As Italy prepared for a World Cup on home soil in 1990 – one of their star men had become something of a polarising figure.
Roberto Baggio moved from Fiorentina to Juventus for 50 million lira prior to the tournament and was out of favour with international boss Azeglio Vacini.
Baggio didn’t feature in either of the Azzurri’s first two group fixtures against Austria and the USA as they booked their place in the knockout stages with successive wins.
But he did play in the final group game against Czechoslovakia, and scored one of the all-time great World Cup goals in typically stylish fashion.
Having played a one-two on the halfway line, he reclaimed the ball and jinked his way through a helpless defence, bamboozling three opposition players before firing past the goalkeeper in a 2-0 victory.
Baggio kept his starting spot for wins against Uruguay and Ireland in the last 16 and quarter-finals respectively as the Italians blazed a trail to the last four without conceding a single goal.
But their defence was finally breached against Argentina, a game in which Baggio came on as a substitute.
It finished 1-1 after 90 minutes before the Argentines triumphed in a penalty shootout.
Baggio started the third-place playoff match against England, who had also suffered penalty heartbreak against West Germany, and scored his second goal of the tournament in a 2-1 win for the hosts.
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