World Cup Tales: Reflections Upon England In Italy, 1990


Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.

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7 Responses

  1. Michael Wood says:

    An interesting article and – as is customary – a few things occur. Firstly the idea that the Spanish pointing out that FIFA were cheating in favour of the English seemed to be much less of an issue than this year’s assertion that the Spanish themselves were trying to cheat in the World Cup.

    Secondly Bull did not come as close to scoring as Stuart Pearce did when he whipped a free kick in the in last minute which – while hit from an indirect free kick – still provokes debate in our house about if the Dutch keeper did get an important hand to it or not. He may have done or may not but still, it was the closest thing to a goal in the game and from a distance of time shows how much of football in the World Cup is down to near random bits of luck.

    Thirdly I have never noted the “sturdy, practical nature” of Glenn Hoddle who Gascoigne (basically) replaced in the England set up with Robson seeing him as a more trust worthy creator who could be relied on to do the job vacated by Hoddle as well as some of the defensive role that Peter Reid was pressed into alongside Hod.

    The long term significance of 1990 in the rehabilitation of football comes down to Gascoigne and his tears in the semi-final. The TV watcher had had to reassess his view of fans from being rioting Millwall and Luton fans in the mid-eighties to lads carrying mates on advertising boards in Sheffield. Football fans were no longer about smashing up your town centre, they were about burying their friends.

    So Gascoigne rehabilitated the image of the footballer away from the fifteen pints of Bryan Robson (it is an irony because Gascoigne liked the odd ale) to being sensitive, being human. The impact for the Mum and home who had always steered the children away from the thuggish game (on and off the field) of football was key to the start of the Premiership years. Gascoigne was water cooler television and for the first time in a long time it was the game – not the violence or disaster – which was discussed at work the next day.

    Anyways – cracking article for a sunny afternoon read.

  2. ejh says:

    It may be worth mentioning the incident in which a lot of random English people were rounded up in order to fill an aeroplane full iof supposed hooligans to deport.

  3. There is much debate of course as to what the catalyst was for football’s re-emergence as a respectable activity – indeed, an Arsenal supporter has written a whole book claiming the 2-0 win at Anfield in 1989 was the key point (that’s not true although the volume inspired by that match, Fever Pitch did enjoy a small role in the revisionism).

    At the time, there were also claims made for acid house as a factor – the violence of beered up football fans in the Eighties was replaced by a blissed out “we love everyone” vibe brought on by the new availability of the drug MDMA. Again, I was never really convinced by this either – a look around the terraces at Maine Road where I watched my football at the time did reveal more than a few inflatable bananas but the same grizzled old codgers were still atop the Kippax as ever.

    And Gazza? – we haven’t seen his like before or since. The media farrago surrounding him has obscured how exciting a player he really was. A life affirming talent.

  4. Roy Ebsary says:

    “In the extra thirty minutes, Chris Waddle hit the crossbar with an extraordinary attempted lob from forty-five yards”

    This happened at the end of the first half in normal time, & wouldn’t have been allowed anyway because of an infringement, (offside or a foul by an English player).

    Waddle did hit the post right at the end of the first half in extra time, but it was a cross-shot from about 15 yards which was just missed by David Platt as it rebounded out again. Then the referee whistled for the end of the half.

  5. ejh says:

    I’m not sure Gascoigne can be described as “life-affirming”.

  6. Andy says:

    1986 was not a bad effort! England did as well as any v Argentina, nearly forcing extra time. Both England and Morocco scored no goals in their opening 2 group games, to lie 4th and 3rd; they then hit 3 goals to finish 2nd and 1st respectively! Some of Hoddle’s passing v Para-guay and Poland was sublime. If Brazil had scored 2 goals of the quality of Lineker’s first 2 v Poland, everyone would have raved about them …

  1. July 11, 2010

    […] Continued here: World Cup Tales: Reflections Upon England In Italy, 1990 … […]

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