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New film shows Scotland's humiliating loss at Italia 90

IT is history, as always, written by the victors.

PRAY: Costa Rica did everything they could to secure a win.
PRAY: Costa Rica did everything they could to secure a win.

Twenty-four years after its ultimate World Cup humiliation, Scotland's Italy 1990 exploits have been immortalised on the silver screen by a Costa Rican director.

Miguel Gómez, best known in the English-speaking world for his work on Hollywood blockbuster Iron Man, will tomorrow unveil his latest feature film: Italia 90: The Movie.

It may not make easy watching for the Tartan Army - even it makes a cameo appearance though footage of bekilted Scotland fans waving saltires in the streets of Genoa.

"I think the picture is going to be a boom," said Claudio Jara, the striker who created the single goal that gave the 1000-1 outsiders their win over Scotland. "Miguel is a great film-maker and we know that the movie will be a beautiful reminder. You'll see things that were never revealed."

Watch the trailer below

There is no secret, of course, in the result. In Italy Costa Rica's national side, the now beloved "La Sele", beat both Scotland and Sweden and narrowly lost to the mighty Brazil. The team, many of whom were part-timers, bank clerks or farmers, only exited the competition after their astonishing keeper, Gabelo Conejo, was injured and missed a knock-out game against Czechoslovakia.

Scotland supporters took the defeat to Costa Rica hard. Andy Roxburgh, the manager, had billed the opening game as "our World Cup final". Fans, fresh from seeing their team beat then World Cup champions Argentina at Hampden, had gone in to the match with a touch of swagger.

Roxburgh's then assistant and successor Craig Brown remembers the day well.

"We had studied Costa Rica and knew they could play.

"It was huge embarrassment for Scotland, according to the fans. They felt it was a great let down after the supreme optimism prior to the game. But to qualify to the World Cup you have to be a good team and the fans underestimated Costa Rica because it was not a fashionable name in football."

To be fair, La Sele wasn't even a fashionable team in Costa Rica before they qualified for Italy.

The film Italia 90 follows the real-life story of eight of the 22 players, including Jara and hero keeper Conejo, as they come to terms with making it in to the big glamour world of soccer- or being left at home. Mr Gómez said: "In the film we tell all about how hard it was to make it to the finals, the sacrifices that the players made to be far from their families for three months of pre-tournament preparations and the drama endured by those who were left off the final list." A tense trailer issued last week shows players - many with the mullets and moustaches of the day - sitting by phones that did not ring. The tournament and the victory over Scotland were huge moments in the history of Costa Rican sport.

Mr Brown may have viewed the Central Americans as worthy opponents. But the Costa Ricans - who call themselves Ticos - saw the Scots as giants to be slayed, professional players for a rich European nation that had qualified for its fifth successive World Cup.

The Costa Rican players were mostly modest earners, many of whom had never been to Europe before. Crucially, some of the money for the film will go to help members of the 22-man squad, few of whom enjoy the lifestyle of today's generation of Costa Rican stars, who will play England in the first round of next month's World Cup in Brazil.

Italia 90: The Movie goes on full release next week after being premiered tomorrow. Craig Brown won't want to watch. "I will not be falling over myself to see this film," he admitted. "I am not a film buff and the result didn't suit."

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