Beppe Bergomi admits his biggest Italy regret was losing the 1990 World Cup semi-final to Argentina. “I’d play it in Rome rather than Naples.”
The former Inter veteran was in the team that looked destined to lift the trophy on home soil in Italia ’90, sweeping through to the semi-final against Diego Maradona’s Argentina.
It was played at the Stadio San Paolo in Naples, where Maradona was treated as an icon by home supporters, and Bergomi believes that split in the crowd is what cost them.
“There are two games in my career I’d like to play over again. The first was Inter-Bayern Munich, which we lost 3-1 after winning the first leg 2-0 with a Nicola Berti brace at the Olympiastadion.
“The other is the 1990 World Cup semi-final against Argentina. In that situation, I’d play it in Rome – where there was a fantastic atmosphere – rather than in Naples.
“Diego Maradona was incredible on the field, and let’s not forget at the time defenders were allowed to give the opposition forwards a good kicking, it wasn’t like nowadays when they are protected and you can’t touch them. Football has changed. Maradona never said anything when he was kicked, he’d just get back and keep playing.
“However, there was a strange atmosphere in that stadium, very different to the one we’d experienced in Rome. It’s an international, they should’ve just cheered for Italy, but it was strange.”
The game ended 1-1 after 90 minutes and extra time, Argentina eventually winning a penalty shoot-out.
The South Americans went on to lose the Final to West Germany, while Italy saw off England for third place in Bari.