FLASHBACK: IT’S 30 YEARS SINCE CAMEROON PULLED WORLD CUP BIGGEST UPSET

FLASHBACK: IT’S 30 YEARS SINCE CAMEROON PULLED WORLD CUP BIGGEST UPSET

BY KUNLE SOLAJA

On this date 8 June 1990 at the famous Giuseppe Meazza Stadium which is better known as the San Siro Stadium, Cameroon shocked, not just the World Cup defending champions, Argentina, but the entire globe when they finished with nine men on the pitch and yet defeated the Diego Maradona-powered Argentina 1-0 in the opening match of the Italia ’90.

It was the first World Cup match I watched flesh and blood in a streak of eight consecutive tournaments till Russia 2018.

I could still hear my self talking loud at the press tribune of San Siro Stadium: “I ‘ve been to the mountain top, I’ve been to mountain top”, as I saw Diego Maradona leading the Argentines to the pitch”.

Other journalists around could not understand the excitement erupting from me as it could have been in a dream that I beheld the legendary Maradona.

Before then, I had only seen his images in publications and on television. The sadness that had hitherto enveloped me having had to ‘lose’ a whopping $600 suddenly disappeared.

‘If the price I had to pay to see Maradona for the first time was the missing $600, it was money well spent’ I silently consoled myself.

In the match played exactly 30 years ago today, was arguably the greatest upset in World Cup history, pushing off the shelf, the famous 1-0 defeat of England by USA, forty years earlier in Brazil.

The 67th minute towering, but weak header by François Omam-Biyik, which squirmed through the grasp of Argentina’s goalkeeper, Nery Pumpido, decided the game.

Argentina’s Néstor Sensini (left), Juan Simón and Néstor Lorenzo (right) look on in disbelief as François Omam-Biyik heads home for Cameroon.

Though not the first ever win by an African team at the World Cup, it was the most important in deciding the increased number of African teams allowed at the World Cup.

Before Cameroon’s defeat of Argentina, Tunisia had in 1978 in Argentina, came from a goal down to beat Mexico 3-1.

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