DALLAS — "Arguably one of the greatest matches of all time."
Dallas is set to be one of 11 U.S. host venues in the 2026 World Cup (really Arlington since the venue AT&T Stadium, but FIFA designated the site as "Dallas"), but it's not the first time the world's game has descended upon the DFW area.
The date was July 9, 1994. The Cotton Bowl in southern Dallas hosted the quarterfinal match between Brazil and Netherlands.
FC Dallas President Dan Hunt, who was a kid at the time, remembers it as if it were only yesterday.
"In Dallas, we had the great fortune ... I wasn't the ball boy for that game, but [Dallas] had Brazil-Holland in the quarterfinal which is arguably one of the greatest matches of all time," Hunt told WFAA.
Brazil shot out to a two-goal lead. A full-field pass to Bebeto on the left flank led to a cross and first-touch shot and goal by Romário in the 52nd minute. Bebeto then scored a goal of his own 10 minutes later after slipping past the goalie one-on-one.
But the Dutch did not sink under the pressure.
Watch the full Brazil-Netherlands match here:
Netherlands immediately answered two minutes after Brazil's second goal. After a quick throw in to the 18-yard box, Dennis Bergkamp finished a right-footed shot from point blank range (but at a tight, low angle) in the 64th minute. Aron Winter tied it up, 2-2, with a glancing header off a corner kick in the 76th minute.
Brazil took the lead back in the 81st minute with a free kick goal from well outside the penalty area. With about a 10-yard run at the dead ball, Branco fired a low, left-footed shot past the Netherlands wall and into the bottom right-hand corner of the goal.
Netherlands continued to pressure the Brazil defensive third for nearly the entirety of the match's final 10 minutes and six minutes of stoppage time, but could not break through.
"Still today, as I travel around the world, if I'm at a World Cup, people will ask 'where are you from?' And I say 'I'm from Dallas, Texas,' and they say 'oh, were you there for the Brazil-Holland quarterfinal?' and yes I was. The fact that legacy even carries forward today is really amazing," Hunt said.
1994 World Cup: A look back at the last time the U.S. hosted the world's game
Brazil went on to win the 1994 World Cup, defeating Italy in a penalty shootout, 3-2.
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