brehme klinsmann - finale mondiali 1990 - Germania-Argentina


Nov 20th 2022

The World Cup in Qatar is just around the corner and sees six Nerazzurri involved. Italy will not be there, but the Nerazzurri have always been key players in the World Cup: from Meazza's two titles to the statistics of Inter players always being involved in the final. A journey through World Cup history

No league action, with the World Cup just around the corner. A feeling that we usually associate with summer, with the Azzurri's dreams of glory. It is not summer, there is no Italy, and yet the World Cup begins. Qatar 2022, the first autumn edition, the first that breaks the club football season in two. There are six Nerazzurri players ready to chase their dream, the one they had as a child, of lifting the cup. They are Lautaro Martinez with Argentina, Denzel Dumfries and Stefan De Vrij with the Netherlands, Marcelo Brozovic with Croatia, André Onana with Cameroon, Romelu Lukaku with Belgium.

Inter players and the World Cup, a story that starts in 1934 and is full of anecdotes and key moments. There are world champions, there are scorers in the finals, there are unbeaten records, unique statistics.

The 22nd edition of the World Cup is held in Qatar. The first, in 1930, counted 13 national teams but not Italy, so no Nerazzurri took part in that first, historic edition.

From then on, however, the Nerazzurri frequently left their mark, starting with the 1934 and 1938 editions, won by Italy with the contribution of several Interisti, above all Giuseppe Meazza.

Here, the call-up of Allemandi, Castellazzi, Demaria and Meazza in 1934 by coach Vittorio Pozzo was the first call-up of Inter players for the World Cup. Italy lifted the Rimet Trophy in 1934 and then again in 1938, when in addition to Meazza, Giovanni Ferrari, Pietro Ferraris, Ugo Locatelli and Renato Olmi were called up: 8 Nerazzurri world champions, with Meazza lifting the trophy in France as captain. The best scorer in Inter's history is the only Nerazzurri to have won two world titles.


These eight Azzurri are part of the 104 footballers who, in history, have been summoned to the World Cup while wearing the Nerazzurri colours. A long list, in which Beppe Bergomi stands out, who played four editions of the World Cup between 1982 and 1998 (Lothar Matthäus counts five editions, but only one when he wore the Inter shirt).

Until 1954 it was only Italian players who were called up, then in 1958 Inter only had one representative at the World Cup: in the absence of Italy, there was Lennart Skoglund with Sweden.

There have been 24 nations represented in history by Inter players at the World Cup: Italy, Sweden, Spain, England, Austria, Germany, Holland, Brazil, Chile, France, Nigeria, Argentina, Uruguay, Turkey, Portugal, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Ghana, Cameroon, Colombia, Japan, Algeria and Belgium.

The edition that saw the most Nerazzurri take part in the World Cup was that of 2002. 13 Inter players were called up: Toldo, Materazzi, C. Zanetti, Di Biagio, Vieri (Italy); J. Zanetti (Argentina); Simic (Croatia); Okan, Emre (Turkey); Conceiçao (Portugal); Recoba, Sorondo (Uruguay); Ronaldo (Brazil).

Javier Zanetti - Mondiali
Walter Zenga - Italia - Mondiali
Ronaldo - Brasile - Mondiali
Javier Zanetti - Mondiali


There are 19 players who have won the World Cup, playing it as Inter players. At club level, the Nerazzurri rank third in terms of the number of world champions, behind Juventus and Bayern Munich.

The 19 Nerazzurri champions are: Meazza (1934-1938); Allemandi, Castellazzi, Demaria (1934); Ferrari, Ferraris, Locatelli, Olmi (1938); Bergomi, Marini, Bordon, Oriali, Altobelli (1982); Matthäus, Klinsmann, Brehme (1990); Djorkaeff (1998); Ronaldo (2002); Materazzi (2006).

In 1982, Italy won its third World Cup with five Nerazzurri in the squad, as did happen in 1938. In that edition, Bordon was the only Inter player not to take the field.

(in the photo: Bergomi, Bordon, Marini and Altobelli at the 1982 World Cup)


If there are 19 Inter world champions, there are 7 Nerazzurri who have scored in a World Cup final. Four of them then lifting the trophy, three finishing with the disappointment of defeat.

In 1970, the first Nerazzurri goal in a final: Boninsegna's equaliser against Brazil, before the South Americans dominated. In 1982, under the eyes of the President of the Republic, Alessandro Altobelli made Pertini exclaim the famous phrase 'they won't catch us any more' by scoring the momentary 3-0 against Germany, in the Bernabeu final that ended 3-1. For Bearzot's Italy a triumph in the sign of Paolo Rossi, with five Nerazzurri champions, including a very young Bergomi, who touched the last ball of that blessed World Cup.

In 1986 in the final in Mexico that Germany lost to Argentina, Rummenigge scored. Four years later, at Italia 90, the German revenge, with the three Nerazzurri on the pitch: Brehme, Matthäus and Klinsmann. It was a distinctly Nerazzurri final, with Andy Brehme scoring the match winner with a penalty (right-footed, despite being a natural left-footed player) in the 81st minute at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. A penalty that Matthäus did not take, due to a problem with his boot.

brehme klinsmann - finale mondiali 1990 - Germania-Argentina
Klinsmann - Mondiali - Germania

In 2002, another Nerazzurri made it on top of the world: Ronaldo, after the disappointment of 1998, took the World Cup by scoring a brace in the final against Germany, sporting a strange and legendary hairstyle.

In 2006, Marco Materazzi was the star man: he scored the equaliser in the final against France, was head-butted by Zidane resulting in a red card for the Frenchman, and scored one of the five penalties in the end that gave the Azzurri their fourth world title.

The list of Nerazzurri goal scorers in World Cup finals stretches all the way until 2018 when Ivan Perisic scored a beautiful goal in Moscow against France, in the final lost by Croatia 4-2.


Lothar Matthäus holds the record for World Cup appearances, with 25 matches, while Walter Zenga holds the unbeaten record: 518 minutes at Italia 90, from minute one of the first match to the 68th of the semi-final, when he was beaten by Caniggia's header.

The top scorers include Ronaldo in 2002 (8 goals) and Wesley Sneijder (5 goals) in 2010.

But the most incredible fact is that since 1982 in the World Cup finals there has always been at least one Nerazzurri player on the pitch.

  • 1982: Bergomi, Altobelli (goal), Oriali

  • 1986: Rummenigge (goal)

  • 1990: Brehme (goal), Matthäus, Klinsmann

  • 1994: Berti

  • 1998: Ronaldo, Djorkaeff

  • 2002: Ronaldo (2 goals)

  • 2006: Materazzi (goal)

  • 2010: Sneijder

  • 2014: Palacio

  • 2018: Brozovic, Perisic (goal)

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