Baggio scored five goals in Italy's run to the 1994 final. Mike Hewitt/Allsport
Italy's "Little Prince" exploded onto the World Cup stage with a wonderful solo goal against Czechoslovakia during Italy's thrilling but anti-climactic run to the semifinals on home soil in 1990.
But it was four years later, in California's Rose Bowl, that Baggio met his moment of World Cup destiny.
Despite struggling with a hamstring injury, Baggio had virtually single-handedly carried his side from an opening game defeat to the Republic of Ireland to the World Cup final. His late equalizer and extra-time winner had saved Italy in the second round against Nigeria and three more goals followed against Spain and Bulgaria. But at 3-2 down in the sudden-death shootout, Baggio was called on to save his country yet again. Famously he shot high over the goal, before sinking to his knees in the losing effort against Brazil.
Baggio enjoyed a moment of personal redemption during a quarterfinal shootout with France in 1998, but his successful spot kick was not enough to prevent Italy's third straight World Cup exit on penalties.