Argentina's Diego Maradona gets past West Germany's Lothar Matthaus. EMPICS Sport
class of 2014

Cast of World Cup final characters eerily similar to Italia '90

Germany and Argentina are relying on many of the same player types that got them within 90 minutes of glory 24 years ago.

GERMANY AND ARGENTINA meet in a World Cup final, on Sunday, for the first time in 24 years. Since both countries battled it out at Stadio Olimpico in Italia ’90, only Germany [2002] have reached the final since.

Germany’s route to the final has been similar to that of 1990, with narrow wins mixed with thumping victories. Argentina’s class of ’90 dug and scratched their way to the final while the current crop won five matches in a row before seeing off the Netherlands in a penalty shoot-out.

Both teams contain players that are very similar to their predecessors. Argentina’s workmanlike team put in the hard yards to service their star man, Lionel Messi, while Germany possess a team of superstars who are experienced European Cup campaigners. Here are three players from each of the 1990 finallists and their modern day equivalents.


Sergio Goycochea and Sergio Romero

Soccer - FIFA World Cup 2014 - Semi Final - Netherlands v Argentina - Arena de Sao Paulo PA Wire / Press Association Images PA Wire / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

Goycochea was reserve goalkeeper to Nery Pumpido before the Argentine broke his leg in his team’s match against the Soviet Union. Goycochea stepped in and proved a fine shot-stopper and a penalty shoot-out hero, much like AS Monaco number two Romero.

Oscar Ruggeri and Ezequiel Garay 

Soccer - FIFA World Cup Italia 90 - Semi Final - Italy v Argentina - Stadio San Paolo, Naples EMPICS Sport EMPICS Sport

‘El Cabezón’ [the big-headed one] played all of his club football in Argentina and was part of the 1986 World Cup-winning team. He was a rock at the centre of defence, much as Garay has proved during this tournament. The 27-year-old is currently ranked highest in FIFA’s tournament stats for interceptions and clearances.

Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi

Soccer - FIFA World Cup 2014 - Semi Final - Netherlands v Argentina - Arena de Sao Paulo Nick Potts Nick Potts

Both No.10′s are talismen for their teams. Maradona inspired his country to World Cup success in 1986 but, due to some extremely close/illegal marking tactics, was subdued in 1990. Messi was underwhelming in 2010 but has come to the fore in this tournament with four goals. Looked quiet in the semi-final but greatness awaits in Rio.


Andreas Brehme and Philipp Lahm

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Brehme, who was taking a wage from Inter Milan at the time, was west Germany’s match-winner at Italia ’90 with an 85th minute penalty. Playing primarily as a left-back, Brehme could also fill in at centre and left midfield. As current Germany captain, Lahm began the tournament in midfield but has dropped back to his strongest position right-back. Has a pass completion rate of 87%.

Lothar Matthaus and Toni Kroos

Soccer - FIFA World Cup 2014 - Semi Final - Brazil v Germany - Estadio Mineirao PA Wire / Press Association Images PA Wire / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

Matthaus was another of the Inter Milan triumvirate [Klinsmann was No.3] and he was imperious throughout Italia ’90. A goal-scoring midfielder who stepped up for set-pieces and never turned down a long-range pop on goal. Kroos has grown as the tournament progressed, is rarely flustered in possession, have a pass completion rate of 85% and popped up with a brace in the 7-1 win over Brazil.

Jürgen Klinsmann and Thomas Müller

Soccer - World Cup Italia 90 - Group D - West Germany v United Arab Emirates EMPICS Sport EMPICS Sport

In 108 games for West Germany and Germany, Klinsmann scored 47 goals. After showing early promise in U21 and Olympic teams, Klinsmann was 22 when he made his full debut. His work-rate was often underrated and he was prolific at major tournaments.  Müller has scored 22 goals in 55 Germany games — 10 of them have arrived in World Cup fixtures. Has a reputation for embellishing fouls and getting under opponent’s skin [see: Pepé]. Delivers when it counts and will work tirelessly for the greater good of the team.

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