England v Cameroon

1990 FIFA World Cup Quarter Final

Sunday 1st July 1990

San Paolo Stadium, Naples

Set the Scene

Cameroon were the surprise package of the 1990 World Cup in Italy, they had stunned Argentina 1-0 in the opening game of the Tournament and Qualified for the last 16 as Group B Winners and faced Colombia in the Last 16 where 38 year old Roger Milla scored twice to earn his place in World Cup history and helped Cameroon become the 1st African side to reach the last 8 of the World Cup. England had qualified from Group F as Group Winners following draws with Rep of Ireland and Netherlands before Mark Wright got the winner in a 1-0 win over Egypt. They were paired with Belgium in the last 16 and came through 1-0 thanks to an 119th Minute extra time winner from David Platt.

The Match

England were heavy favourites going into the Quarter Final tie in Naples but Cameroon were an unknown force to Bobby Robson’s men. The game started tentatively and it wasnt until the 20th Minute the first chance of the game arrived for Gary Lineker but the Spurs man blazed over the bar. It was only another 5 minutes until England took the lead and it was David Platt who headed home for the Three Lions. Cameroon remained committed to the cause and they were making plenty of robust tackles with Paul Gascoigne seemingly the man they were targeting. Gascoigne remained calm though and shrugged the attention off and England went into half time leading 1-0 with Cameroon not much of a threat.

David Platt celebrates putting England ahead in Naples

If the first was one way traffic the second was anything but, Roger Milla was brought on as a sub at the start of the half and they looked a much changed side and should have been level after 53 minutes but Thomas Nkunku fired straight at Shilton. It was Milla who was instrumental in getting the Africans level when he won a Penalty after he was brought down by Gascoigne. Emmanuel Kunde despatched the Penalty high into the net and the momentum was with Cameroon 4 minutes later in the 65th minute they were ahead and on course for a massive shock. Eugene Ekeke was played through by Milla and he lifted the ball over the oncoming Shilton.

Cameroon were just 7 minutes from the Semi Finals but they were becoming ragged and fatigue was setting in on them and England took full advantage when they were awarded a penalty after Lineker was felled and the top scorer at the 1986 World Cup dusted himself off and fired high into the net to bring England level at 2-2. Chris Waddle missed a late chance to win it for England in 90 minutes but it was to be extra time and a late finish in Naples.

Despite England finishing the stronger in normal time it was Cameroon who looked the fresher and more dangerous during the extra period but it was to be England who would find the crucial 5th and decisive goal when Gascoigne played through Lineker and he was sent spralling by a combination of defender and goalkeeper. It was Lineker again who stepped up and smashed the ball low past N’Kono in the Cameroon goal. What looked a straight forward fixture for England almost produced a massive banana skin in one of the World Cup’s most memorable matches.

Gary Lineker is Brought down to earn England an 83rd Minute Penalty



Shilton, Pearce, Walker, Parker, Wright, Butcher, Waddle, Gascoigne, Platt, Barnes, Lineker

Subs Used – Steven, Beardsley


N’Kono, Tataw, Massing, Ebwelle, Kunde, Pagal, Libiih, Fede, Mabdean, Makanaky, Omam Biyik

Subs Used – Milla, Ekeke


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