On this day: Roberto Baggio penalty miss gifts Brazil World Cup

Nineteen years ago today, Roberto Baggio lifts his penalty over the crossbar and crowns Brazil champions of the world.

Roberto Baggio played for the likes of Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan, winning Serie A titles, Coppa Italias and UEFA Cups along the way. He was even voted European Footballer of the Year in 1993.

And yet, it is what happened a year after he had picked up that award that most people instantly remember him by.

His five goals had helped Italy to reach the final of the 1994 World Cup, where they would take on Brazil. Although geographically they were not rivals, Italy were keen to right the wrongs of the humiliation that they were dealt by Pele and company back in 1970.

As finals often are, this one 19 years ago today was a damp squib. The heat in California didn't help - some have claimed that it was 110 degrees inside the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

Roberto Baggio skies his penalty during the 1994 World Cup final.© PA Photos

And so after 120 minutes of cancelling each other out, for the first time in the history of the competition the destination of the trophy would be decided on penalties.

With the score at 3-2 in favour of the Brazilians, Baggio knew that he had to score to keep his side in with a shout. Miss and Brazil would be champions of the world for a fourth time.

Everyone will recall Diana Ross's effort during the opening ceremony - well in truth, Baggio's was not much better. He went for height, and got it, but unfortunately for him and the Italian nation, the ball caused more trouble for the crowd than Claudio Taffarel in the Brazil net.

The men in yellow were jubilant, while Baggio and his ponytail stared blankly towards the turf. The 1994 World Cup had started and ended in the same way - with two extremely bad penalty kicks.

Pele
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