.

Other info

»World Cup 1994 archives by FIFA.


»Romário was acknowledged as the most important player of this Cup, thanks to the goals he scored. This was the last Cup of Romário.
He had gone to Italy, in 1990, but, in bad physical shape, played only a few minutes.
Also because of an injury, in a controversial decision, he was dismissed from the team which would go to France in 1998.
In 2000, Romário was disappointed once again because he was not included in the Brazil team which disputed the Olympics in Sidney.
In 2002, the coach Felipão was not lenient with Romário's proverbial lack of discipline, and he was once again dismissed.
Romário entered the History of Brazilian football, not only for having being fundamental in the 1994 Cup, but also for having shown an unusual love for the Brazilian team.
Romario retired in 2008, at age 42; he extended his career because he wanted to score more than 1,000 goals.

»Dunga became coach of the Brazil team in the World Cup 2010.
As a coach, Dunga maintained the same style he had as player: strong defense, tight hierarchy, all players should be committed to the team. Jorginho was Dunga's technical assistant.

»History doesn't seem to have made Justice with Bebeto.
Bebeto led an obscure Spanish team, La Coruna, to the Spanish championship. Bebeto went to France in 1998, but spent half the time in the bench.
Without Bebeto, Romário would't have done half of what he did in 1994.

»Ronaldo was the youngest player in 1994, aged 17; he didn't play any match.

»Cafu played only the last match, against Italy. Cafu is the only player in the History to have played three finals of world cups (1994, 1998 and 2002).

»The world saw ex-vice-President Al Gore handing out the Cup to Dunga.
The Brazilian players had no idea who Gore was, and Gore had no idea who the players were.
Despite efforts, Americans didn't care much about the Cup which happened in their own country. Only one television bought the broadcasting rights, but due to low audience, the transmission of some matches was substituted by sitcoms.

»Parreira resigned from being the coach right after the Cup; Zagallo took over and stayed until the end of the Cup in 1998. Parreira said he wouldn't be the coach never again, but he changed his mind later and returned to coach Brazil in Germany 2006.

»On return to Brazil, a very unpleasant incident. The President of CBF, Ricardo Teixeira, used the title in USA as a reason to bypass the Brazilian customs. Teixeira and some players were charged of importing goods without paying the due taxes.