1994 FIFA World Cup United States
The ball: Questra
The winner: Brazil
The runners-up: Italy
The difference maker: Brazil’s Romario received the Golden Ball, given to the premier player in the finals, and earned it after scoring the only goal in the last four match with Sweden, one of five he collected for the tournament, each delivered when his team needed it most. He found the back of the net in all three group stage matches and against Holland in the quarterfinals. Romario also set up compatriot Bebito to give Brazil a 1-0 victory against the United States in the first knockout round.
The lasting memory: This tournament set an average attendance record, some 69,000 strong, that stands to this day and total attendance, 3.6 million, even though subsequent tournaments featured more games and more teams. The competition gave birth to Major League Soccer and set the United States, which bowed owed honorably to eventual champions Brazil in the Round of 16, on a path to soccer success.
The final in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., a rematch of the 1970 decider, was the first to end in a scoreless draw and to be decided by penalty kicks. Striker Roberto Baggio, Italy’s player of the tournament up until the final, when he gutted it out while being hampered by a hamstring injury, holds the unfortunate distinction of blazing the final kick over the crossbar and well into the stands to give Brazil its fourth World Cup™ trophy.