The USA were chosen to host the 1994 finals not on the countries footballing merits but with the aim of growing the game globally.
Many people were critical but the competition was very successful and drew record crowds. The competition has even been described as the re-birth of football after the disappointing Italia ‘90. This was aided by the introduction of the back pass rule preventing the goalkeeper from handling the ball. The tournament saw 141 goals the most since 1982.
With none of the Home nations qualifying Tottenham’s interest was with the Norwegian team where we had Erik Thorstvedt (1). Also included in their squad were three players who would join us later in their careers. Goalie Frode Grodas, signing for us in 1998 but never featured for the first team. Oyvind Leonhardsen and Roger Nilsen would both join Tottenham in 1999.
The two other future Tottenham players Gheorghe Popescu and Illie Dumitrescu who had played in 1990 were again in the Rumanian team (2). Jurgen Klinsamnn who had also played for German four years earlier was the star of the German team and finished with five goals. Another future Spur who also featured four years earlier was Italian Nicola Berti.(3).
Diego Maradona, the hero of ‘86 and the disappointment of ‘90 became the shame of 1994 as he failed a drugs test for the stimulant Ephedrine. The Argentinean FA withdrew him saving FIFA the need to ban him. He remained at the competition as a TV commentator.
His team mate Faustino Asprilla later revealed that Escobar had warned him on the plane home from the tournament not to go out on the streets "Something could happen to you, they could kill you." Sadly Escobar was right, he himself was shot 12 times outside a restaurant only a few days later amid speculation his error had cost drug barons millions in gambling losses
Goal records fell in the Russia V Cameroon game. Oleg Salenko scored five times for Russia in the 6-1 win. The Cameroon goal came from Roger Milla who broke his own record on being the oldest World Cup Finals goal scorer, at 42 years 1 month and 8 days.
Cameroon also set a record when 17 year old Rigobert Song became the youngest player to be sent off at the finals in the game V Brazil.
Meanwhile in N17 - Tottenham under Ossie Ardiles finished a disappointing 15th.
Notes - 1 - Connections, Norway 26/11/13
2 - Connections - Rumania, 26/9/13,
3- Flying Down to Rio, Flight Nineteen,
Top Image - FiFa poster, 3 - Daily Mirror Thanks also - .FIFA, BBC, The Times, Planet World Cup, ESPN. Daily Mail,
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