Overview of international friendlies played in the period 1988-1990
(related to full 90 minutes from matches we have available to us)

April 1988
13.04.1988 Bulgaria 1-1 East Germany
Bulgaria finish strongly to claim well deserved draw.

May 1988
17.05.1988 Hungary 0-4 Austria
Marko’s hat-trick saw to that counter-attacking happy Austria won at a canter.

August 1988
04.08.1988 Finland 1-1 Bulgaria
Low-intensity match where two goals in quick second half succession made sure that the stadium record crowd avoided a scoreless draw.

07.08.1988 Iceland 2-3 Bulgaria
Bulgaria complete their comeback from two goals down through injury time winner in a seeworthy affair.

17.08.1988 Finland 0-0 Soviet Union
It is dull, it is anaemic, it is goalless. But Finland can be pleased to have shut out the USSR.

September 1988
14.09.1988 Spain 1-2 Yugoslavia
Impressive victory on the road for slick and industrious Yugoslavia, with Spain falling to defeat in Luis Suárez’ first game in charge.

October 1988
12.10.1988 Sweden 0-0 Portugal
Played out in difficult conditions on a cut pitch and heavy rain. The goalless score almost inevitable with Portugal reluctant to go forward and Sweden unimaginative.

19.10.1988 Italy 2-1 Norway
The Italians get the win in their first preparation game ahead of the World Cup, though they fail to fire on more than a couple of cylinders, and they need a penalty and a tremendous Ferri free-kick to seal the victory against a limited Norway team. All goals during the first half, whilst the second half was more or less a stalemate.

November 1988
16.11.1988 Italy 1-0 Netherlands
Italy claim the win in a good-natured friendly thanks to a fine diagonal strike by Vialli just before the half-time break. However, the Netherlands had been on the front foot for much of the game, easily edging possession, although they had struggled to unlock the home defence after a few first half opportunities. Stand-in ‘keeper Tacconi had saved miraculously from van Basten, and down the other end, Ferri had hit the underside of the bar with a header. Fine work-out for both teams.

December 1988
22.12.1988 Italy 2-0 Scotland
Italy were looking to continue building their momentum, and they rarely needed to accelerate beyond second gear for this decent win against a somewhat weakened Scottish outfit. Both goals came after the break, though the penalty which saw the breakthrough looked a dubious one. The two Italian ‘keepers had a single save to make between them, while Goram did well for Scotland down the other end.

January 1989
25.01.1989 Greece 1-2 Portugal
As Portugal were preparing for their huge qualifier at home to Belgium just three weeks later, they produced a fine display to beat Greece in Athens. However, they should have won by a greater margin, as they produced several opportunities which Greece ‘keeper Oikonomopoulos often did well to thwart. There were a number of fine individual displays by the visitors, while the hosts were less impressive, both individually and collectively.

February 1989
07.02.1989 Republic of Ireland 0-0 France
The teams play out a goalless draw in difficult conditions on a heavy pitch. France stood well up to the physical Irish.

21.02.1989 Bulgaria 1-2 Soviet Union
Both sides show plenty of battle in what is a fine friendly game, although it is played out on an increasingly cut pitch. The hosts move ahead following forward Kostadinov’s first international goal, a terrific looping header, but the USSR reply before the break through impressive debutant Borodyuk, and seal the win from Rats’ low second half finish. Good test for both sides, although quality drops towards the latter stages.

22.02.1989 Greece 4-2 Norway
A mad 13 minutes spell early in the second half saw an uncalled for amount of goals in a scrappy friendly where neither defence was on top.

22.02.1989 Italy 1-0 Denmark
Italy set about dominating possession, and with an inspired Giannini playing just behind the attacking two, they were by far the more impressive side. Still, they were unable to create many clear-cut opportunities, and they also needed to show some battle as the first half got a bit scrappy and niggly. Goal coming in the second half. Denmark were disappointing as an attacking force.

March 1989
08.03.1989 Greece 3-2 East Germany
Frantic at times as Greece hold on to seal win against somewhat uninspired visitors.

22.03.1989 Bulgaria 1-2 West Germany

22.03.1989 Netherlands 2-0 Soviet Union
Game of two halves in which Holland are lucky to triumph.

25.03.1989 Austria 0-1 Italy
It was a game which was played at a decent pace, and the visitors would get their reward for having been superior in possession when the enigmatic Berti headed home from De Agostini’s cross. There were some fine individual performances from both sides, and the Austrians would’ve been disappointed to concede so late. Disciplined Italian performance on away soil.

29.03.1989 Greece 0-1 Turkey

29.03.1989 Romania 1-0 Italy
Fine victory after impressive first half performance. Italy lacked creativity.

April 1989
04.04.1989 Hungary 3-0 Switzerland

05.04.1989 Greece 1-4 Yugoslavia
When in the right mindset, Yugoslavia simply had too much know-how for plucky hosts.

11.04.1989 Austria 1-2 Czechoslovakia
The two teams are preparing for each their vital qualifier. The Austrians have a couple of big names (Prohaska and Polster) missing, whilst Czechoslovakia have welcomed back Kocian and Straka, though they were without Chovanec. It is a dreadfully poor first hour, and though the quality picks up around the time of the first goal, this is never a classic. Visitors just shaded it, but a draw would not have been totally unfair.

22.04.1989 Italy 1-1 Uruguay
Draw a suitable outcome as both teams struggled to create opportunities.

26.04.1989 Italy 4-0 Hungary
Italy simply too strong for poorly organised Hungary.

May 1989
27.05.1989 Scotland 0-2 England
England would seize the initiative during the first half, and they would make their dominance count through a powerful Chris Waddle header following a Gary Stevens cross on 20 minutes. The second half was a more even affair, with the Scottish making a good match of it, but eventually it would be England debutant Steve Bull who would secure the away win with his late goal, struck crisply after he’d won a challenge against big Dave MacPherson.

27.05.1989 Belgium 1-0 Yugoslavia

June 1989
08.06.1989 Brazil 4-0 Portugal
Brazil switched on when they wanted to and easily over-powered a depleted Portugal in friendly to mark the 75th anniversary of their FA.

14.06.1989 Denmark 6-0 Sweden
Sweden the better team early on until the floodgates opened.

16.06.1989 Sweden 2-1 Brazil
Low-paced game where Sweden’s greater collective effort sees them get a deserved win against a lack-lustre Brazil.

21.06.1989 Switzerland 1-0 Brazil
The Swiss score from one of the softest penalties you’ll see, Brazil have good goal ruled out for offside. Fortunate home team.

July 1989
23.07.1989 Brazil 1-0 Japan
Lazaroni unleashed Bebeto and Romário along with Careca for the very first time. 

August 1989
16.08.1989 Sweden 2-4 France
Heavy rain stopped the game for several minutes in the second half, and France scored four times after teams reappeared.

September 1989
05.09.1989 Poland 3-0 Greece
The hosts exploit a poorly assembled Greek unit during a first half in which they score three times. It is a fine moment for new manager Andrzej Strejlau, who sees his first win in his second game in charge. A couple of Greece’ players are a liability, most notably captain Dimitris Saravakos and wide midfielder Savvas Kofidis, but after a half-time shake-up, they arrive with five new players for the second half in which they improve. Poland ‘keeper Józef Wandzik ultimately keeps his sheets clean.

06.09.1989 Republic of Ireland 1-1 West Germany
Draw an ok result in a match of two halves, where few openings had been created on either side.

20.09.1989 Italy 4-0 Bulgaria
Italy turn on the style in a Roberto Baggio inspired performance to run out comfortable winners despite early scare from the visitors.

20.09.1989 Spain 1-0 Poland
A full-strength Spain do not always have it all their own way against a somewhat b-string Poland, though their win is deserved. Míchel’s left foot effort separating the sides. The match saw a total of five debutants.

20.09.1989 Yugoslavia 3-0 Greece
Greece are no match for a home side which decided to rest on its laurels after an imaginative opening quarter of an hour.

October 1989
14.10.1989 Italy 0-1 Brazil
Brazil strike through wonder free-kick late on to claim prestigeous friendly win.

November 1989
11.11.1989 Italy 1-0 Algeria
‘Keeper El-Hadi came to Algeria’s rescue on a few occasions, but Italy’s dominance finally told as substitute Serena finished off Baggio’s cross.

14.11.1989 Brazil 0-0 Yugoslavia
Bore goalless draw.

15.11.1989 England 0-0 Italy
Both have goals disallowed, but England much the stronger against disappointing Italy, yet there’s no goals to show for their superiority.

December 1989
13.12.1989 England 2-1 Yugoslavia
Two goals from ‘captain Marvel’ wins it for the hosts against a somewhat tame Yugoslavia.

20.12.1989 Netherlands 0-1 Brazil
A makeshift Dutch side are unable to resist a strong Brazil outfit.

21.12.1989 Italy 0-0 Argentina
Hardfought battle deservedly finishes with no goals.

February 1990
04.02.1990 Costa Rica 0-2 Uruguay

21.02.1990 Spain 1-0 Czechoslovakia

21.02.1990 Netherlands 0-0 Italy

24.02.1990 USA 1-3 Soviet Union

28.02.1990 France 2-1 West Germany

March 1990
28.03.1990 Scotland 1-0 Argentina

28.03.1990 Soviet Union 2-1 Netherlands

28.03.1990 Spain 2-3 Austria

28.03.1990 Hungary 1-3 France

April 1990
25.04.1990 England 4-2 Czechoslovakia

25.04.1990 Republic of Ireland 1-0 Soviet Union

25.04.1990 Scotland 0-1 East Germany

May 1990
03.05.1990 Austria 1-1 Argentina

13.05.1990 Brazil 3-3 East Germany

16.05.1990 Republic of Ireland 1-1 Finland

19.05.1990 Scotland 1-1 Poland

26.05.1990 West Germany 1-0 Czechoslovakia

26.05.1990 Yugoslavia 0-1  Spain

27.05.1990 Turkey 0-0 Republic of Ireland
Neither team manages to find inspiration, and the only right outcome is this one. 

30.05.1990 Austria 3-2 Netherlands

June 1990
02.06.1990 Belgium 3-0 Mexico

02.06.1990 Tunisia 1-1 England