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Sunday, May 3, 1998 Published at 17:37 GMT 18:37 UK

Meet the BBC Team
USA 1994
image: [ World Cup winners 1994, Brazil ]
World Cup winners 1994, Brazil

While the Americans surprised many with their enthusiasm for football, there were few upsets in the finals themselves as Brazil broke all the records by winning the title for the fourth time.

Who played?


[ image: Jack Charlton, Ireland]
Jack Charlton, Ireland
The ever increasing number of nations wanting World Cup glory meant that 144 teams competed for 24 places in the finals.

With none of the Home Nations making it through, the UK offered its support to Jack Charlton's Republic of Ireland.

What happened?


Ray Houghton was Ireland's hero against Italy [30'']
The Republic of Ireland caused a shock by beating Italy 1-0 the first round, before being knocked out by the Netherlands in the last 16.

Italy scraped into the second round and were lucky to beat the entertaining Nigerians for a place in the quarter-finals. Coach Arrigo Sacchi upset his players with constant tactical reshuffles.

Seven European sides made it into the quarter-finals for the first time since 1958. Argentina had pressed the self-destruct button and 1990 heroes Cameroon had gone out in the first round.


A shocking win, over the germans, for Bulgaria[38'']
Bulgaria shocked defending champions Germany, but they were knocked out in the semis by Italy. Brazil, having beaten the colourful Dutch team in the quarter-finals, went on to knock out Sweden in the semis and set up another World Cup final meeting with the Azurri.

Both sides were going for a record fourth title but the final was poor, ending in a penalty shoot-out after a 0-0 draw.


[ image: Romario gets the trophy]
Romario gets the trophy
Italian playmaker Roberto Baggio missed his kick to settle the matter. Brazil were not in the same class as the sides of 1958, 1962 and 1970. But they were still the best team of the tournament.

Any lasting memories?


[ image: Fans pay a tribute to Escobar]
Fans pay a tribute to Escobar
Andres Escobar's own-goal sent the fancied Colombians to defeat against the USA. Days after returning home the defender was shot dead.

Fans also saw a fallen hero. Diego Maradona showed glimpses of his best form but when he was banned in a drugs scandal, Argentina fell to pieces.





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In this section:

Radio 5 Live's France 98 Coverage

Platini - legend on and off the pitch

Ten of the best

England can't rely on lady luck

Uruguay 1930

USA 1994

Italy 1990

Mexico 1986

Sweden 1958

World Cup History

Switzerland 1954

Spain 1982

Brazil 1950

France 1938

Mexico 1970

England 1966

Italy 1934

Argentina 1978

Germany 1974

Chile 1962

No ticket to ride

Tackling new rules

BBC TV at the heart of France 98