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World Cup Weekly: A Look Back at World Cup USA 1994 (Part Two)

Last week we weighed in with some facts and figures from the 1994 World Cup in the USA.  This week, we add even more.  What game was the best?  Which goal was the best?  What were the most memorable moments on the USA's trek to the second round?  Debate these questions no more, because what follows are the unassailable answers to these questions, as well as many more facts and figures from the 1994 World Cup in the United States.

Top Five Games of WC USA'94
1. Brazil vs. Holland - Quarterfinals (Dallas, Texas on July 9)
A beautiful display of soccer from two of the most skillful teams in the tournament, Brazil holds off a late offensive surge by the Dutch to post a thrilling 3-2 victory at the Cotton Bowl.
2. Korea Republic vs. Spain - First Round (Dallas, Texas on June 17)
Germany vs. Korea Republic - First Round (Dallas, Texas on June 27)
Korea Republic came back from a 2-0 deficit with five minutes remaining to tie Spain at the Cotton Bowl.  It was the latest two-goal comeback in World Cup history. 
Germany explodes in the first half and jumps out to a 3-0 lead, but wilt in the Texas heat and fade in the second half.  The Korea Republic scores twice, but the experienced Europeans withstand a final barrage for a 3-2 win at the Cotton Bowl.
3. USA vs. Colombia - First Round (Pasadena, Calif. on June 22)
The USA's best game of the '94 World Cup sees the Americans eliminate pre-tournament favorites Colombia 2-1 in front of a packed Rose Bowl. 
4. Romania vs. Argentina - Round of 16 (Pasadena, Calif. on July 3) 
Romania wins a 3-2 thriller over Argentina in a game dominated by end-to-end action at the Rose Bowl.  The Maradona-less Argentines, who had been so promising in the early going of the tournament, are sent home early.
5. Italy vs. Nigeria - Round of 16 (Foxboro, Mass. on July 5)
Roberto Baggio kick starts Italy's run to the final with an 88th-minute equalizer and then a penalty-kick goal in overtime.

Top Five Goals of WC USA '94
1. Saeed Owairan
 (Saudi Arabia vs. Belgium, June 29) - Brilliant solo dribbling effort in a 1-0 first round win over Belgium in Washington, D.C.
2. Juergen Klinnsman (Germany vs. South Korea on June 27) - Flicks the ball up to himself, turns and fires in a volley in the 3-2 first round victory over Korea Republic in Dallas, Texas.
3. Gheorghe Hagi (Romania vs. Colombia on June 18) - Expecting a cross, Hagi sees the goalkeeper off his line and scores from deep on the left wing in a 3-1 first round win over Colombia in Pasadena, Calif.
4. Roberto Baggio (Italy vs Bulgaria on July 13) - Creates something out of nothing with a sublime strike from outside the penalty box in the 2-1 semifinal win over Bulgaria in East Rutherford, N.J.
5. Eric Wynalda (USA vs. Switzerland on June 18) - Fires a free-kick rocket from 28 yards out into the upper right corner of the goal to help the U.S. to a 1-1 first-round tie with Switzerland in Detroit, Mich.

Top Five U.S. National Team Moments of WC USA'94
1. Earnie Stewart scoring the game-winner in the USA's 2-1 victory over Colombia in Pasadena, Calif. on June 22, all but ensuring a second-round berth for the host Americans.
2. Marcelo Balboa's near-miss bicycle kick goal vs. Colombia in Pasadena, Calif. on June 22.  Arguably the most famous near-goal in World Cup history.
3. Eric Wynalda's perfect free-kick equalizer in the USA's 1-1 tie against Switzerland in the team's tournament opener in Detroit, Mich. on June 18.
4. Alexi Lalas hits a screaming half-volley strike against Colombia that should be whistled as the USA's third goal, but amazingly the goal is waved off due to offside.
5. Tab Ramos is elbowed and knocked out of the game by Brazil's Leonardo in the USA's July 4th Round of 16 match against Brazil in Palo Alto, Calif.

Top Five Tournament Moments of WC USA'94
1. July 17 - Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif. - Roberto Baggio leads Italy to the World Cup final, where he misses the deciding penalty kick to give Brazil the Championship at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. on July 17.
2.  June 28 - Stanford Stadium, Palo Alto - In a game that seemingly means nothing, Oleg Salenko notches a World-Cup record five goals for Russia in a 6-1 trouncing of Cameroon in a match featuring two teams who don't advance out of the first round.
3. Diego Maradona leads Argentina to two wins in the first two games, and then gets tossed from the tournament after testing positive for a banned substance.  Argentina losses their next two games and leave the U.S. empty-handed.
4. July 9 - Dallas, Texas - The Brazilian strikeforce of Romario and Bebeto lead Brazil to the final, and they come up with one of the tournament's more memorable goal celebrations along the way.  After Bebeto scored a key goal against Holland, the duo celebrated by "Rocking the Cradle" to honor his newborn son.
5.  Hristo Stoichkov leads Bulgaria to their first-ever World Cup semifinal appearance with a number of memorable goals and an amazing upset of defending champion Germany in the quarterfinals.

Golden Ball
(top player): Romario (Brazil)
Golden Boot (top scorer): Oleg Salenko (Russia), 6 goals, 1 assist 
Hristo Stoitchkov (Bulgaria), 6 goals, 1 assist
Yashin Prize (best goalkeeper):   Michel Preud’Homme (Belgium)
Fair Play Award: Brazil