1. Romario, Brazil
He was flash and brash, and wound up his own team-mates almost as much as the opposition, but in 1994 he lived up the hype his behaviour imposed upon him. In Carlos Alberto Parreira's largely pragmatic side, he provided a rare glimpse of the dazzle of Brazilian stereotype, and scored the goals that turned functionality into success.
His tournament began well, as he jabbed home a corner to give Brazil the lead against Russia and was then fouled for the penalty from which Rai made it 2-0. A controlled toe-poke – very much a trademark – opened the scoring in a 3-0 win over Cameroon, and then found a equaliser against Sweden, bursting through two defenders before prodding past Tomas Ravelli. Romario's character may have been flamboyant, but his finishing was almost minimalist.
He laid on Bebeto’s winner in the second round against USA, and flashed in a half-volley to put Brazil ahead against Holland in their epic quarter-final. In the semi, as Brazil were frustrated by Sweden, it was Romario who dashed onto Jorginho’s cross to steal a winner 10 minutes from time. And in the shoot-out in the final, of course, Romario could be relied upon to convert his penalty.