After an enthralling tournament which had featured 114 goals in 51 games, Italia' 90 concluded with what is considered by Paul Breitner as the greatest World Cup final in history. The West Germans were expected to run amok against the industrious Agentines, who had prospered with five goals in six games, collected 19 red cards and won every game by penalty shootout. Unlike Ireland they did manage to win two games. West Germany on the other hand had run up 14 goals, 13 of them against the United Arab Emirates in the first round, which featured Uwe Bein who has not been heard from since.
The final spectacle featured one shot all night by Argentina, who had one player on the field as part of a complicated rotation system. Bodo Illgner let Thomas Berthold play keeper as Voeller contrived to miss 45 chances for the West Germans. So dull were Argentina that the crowd of 18,678 were left asking themselves how Ireland had made the final, after supposedly being eliminated in a 900 minute 0-0 draw against Romania. Argentina were hit by two sending offs, including Monzon and Dezotti, but by the final whistle every player had been ejected as referee Codesal waved the card around at everyone on the field.
It was decided that the West Germans should win the match 1-0 via penalty and Ray Houghton stepped up and beat U.S. keeper Tony Meola with a kick that needed to be retaken after Tony Polster stepped in the box. Following the match David May was spotted celebrating with the winners, despite not playing one minute of the campaign, much like he would in 1999 with Manchester United. Martin Tyler bemoaned the hideous match to Johnny Warren on SBS Australia and said "I know you might accuse me of international bias John, but I wish the 3rd place match had been the final." Warren replied that match was won by a cheating bastard winning a penalty also. He then recapped the attendance of the final, which now stood at 827, most of whom were Cowdenbeath fans who had mistakenly showed up expecting a pre-season match with Cremonese.
In honor of the 1990 final, Italy and Brazil one upped them with a goalless draw in 1994, with Romario missing an open goal in order to achieve this distinction.