This was Brazil’s 22nd and penultimate international of 1989, and they had successfully completed World Cup qualification after their home soil triumph in Copa América, their first title in the South American continental championships for 40 years. Their most recent friendly had been the impressive 1-0 win away against Italy, and they were favourites in negotiating Yugoslavia on home soil. Their previous 21 internationals this calendar year had resulted in 14 wins, four draws and three defeats. Brazil were, if there ever had been any doubts, certainly still a major force in world football.
Visiting Yugoslavia were no mean proposition. They had finished top of their qualification group, and were heading for the World Cup themselves. They had remained undefeated in all eight qualifiers, and were surely confident enough heading into this fixture. Manager Ivica Osim had a hugely talented squad of players, even if they arrived in Brazil without some of the performers which had helped them through to Italia ’90.
Yugoslavia had been invited by the Brazilian FA, who paid their visitors’ expenses for travel and stay, in addition to offering a generous fee of $30,000 for the turn-out.
Team news Brazil
There were some big absentees from the Brazilian squad too. Some of their finer European based players had not travelled, such as Portugal based trio Branco (Porto), Ricardo Gomes and Valdo (both Benfica), Marseille defender Mozer, and not least Napoli duo Alemão and Careca. Still, there were some big overseas names present, and perhaps the most enticing prospect of them all was PSV goalscoring sensation Romário, who was well into his second season now at the Eindhoven club. Interestingly, there was also a reappearance for Josimar, the right wing-back who had bedazzled the audience during the 1986 World Cup with his goals against Northern Ireland and Poland. He had not featured since July. Mazinho had held the right-back position at Copa América, whilst Jorginho, now based in Europe with Bayer Leverkusen, seemed to have been prefered for the World Cup qualification.
Manager Sebastião Lazaroni appeared to have a big preference for a solid defensive foundation, and so liked to set his team up in a 5-3-2 formation. In a country steeped with attacking traditions, this would’ve brought him some critics, though having delievered gold medals from the continental tournament on home soil, he appeared to be untouchable. For now. And rightly so.
This particular line-up saw a fine mix of domestic based players and players featuring for European clubs: The goalkeeper and the backline were all home based, with the midfield three all operating across the Atlantic Ocean. With Bebeto partnering Romário up top, there was a 50/50 blend in attack too. Jorginho was seen amongst the subs, but as it would turn out, he would not feature, which could perhaps suggest he was carrying a knock. Something which strengthens this theory, is the fact that he was also not selected for Leverkusen’s subsequent league match.
Yugoslavia team news
Having concluded their qualification three weeks earlier, Yugoslavia boss Osim had set off to South America with a squad containing a fine blend of youthful talent and experience. They had a large number of players scattered across Europe, and on this occasion they opted to start with an eleven consisting of four players plying their trade abroad, and with seven featuring in the strong domestic league. The greatest stars were probably three of the four starting Red Star Belgrade players: midfielders Stojković and Prosinečki, as well as forward Savićević. Captain on this occasion was experienced libero Hadžibegić.
Throughout the qualification, manager Osim had been prefering Zlatko Vujović, the attacking one of the Vujović twins, as his captain. Neither he nor his brother Zoran featured here. Other omissions included solid defender Jozić, midfielders Katanec, Baždarević and the seasoned Sušić, as well as striker Pančev. Unfortunately, italia1990.com do not have any record of the unused substitutes for this match, though the Serbo-Croatian speaking commentator gives a mention of exciting young forward Šuker, so perhaps was he on the bench. 20 year old midfielder Boban certainly was. Deduction also suggests that big defender Vujačić was in the pool of players to have travelled to Brazil, as the TV commentator only realizes after an hour that it is actually Panadić playing in his place.
Edit: We were ultimately able to retrieve information about the Yugoslav substitutes’ bench, and it contained a total of five players, including young hotshot Davor Šuker, the 21 year old Dinamo Zagreb striker who was yet uncapped.
The match took place in João Pessoa in the state of Paraíba, a city right on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean in the north east corner of the country. The stadium, José Américo de Almeida Filho, is said to have an attendance record of 44,268, yet two independent sources are operating with 45,000 for this fixture.
For one reason or another, a European referee had been flown in to officiate: Italian Pietro D’Elia, a 43 year old responsible for his ninth international fixture seven years after his debut. D’Elia had yet to appear in any of the major international tournaments.
Head to head
This was the 13th meeting between the two countries since they first crossed paths during the inaugural World Cup in 1930, with Yugoslavia winning 2-1 in Montevideo. The Europeans would also win the second encounter, four years later in Belgrade, but since then Brazil had won five, and five had also ended in draws. Their most recent head to head had come just over a month before the start of the 1986 World Cup, with Brazil winning 4-2 in Recife. The only player among the 22 starting who had also begun that match, was Yugoslavia midfield man Janković. Brazilians Silas (starter) and Müller (substitute) had both come off the bench in Recife.
|2 Josimar||sub h-t||28||Flamengo|
|3 André Cruz||21||Ponte Preta|
|4 Mauro Galvão (c)||27||Botafogo|
|5 Mazinho||23||Vasco da Gama|
|6 Ricardo Rocha||27||São Paulo|
|7 Bebeto||25||Vasco da Gama|
|10 Silas||sub 76'||24||Sporting Lisboa|
|11 Romário||sub 68'||23||PSV|
|13 Jorginho||25||Bayer Leverkusen|
|14 Bismarck||on 76'||20||Vasco da Gama|
|15 Tita||on 68'||31||Vasco da Gama|
|16 Müller||on h-t||23||Torino|
|1 Tomislav Ivković||29||Sporting Lisboa|
|2 Vujadin Stanojković||26||Partizan Beograd|
|3 Predrag Spasić||24||Partizan Beograd|
|4 Slobodan Marović||25||Crvena Zvezda|
|5 Faruk Hadžibegić (c)||32||Sochaux|
|6 Andrej Panadić||20||Dinamo Zagreb|
|7 Robert Prosinečki||20||Crvena Zvezda|
|8 Dragoljub Brnović||26||Metz|
|9 Dejan Savićević||23||Crvena Zvezda|
|10 Dragan Stojković||24||Crvena Zvezda|
|11 Milan Janković||sub 64'||29||Anderlecht|
|x Fahrudin Omerović||28||Partizan Beograd|
|x Budimir Vujačić||25||Partizan Beograd|
|x Andrej Panadić||20||Dinamo Zagreb|
|15 Zvonimir Boban||on 64'||21||Dinamo Zagreb|
|x Davor Šuker||21||Dinamo Zagreb|
After the introduction of Boban.
Brazil had switched from 5-3-2 to 4-3-3 at the start of the second half:
On a sunny afternoon in João Pessoa, it is the home side to kick the game into life, as the forward duo of Romário and Bebeto take two attempts to get the event going. There had been a minute’s silence preceeding the kick-off, though there’s no explanation as to why via the Yugoslavian commentator. The pitch appears dry and bumpy in patches, and at times players will prove to struggle somewhat in getting the ball under control.
Within 20 seconds, a parachutist will be landing near the centre circle in the Brazilian half of the pitch. This happened whilst the ball was in play, so the Italian referee would have to resume play through a drop of the ball between Josimar and Marović. The parachutist had evacuated the field of play impressively quickly, and he might have been part of a pre kick-off show to amuse the crowd. However, the timing of his arrival could have been more accurate. Once he’s gone and play has resumed, Brazil will go about their plight to keep the ball amongst themselves.
One could’ve been forgiven for thinking this would be a feast of a match with goal chances galore, but fact is that quite the opposite would happen, despite the huge number of highly skilled individuals in both camps. Yugoslavia had impressed throughout their qualification campaign, though manager Osim appeared to first and foremost have set his troops up not to concede. It was clear from early on that they were in a 5-4-1 formation, where the ever dependable Hadžibegić, indeed captaining the side, was performing in the libero role. Just ahead of him in the heart of the visitors defence were man-markers Spasić and the young Panadić. The former seemed to keep to the right of Hadžibegić, and so would often come in contact with Bebeto, who was the more left-sided of the two Brazilian strikers. Keeping a watchful eye on the PSV goalscoring sensation that was Romário, was Panadić, appearing at national team level for only the second time, making his first start. Both of the visitors’ man-markers were mountainous compared to the two nimble forwards they had been instructed to keep quiet.
Yugoslavia’s full-backs were Stanojković on the right and Marović along the left. The former seemed to enjoy a lot more attacking freedom than the latter, as there would often be much more space ahead of Stanojković along his right hand side. This was due to the fact that Stojković in the original right-sided midfield position certainly was not tied down just to this side of the pitch, whilst Marović was most of the time accompanied by Brnović along the left hand side. Both full-backs would be up against attacking home wing-backs, with Josimar attempting to trot forward and into Marović’ territory, and with the slightly more raffined Mazinho getting forward along Stanojković’ side.
In midfield, Yugoslavia had players of the highest calibre, and young playmaker Prosinečki was already, at the age of 20, coming into the reckoning as someone to look out for. The fair-haired Red Star player was a feature in the centre, slightly to the left of Anderlecht based Janković, a tall, physically strong midfield player, who true to Balkan footballing traditions was also not foreign to holding on to the ball even when players from the opposing team were doing their best to close him down. Janković probably realized that he was still not quite as gifted as neither Prosinečki nor Stojković, but he seemed to complement them both well in the centre of the pitch. He would be sitting somewhat deeper than both Prosinečki and, in particular, the roaming Stojković, whose position as the right-sided midfielder was just an indication, not a blueprint, of his location. These three were all very capable of keeping the ball among themselves, and against most teams in the world they would’ve set out to dominate possession, but playing Brazil in Brazil, manager Osim more than anything was looking for safety first. Yugoslavia would often concede possession and sit deep, waiting for the opportunity to catch the home side on the counter.
Up front, the visitors had Savićević in a lone forward role. Probably not particularly known for his strength in shielding the ball and bringing others into play, Savićević sought to wander from side to side, coming into contact with all three of the home side’s central defenders at various points. There were times when the striker was isolated, though, and perhaps could his mobility have been even better. Yugoslavia did struggle to give examples of their lighteningly quick breaks, but one should not rule out the possibility of the heat playing a factor. For big portions of the game, the tempo is at a pedestrian level.
Home team’s tactics
Brazil will have feared no one at this point, and certainly not playing in front of a home audience. Under Lazaroni, they too had been adopting something of a more cautious approach, especially compared to what had been seen from earlier World Cup editions, although they had also appeared in Mexico in ’86 as a fairly solid unit even defensively, having been kept together in midfield by the often unpraised Elzo. In something of a similar role in this team was Italy based hard man Dunga, appearing as the deep man in Brazil’s three player strong midfield unit. Dunga was capable of breaking up the opposition’s attacks, nip them in the bud so to speak, and he was also useful in distribution, at times being an attacking weapon himself when aiming 40 yard passes in the direction of either forward. Around and slightly ahead of him were Silas (right) and Geovani, both fairly similar types of players with a low centre of gravity and equipped with fine close control. The drawback appeared to be that they could both at times be a tad static; both were clearly more comfortable with the ball at their feet rather than in making probing runs off the ball deep into enemy territory. This would thrust a whole lot of attacking responsibility on to the two strikers.
At the back, Brazil sat with an elegant libero in Mauro Galvão, captain of this edition of the Seleção. Immediately around him were Ricardo Rocha (right) and the young André Cruz. The latter was an assured player on the ball even at his young age, and he thrived when the opportunity to cross the halfway line arose. Rocha, too, would frequently venture into the opposition’s half, teaming up with Josimar and Silas along the home side’s right. The defensive nature of the opponent almost gave Rocha the look of an attacking full-back at times, although this was surely Josimar’s role. Josimar had come into the attention of a global audience during the 1986 World Cup, but he would live a much more muted existence this time around, rarely contributing to much in ways of an attacking threat. It could be suspected that the presence of Brnović, a defensively strong player, to the left in the Yugoslavian midfield was meant to prevent the Brazilian right wing-back from having it all his own way.
The home left-back was Mazinho, who had featured along the opposite side during the Copa América triumph earlier in the year. Mazinho was such a reliable performer, easily at home on either side. He had a style of play which almost made him look lazy, though he was certainly effective, even in coming forward, although his nature was not as attacking as Josimar’s. He could suddenly explode to life in quick, almost stealthy runs along his side, though link-up play between him, André Cruz and Geovani was perhaps not as coherent and well directed as it could have been.
Despite all of Brazil’s early possession, it had been the visitors who had been the first to work the opposition’s goalkeeper: Prosinečki took a short pass from Stojković and let go from 30 yards, his technique allowing him to look almost untroubled in firing a rocket from such a distance against a ‘keeper as decent as Taffarel. The young playmaker’s effort saw a comfortable catch by the Brazil stopper, despite the venom with which Prosinečki’s shot had been struck. At the other end, Silas had tried to feed Bebeto inside the area, though the striker’s attempted bicycle kick was far from a success, as he mishit the ball, and the visitors could clear their lines.
Seeking a spark
As the half progresses, there is not a lot of tactical candies that the audience is exposed to. Both teams are lacking in creativity. Both sides play passes onto foot rather than into space. Few players are willing to make runs to try and open up gaps in the opposing defence. Dunga in the Brazilian midfield is one of few who attempts a long range pass when he tries to search out Mazinho on one of the full-back’s ventures deep into Yugoslavian territory. The attack comes to a halt as Mazinho’s whistled off for offside. At the other end, Savićević, usually a very imaginative forward, takes the ball past Rocha inside the home penalty area, but before he can steady himself to shoot, he’s been well tackled by Brazil libero Galvão, who directs the ball safely back into the arms of Taffarel. Back at the other end again, young defender André Cruz, recently the hero as Brazil gained some kind of revenge on Italy for the 1982 World Cup exit as he scored the winner in the Bologna friendly last month, was allowed another go from free-kick after Spasić had wrestled the lightweight Bebeto to the ground less than 25 yards out. Cruz’ effort flies over on this occasion. All of this happens on and just beyond the 20 minute mark.
Yugoslavia clearly have a huge amount of respect for the Brazilians, and they are unable to muster any of their trademark counters. They toil through their two Red Star playmakers Prosinečki and Stojković, but the Brazilian midfield is strong in their pressure, and usually the home side will regain possession quickly. However, when up against such a disciplined and numerous defence, and without players being willing or able to make runs off the ball, there’s little they too can do in ways of carving out openings. He who has an eye for tactical dispositions rarely finds any game dull, but this match certainly fails to ignite. By the time the tenacious Dunga has a go from around 30 yards with his weaker left foot, the midfielder’s rolled his socks down and removed any shin pads which had been there. A sign of better times? Hardly. There’s more than 13 minutes to go until half time, and a Josimar run deep along the right, a Janković tackle in the centre circle, anything is wanted to try and take this game out of its tedious rhythm.
Rare shot on target
20 year young Cruz has a decent half, and is one of few players capable of doing anything beyond the ordinary. On 38 minutes, he advances ball at feet to around 25 yards out before finding Bebeto around the edge of the penalty area. The forward is with his back to the goal, but for once not heavily marked by the rugged Spasić, and he is able to spin on the proverbial six pence and fire a shot on target which Ivković is equal to. The goalkeeper has to beat it away, but it falls kindly to the visiting defence, and Brazil are unable to capitalize on any follow-up. It is hardly pulse-raising material, but at least it is an effort on target. Praise must go to the visitors for the way that they maintain their discipline and composure, although it hardly seems the greatest challenge with the way that Brazil play, unable to move the ball around at pace. As referee D’Elia brings proceedings to an end exactly on 45 minutes, it is almost a relief. The second half can only be an improvement.
As the two teams reappear for the start of the second period, it becomes clear that Josimar, well away from any of the spectacular form that he showed during the 1986 World Cup, had been substituted. On for him had come a forward in the shape of Müller, something which would surely mean a change in tactics from Lazaroni. And that was indeed the case, as they switched from their unnecessarily defensive 5-3-2 formation and into a more suitable, taking the defensive nature of the opposition into account, 4-3-3. This saw Rocha move into a full-back role along the right, with libero Galvão, who had lead a quiet opening 45 minutes at the heart of the Brazil defence, now only accompanied in the centre by the imposing figure of André Cruz. Substitute Müller had been brought on to play alongside the existing two forwards, and surely, this would see a more adventurous Brazil take the game even stronger to the visitors?
Brazil more direct
While the start of the second half, instigated through Janković and Savićević as the pair sees to kick-off, will hardly go down in footballing history as a period of time which revolutioned world football, the first few minutes see a clear improvement to the sleepy pattern of the opening half. Brazil have quite evidently been instructed to try and get in behind the Yugoslavian defence, something which was desperately lacking from their modus operandi during the first 45. Only inside the first minute there’s two attempts of home players seeking to play each other through, as Romário first wants to tread Bebeto in behind, and then Mazinho searches for Romário. Both tries are thwarted by the visitors’ goalkeeper Ivković. In the first half Yugoslavia had not left much space for the home side to exploit at all, and was this opening minute just a case of sloppiness? Perhaps. Or perhaps not, as Brazil would no less than three further times soon after look to break through the middle, where Spasić and Panadić were perhaps not quite as tight to their opponents as they ought to have done. However, the introduction of a third Brazilian forward looked to have caused some uncertainty in the visitors’ rear lines, as there was no one sitting on the player free through the middle. Invariably early doors, both Romário and Müller would come slightly deep, whilst Bebeto was still keeping him towards the left, predominantly engaging Spasić still.
Visitors could’ve tweaked their midfield tactics?
Within five-six minutes of the restart, Brazil have sought to penetrate through the centre on no less than five occasions, so the earlier signs were no fluke. Through the added means of a third forward, they were now wanting to take advantage of Yugoslavia libero Hadžibegić’ distance to his two fellow central defenders. Particularly the young Panadić seemed lost in bewilderment as to what to do now that there was all of a sudden another home forward to pay attention to. And why was the visitors’ central midfield not dropping deeper to help pick either Romário or Müller up? Janković might have been the more restricted of the four, attacking wise, during the first half, but he was hardly your typical anchor man; he was not the great tackler you would’ve wanted to break up the opponent’s play. His play was rather based on solid positioning and a wish to be on the ball and assist in distribution. This could’ve seemed somewhat futile given the fact that Prosinečki and Stojković were in his vicinity, both players more than keen on directing operations themselves. As André Cruz, one of few performers who had given a fine account of themselves even during the laxidaisical first half, was allowed more or less a free run from just inside the Yugoslavian half and all the way through to the byline, a clearly annoyed Hadžibegić, who had accompanied Cruz as soon as the Brazil defender burst into the penalty area, sought reassurance from his team mates that this kind of individualism would have to be more efficiently dealt with higher in the pitch, where Stojković had looked less interested in putting in a challenge. In fact, quite a few players appeared to have only a remote appetite for the match. The hosts’ Romário was another one.
Unfortunately, or perhaps even luckily, given the rather drab nature of the game, our tape from the match has a hole of six minutes and 12 seconds missing from the second half. There’s a fall-out after around seven minutes, just prior to André Cruz’ inspired run on the ball through to the byline, and it could be suspected that this is when the gap occurs. By the time the screen clock shows 15 minutes, these six minutes are missing. Not that we’re likely to have missed an awful lot, and there’s also not been any further substitutions by this time. Oh, and by the way, André Cruz’ cross as he made it to the goalline had surpassed Bebeto as his only team mate in the six yard area. Yugoslavia had easily managed to regain control.
Home side’s midfield
Where’s the Brazilian midfield so far in this match? Not an awful lot has been seen of neither Geovani nor Silas, players supposedly capable of dictating play. In fact, Dunga has kept the ball to a greater extent than what either of the two somewhat more advanced members of the home side’s midfield have done, something which could be suspected of not being part of their tactics. However, perhaps was it part of Yugoslavian orders to allow Dunga time and space on the ball rather than the two others. As has been commented, Stojković interest in the game does not appear monstrous, whilst Janković also rarely gets out of second gear. Prosinečki, still only 20 and surely young enough to have a zest for anything when wearing the national team jersey, is the one midfielder inspired enough to give chase. He seems to not give Silas much scope. The idea could be similar with Janković keeping an eye on Geovani, though to a lesser extent. Just after 63 minutes, Yugoslavia replace Janković with another 20 year old: Dinamo Zagreb’s highly talented Boban. The substitute slots straight into Janković’ position next to Prosinečki in the centre.
Rare Yugoslavia counter
The initial confusion in the Yugoslavian defence at the start of the second half appeared to have died down, perhaps also owing something to Romário’s lack of tenacity. Brazil had been unable to muster any clear cut openings so far, and although the match did carry a slightly more significant nerve compared to the first half, proceedings were still not rocketing. We do not know the temperatures in João Pessoa this day, but it could have been hot, something which would go a long way to explaining why the match was of such a slow order. The visitors are not causing the hosts any troubles on the counter yet, though halfway through the half there’s a sudden opportunity for Prosinečki to fire a shot at goal from inside the penalty area when Yugoslavia have broken forward with interest. Stojković is on the ball in his more right-sided role, and visionary as few others, he spots his midfield comrade unmarked towards the left of centre inside the area. The pass is precise, and Prosinečki even proceeds to get the ball under control quickly. However, his shot is too high and clears Taffarel’s bar with some margin. It had been struck with venom, yet it did not test the home ‘keeper. Brazil could’ve been punished, but they had escaped what was probably Yugoslavia’s best opening in the match yet.
Lazaroni with a second change
In the wake of this opportunity for the overseas visitors, Lazaroni decides that he’s seen enough of Romário, and takes his forward off and replaces him with Tita, who is another one of their contingent of Italy based players. Physically, Tita will not give Brazil anything they were already lacking, as he is yet another one with a rather slender frame, though he’s a couple of inches taller than the man whom he had replaced. With the introduction of Tita, Bebeto seems to switch to a right-sided forward role, freeing the substitute to appear towards the left, and with Müller looking to assist them through the middle.
Three minutes after his previous opportunity, yet another chance to have a pop at goal will come Prosinečki’s way. Savićević has made a mazy run into the penalty area from the left, having rounded Galvão, and he spots his team mate in the centre. The midfield starlet appears in a fine position for a shot, but he takes too long to get the ball under control, and André Cruz can close him down and easily block what is eventually a meagre effort as Brazil again clear their lines. However, it had been twice within a short space of time that Yugoslavia had threatened. Was there a switch in momentum by now? Not that there had been much momentum to discuss in the first place. Let’s rephrase the question: Had this been down to the introduction of Boban in their midfield? So far it did not seem so, although he was perhaps more mobile than Janković, looking to make himself available as the right-sided central midfielder. He had not been involved in either move leading up to Prosinečki’s two opportunities, though.
Tita had been the latest addition to the three-pronged Brazilian attacking line, and he was looking to make a nuisance of himself as he tried to break into the Yugoslavian penalty area from his somewhat left-sided forward role. However, any inroads attempted from this position was efficiently dealt with by the visitors’ captain, as Hadžibegić used his body strength to unsettle Tita. Moments after, Ivković’ poor throw in the direction of Stojković allows Mazinho to gain control of the ball high in the pitch, although the full-back can not quite take advantage despite his run and cross from a position level with the edge of the penalty area. He swings his pass behind the goalline. Somehow, this sums up the game so far: Promise was there, but in end product there was none.
Lazaroni’s next throw of the dice is bringing young midfielder Bismarck into the action. He does so in taking the disappointing Silas off. Silas looked to be playing more towards the left of centre since the start of the second half, with Geovani appearing to have switched positions with his fellow midfielder. However, it had had next to no effect, and whilst Geovani at least appeared to have a wish to be on the ball, Silas had mainly gone hiding and not carried out any influence at all. Perhaps could Bismarck change the outline of the match? Not that anyone in attendance would have been hoping for miracles, as there had been too many disappointments by now. There was only about a quarter of an hour left for play, and the affair had been a very tedious one. The scoreline would have been encouraging the visitors, who had shipped four goals on their last visit to the vast South American country, though.
Strangely, Tita looks to come into an attacking midfield position rather than continue out towards the left after Bismarck’s introduction. It will rather be Bismarck who steps into the forward role for the remainder of the match. Not that it makes much of a difference anyway, as the game seems beyond repair at this stage. The second half’s been a minor improvement on the poor first half showing, and though it had again been the home side in the driver’s seat, they had been unable to create much in ways of trouble for Ivković. It had rather been down the other end where Prosinečki twice had got into shooting positions where there had been greater danger. Though as he had failed to test Taffarel on either opportunity, 0-0 seemed a perfectly fit result for this game.
Brazil with a major opportunity right at the end
In the dying minutes, there’s another chance for Brazil to have a go from a free-kick just outside the Yugoslavian penalty area after Marović had brought Bismarck’s run irregularly to an end. Whereas André Cruz had wasted an earlier set piece in the second half, his second wayward free-kick of the game, it would be Bebeto to have a go on this occasion. However, he could as well have left it to a random spectator to shoot, as Bebeto’s effort was hit straight into the defensive wall. Shortly after, Dunga hits a missile from all of 30 yards with his left foot, and though it has a lot of venom, it is directed straight at Ivković, who gathers comfortably. And then, right at the death, comes the great opportunity that the home crowd have been waiting for all afternoon as Geovani hits a long ball in behind the Yugoslavian defence. He’d spotted Bebeto’s run, and the striker connects when clean through and only with Ivković to beat, but the ball strikes the foot of the post. As it rebounds back out into play, Panadić can clear the ball away for a throw. It is the last piece of action before the referee calls an end to the game. It would probably have been unjust on the visitors to lose it in the final seconds, as they had defended well, yet without having to break much sweat due to the dire nature of proceedings.
A goalless draw was indeed a fit result for a game low in intensity and quality. With so many highly skilled individuals on display, it was a huge disappointment that only a couple of chances were created by the total of 26 players in action. André Cruz had probably been the best player on the pitch, and the young defender had sought to replicate his dream goal from the previous month as Brazil had won in Italy, but his two set piece efforts had both cleared the bar on this occasion. Bebeto then could have won it right at the end as his effort hit the upright. Yugoslavia’s best chance had fallen to Prosinečki, whose second half effort from inside the area had gone over. The game had been a disappointment, possibly due to strong heat, and it is unlikely that either manager would have had any answers to questions that they would have had pre-match.
1 Taffarel 6.6
next to nothing to do
2 Josimar 6.0
fell victim to tactics or to his own limitations? Hardly involved during his 45 minutes
(16 Müller 6.7
at least shows a bit of excitement)
3 André Cruz 7.4
best player on the pitch, defended well and rich in attacking initiative
4 Mauro Galvão 6.8
5 Mazinho 7.2
very tidy job along the left
6 Ricardo Rocha 7.0
rock solid in both his roles
7 Bebeto 6.9
committed in his attempts to wrestle free from the shackles which Spasić had put on him
8 Dunga 6.9
not for a lack of trying
9 Geovani 6.7
often too one-paced but with decent distribution
10 Silas 6.4
never really gets going
(14 Bismarck –
has an excellent run to win an attacking free-kick)
11 Romário 6.1
only looks remotely interested
(15 Tita 6.5
doesn’t make much of a difference, though far less static than his predecessor)
1 Ivković 6.9
does what is asked of him, though twice somewhat slow off his line
2 Stanojković 6.8
was not always helped out defensively, and had a wish to participate in the attacking half
3 Spasić 6.8
decent job on Bebeto, using his muscles to fine effect
4 Marović 6.7
relatively comfortable defensively, could’ve contributed more going forward
5 Hadžibegić 6.8
solely a defensive focus; always the last line of defence
6 Panadić 6.8
kept things simple. Easy job against a disinterested Romário
7 Prosinečki 6.9
the better Yugoslavia midfielder
8 D Brnović 6.7
patrolled the left hand side without much fuss
9 Savićević 6.8
an almost impossible job alone up front
10 Stojković 6.6
at times showed glimpses of his quality, but too often displayed a lack of interest
11 Janković 6.5
rarely breaks out of first gear
(15 Boban 6.7
a step up from the man he replaced with a lot more running)