England Football Online
Results 1985-90                       Page Last Updated 15 May 2021


637 vs. Netherlands   
previous match (5 days)
658 vs. Republic of Ireland
next match (5 days)
660 vs. Egypt
661 vs. Belgium

662 vs. Cameroon
663 vs. West Germany

664 vs. Italy
 694 vs. Netherlands
Saturday, 16 June 1990
1990 FIFA World Cup Finals First Phase Group F match three

Netherlands 0 England 0 [0-0]

Stadio Comunale Sant'Elia, Sant'Elia, Casteddu, Sardigna, Italy
(CEST): 9.00pm 8.00pm BST
Attendance: 35,267 tickets sold

Bryan Robson kicked off   94 minutes 46:47 & 47:02
  [0-0] Gary Lineker 4-yd strike 51:22: disallowed handball
[0-0] Stuart Pearce 18-yd free-kick 91:22: disallowed
  World Cup Grandstand: Commentator: John Motson with Trevor Brooking


Officials (black)

Netherlands Squad


England Squad

Zoran Petrović
38 (10 April 1952), Beograd, Yugoslavia, FIFA-listed 1983.
15 Goal Attempts 7
5 Attempts on Target 5
Linesmen 0 Hit Bar/Post 0
Mohamed Hansal
42 (6 November 1947), Oran, Algeria
Edgardo Codesal Mend├ęz
39 (2 June 1951), Montevideo, Uruguay
13 Corner Kicks Won 3
  Offside Calls Against  
    Fouls Conceded  
The Sweeper System & Player Power - What they said.....
"So, for our second game, I decided to add a sweeper to our defensive structure, to play three defenders against two attackers, which brings me to the great myth of that World Cup, one of the great fairy stories of my career, in fact - the players' revolt. If you believe the whisperers, we switched to a sweeper system at Italia'90 at the request of the senior players. A delegation approached me, apparently, and demanded the change. Allow me to place this story where it belongs - in the realms of fiction." - Bobby Robson
"There was lots of talk in the media bout the senior players having approached Bobby Robson and demanded a change of tactics. It was not true. Any tactical adjustments made during the World Cup were made only by the manager and Don Howe. In fact, the senior players were against the idea rather than arguing for it as we had played a practice match a few days before the Holland game and we were all out at sea, losing 2-0 to the reserves."-
Terry Butcher
"Bobby Robson opted for a sweeper system against the Dutch." - Peter Shilton
"The word was that the deep-thinking Chris Waddle had influenced the choice. He was a senior player and strongly in favour of playing three at the back. It was revealed later that Bobby had made the decision a long time before. The way I remember it, Chrissie was pivotal in the decision."- Stuart Pearce

Once again in a finals tournament, Bobby Robson allegedly submitted to a version of player power, this time installing a so-called sweeper system, i.e., five at the back. - Cris Freddi, Complete Book of the World Cup

Netherlands Team

current European Champions Colours: Made by Adidas - Orange v-necked collared jersey with white Adidas trim/overlapping collar, white shorts with orange Adidas trim, orange socks with white Adidas trim.


No official ranking;
EFO ranking

ELO rating 3rd
Capt: Ruud Gullit, 25th captaincy. Manager: Leo Beenhakker, 47 (2 August 1942), appointed May 1990 for the World Cup Finals (second spell in charge after February 1985 to May 1986).
eleventh match, W 6 - D 3 - L 2 - F 18 - A 8.
Netherlands Lineup
1 van Breukelen, Johannes Franciscus 33 4 October 1956 G Philips Sport Vereniging 54 42ᵍᵃ
2 van Aerle, Hubertus A.H. 27 8 December 1962 RB Philips Sport Vereniging 24 0
3 Rijkaard, Franklin E. 27 30 September 1962 RCD AC Milan SpA, Italy 44 3
4 Koeman, Ronald 27 21 March 1963 LCD FC Barcelona, Spain 45 9
5 van Tiggelen, Adrianus 33 16 June 1957 LB RSC Anderlecht, Belgium 42 0
14 van't Schip, Johannes Nicolaas, off 75th min. 26 30 December 1963
in Fort Saint John, Canada
RAM Amsterdamsche FC Ajax 23 2
6 Wouters, Jan 29 17 July 1960 RM Amsterdamsche FC Ajax 32 3
10 (Dil) Gullit, Ruud 27 1 September 1962 CM AC Milan SpA, Italy 46 13
17 Gillhaus, Johannes P. 26 5 November 1963 LM Aberdeen FC, Scotland 3 2
11 Witschge, Richard P. 20 20 September 1969 LAM Amsterdamsche FC Ajax 6 0
9 van Basten, Marcel 25 31 October 1964 CF AC Milan SpA, Italy 37 15
Netherlands Substitutes
12 Kieft, Willem C.N., on 75th min. (74:19) for van't Schip 27 12 November 1962 RF Philips Sport Vereniging 29 10

unused substitutes:

13-Graeme Rutjes, 16-Joop Hiele, 20-Aron Winter, 21-Danny Blind.
4-5-1 van Breukelen -
van Aerle, Rijkaard, Koeman, van Tiggelen -
van't Schip (Kieft), Wouters, Gullit, Gillhaus, Witschge -
van Basten.


Age - Appearances/Goals - -


England Team



No official ranking;
EFO ranking

ELO rating 5th
Colours: The 1990 Umbro home uniform - White collared jersey with shadowed diamonds and navy collar/cuff, navy shorts with white panel and red triangle, white socks with navy tops.
Capt: Bryan Robson, 63rd captaincy
Terry Butcher, 65th min.
Manager: Robert W. Robson, 57 (18 February 1933), appointed 7 July 1982,
90th match, W 44 - D 29 - L 17 - F 147 - A 55.
England Lineup
1 Shilton, Peter L. 40 18 September 1949 G Derby County FC 120 75ᵍᵃ
most apps 1989-90
6 Butcher, Terence I. 31 28 December 1958
in Alexandra Park, Singapore
RCD Rangers FC, Scotland 74 3
14 Wright, Mark 26 1 August 1963 DS Derby County FC 25 0
5 Walker, Desmond S. 24 26 November 1965 LCD Nottingham Forest FC 20 0
12 Parker, Paul A. 26 4 April 1964 RWB Queen's Park Rangers FC 6 0
7 Robson, Bryan, off 65th min. 33 11 January 1957 RM Manchester United FC 87 26
8 Waddle, Christopher R., off 59th min 29 14 December 1960 CM Olympique de Marseille, France 54 6
19 Gascoigne, Paul J. 23 27 May 1967 LM Tottenham Hotspur FC 13 2
3 Pearce, Stuart 28 24 April 1962 LWB Nottingham Forest FC 26 1
11 Barnes, John C.B. 26 7 November 1963
in Kingston, Jamaica
AM Liverpool FC 55 9
BME most apps
10 Lineker, Gary W. 29 30 November 1960 CF/RF Tottenham Hotspur FC 53 32
England Substitutes
21 Bull, Steven G., on 59th min. (58:44) for Waddle 25 28 March 1965 LF Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 9 2 4
17 Platt, David A., on 65th min. (64:17) for Robson 24 10 June 1966 RCM Aston Villa FC 6 1 0

unused substitutes:

2-Gary Stevens, 13-Chris Woods, 16-Steve McMahon.

substitute notes:

Chris Waddle has now extended his record of being replaced by a substitute in nineteen matches. Second placed Bryan Robson has now been replaced in eighteen matches.
England have now used 34 substitutions throughout the 1989-90 season, a new record.

team notes:

Peter Shilton breaks the world record appearance total overtaking fellow keeper, Northern Ireland's Pat Jennings.
3-5-2(1-1) Shilton -
Butcher, Wright, Walker -
Parker, Robson
(Platt), Waddle (Bull), Gascoigne, Pearce -
Barnes -


Age - Appearances/Goals - -


    Match Report by Mike Payne


    Match Report by Norman Giller

England produced a world-class performance using the sweeper system that Bobby Robson had virtually ignored throughout his reign as England manager. The player he chose for the sweeping job was Derby central defender Mark Wright, who was recalled for his first international since England's defeat by Holland in the European Championships. This was the match in which Paul Gascoigne came of age as an international player. He strode around the centre stage as if he owned it, and some of his forward surges and his passes were exceptional in their quality and execution. One twisting turn on the ball when he foxed two Dutch defenders in the second half was out of the Johan Cruyff school of skill. England were always that little bit sharper and hungrier for the ball, and David Platt proved himself made for the World Cup stage when he came on as substitute for injured skipper Bryan Robson.  There was a dramatic climax when Stuart Pearce drove a late free kick from out on the right wide of the Dutch defensive wall and straight into the net past diving goalkeeper Hans van Breukelen. Celebration of a winning goal was cut short when the referee made it clear that he had awarded an indirect free kick. The ball could only have missed the fingers of van Breukelen by inches. England came that close to what would have been a richly deserved win.

    Player Power Report by Bobby Robson

"So, for our second game in the group in Italy, I decided to add a sweeper to our defensive structure, to play three defenders against two attackers, which brings me to the great myth of that World Cup, one of the great fairy stories of my career, in fact - the players' revolt. If you believe the whisperers, we switched to a sweeper system at Italia'90 at the request of the senior players. A delegation approached me, apparently, and demanded the change. Allow me to place this story where it belongs - in the realms of fiction.
"I was never dictated to by my England players. In all my time in management I've never had to ask a team to make decisions on my behalf. It's a ludicrous concept. The manager who allows his players to determine the shape or composition of his team is dead in the water. He surrenders his authority. That's not to say that we, as a group of professionals, did not discuss tactical ideas that originated with me, the manager, but the sweeper system was my initiative. Sure, I bounced the idea off the players who would be asked to apply the formation five days after our draw against Ireland, but I made the switch, not them. I had no intention of allowing Van Basten and Gullit to rip holes in us the way they had in Dusseldorf in June 1988. That day, Van Basten had wrecked Peter Shilton's one hundredth international appearance with a hat-trick and Gullit had tied Adams and Wright in knots.
"So Mark Wright, Terry Butcher and Des Walker would be our three centre-halves, with Paul Parker on the right and Stuart Pearce to the left. Nowadays they call those two positions 'wing-backs'. Robson, Waddle and Gascoigne were to be my three central midfielders, with Lineker and Barnes up front.
"I saw that Mark Wright had the attributes to play as a sweeper. He was tall, he could pass, he was good in the air, clever in possession and not a bad marker. The so-called 'libero' role was perfect for him. Mark was a sufficiently accomplished footballer to be able to carry the ball out of defence and support his midfield. He was ideally equipped to work the two sectors of the pitch.
"I can remember saying to Don Howe, 'Let's modify the team to give us a bit of strength through the middle.' Then, on the training ground, I shared my thoughts with the players and asked them to practise in a 3-5-2 formation. Pearce and Parker were given licence to 'bomb on', provided we always kept three-on-two at the back.
"This is what I intend us to do. What do you think?' I asked Gary Lineker.
"'Yeah, I think it'll work.'
"'What do you think, Mark?'
"'Yeah, I can handle that.'
"'Terry, what do you think?'
'Yeah, that'll suit me.'
"'I don't want to put you into a situation you don't fancy, or you don't believe in
. What do you feel? I'm telling you that this is how I think we should play against Holland. Can you handle what I'm saying to you?' This is how I remember our discussion before the Holland game, mature and sensible. It hardly adds up to a mutiny."

Source Notes

Original television broadcast
Original newspaper reports
Rothman's Yearbooks
Mike Payne's England: The Complete Post-War Record (Breedon Books Publishing Company, Derby, U.K., 1993)
Norman Giller
, Football Author
Bobby Robson's Farewell But Not Goodbye
Terry Butcher My Autobiography
Peter Shilton The Autobiography