Naples is a city in the south of Italy that throughout history has been abused racially by the industrial north.
On the football field, things were no different. When Napoli traveled to face the likes of Juventus, Torino, or Inter signs and flags would fill the stands comparing Naples to the "Sewer of Italy."
As luck would have it, that Italy, the hosts and favorites, ended up having to play the first semifinal of Italia 1990 at the San Paolo in Naples against holders Argentina and Diego Maradona who had just come off a season where he led Napoli to their second Scudetto.
Diego immediately began posturing for the Neapolitans to support Argentina stating in a press conference: "I don't like the fact that now everyone is asking the Neapolitans to be Italian and to support their national team. Naples has always been marginalized by the rest of Italy. It is city that suffers the most unfair racism."
Although Maradona could not coax the city to actually root for Argentina, he did at least convince the Napoli supporters group to say "We will support Italy, but respect and applaud the Argentinians." In the crowd, there were various signs in support of both Italy and Maradona, including one that read "Maradona, Naples loves you but Italy is our Homeland."
For the first and only time during Italia 1990, Argentina's National Anthem was not greeted by whistles and jeers but applause.
After Toto Schillaci gave Italy the lead on 17 minutes, it looked like Argentina would be eliminated before Caniggia equalized and the match went to extra time and eventually penalties.
In the shoot out, it was Maradona, the King of Naples, who netted the decisive penalty for Argentina, before Roberto Donadoni, a player for AC Milan in the commercial north, saw his spot kick saved by Sergio Goycochea and put Argentina into the Final.