Happy 49th Birthday to Inter Milan, Ac Milan, Juventus and Italy legend, Roberto Baggio. He won the European Footballer of the Year (“Ballon d’Or”) and FIFA World Player of the Year in 1993.
Since its #ThrowbackThursday, www.sportsration.com looks back to one of his greatest moments and sadly a bad moment for Nigerian football.
Just when it came time to say, “Ciao, baby,” Italy, somehow, some way, reached the World Cup quarterfinals at Foxboro Stadium.
With all the intrigue of Italian opera, the Azzurri finally ascended, whereas Nigeria disappeared, victim of inexperience and, perhaps, stage fright.
Italy defeated Nigeria, 2-1, in a game that turned exciting the moment Baggio emerged from a three-match stupor. Baggio scored in the 89th minute to tie the score, then made a penalty kick in the 102nd minute before 54,367 in the tournament’s first overtime match.
It happened so quickly that Nigeria, the African champion, was left reeling, wondering how it had lost. “(We) had it in our hands,” said Finidi George, a Nigerian midfielder. “It’s something I’m going to remember the rest of my life.”
“The World Cup begins now, not just for myself but for Italy,” Baggio said.