FIFA World Cup 1994
With no professional league or tradition of association football as a national sport, the United States was not an obvious choice to host the World Cup, a decision taken by FIFA six years earlier. However, the game was extremely popular at grass roots level and there is no denying that the Americans know how to put on a good show and the tournament broke all previous records for attendances: almost 3.6 million spectators watched the tournament, an average of 69,000 per game. A condition imposed by FIFA was that a professional league be established and in 1996 Major League Soccer was launched.
The format was unchanged but three points were now awarded for a win in the group stages to encourage more attacking play and discourage teams from playing for a draw. Cautions accumulated by players in the group stage were wiped clean in the knock out stage.
For the first time, match officials wore coloured tops and team shirts had squad numbers on the front as well as the player's name on the back, a style first tried at Euro '92 and standard in American professional sport. Many team strips reflected the elaborate designs of the period.
This was the last tournament to be contested by 24 teams and was played out in just nine cities.