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The 1990 FIFA World Cup was the 14th FIFA World Cup, a quadrennial football tournament national teams. It was held from 8 June to 8 July 1990 in Italy, the second country to host the event for a second time (the first being Mexico in 1986). 22 teams qualified, along with host nation Italy and defending champions Argentina.
The 1990 World Cup is widely regarded as one of the poorest World Cups in terms of the games. It generated an average 2.2 goals per game – a record low that still stands – and a then-record 16 red cards, including the first ever dismissal in a final. Regarded as being the World Cup that has had perhaps the most lasting influence on the game as a whole, and it saw the introduction of the pre-match Fair Play Flag (then inscribed with "Fair Play Please") to encourage fair play. Defensive tactics led to the introduction of the back-pass rule in 1992 and three points for a win instead of two at future World Cups. The tournament also produced some of the World Cup's best remembered moments and stories, including the emergence of African nations, in addition to what has become the World Cup soundtrack: "Nessun dorma".
The 1990 World Cup stands as one of the most watched events in television history, garnering an estimated 26.69 billion non-unique viewers over the course of the tournament. This was the first World Cup to be officially recorded and transmitted in HDTV by the Italian broadcaster RAI in association with Japan's NHK. The huge success of the broadcasting model has also had a lasting impact on the sport. At the time it was the most watched World Cup in history in non-unique viewers, but was of course bettered by the 1994 and 2002 World Cups.
The finals where won by West Germany over Argentina 1-0.