World Cup Soccer is a top-down football game which adheres to most of the sport's rules. There are no free kicks.
There are 24 national teams in most versions of World Cup Soccer. The home computer variants exchange Japan for the Republic of Ireland.
No later releases addressed the issue of West Germany, the USSR and Yugoslavia, which had all ceased to exist by the beginning of 1993.
During the time of the japanese Mega Drive version release, the qualification phase for the actual tournament had not ended. That's the reason of the inconsistencies between the team list present on the game and the teams that actually qualifyed. This was not fixed in following releases.
World Cup Soccer has been marketed under many names. In Japan the Mega Drive version has always been known as 'World Cup Soccer and in United States, World Championship Soccer (although some earlier cartridges erroneously use the simplified development name, Soccer on the title screen). In Europe, however, the game was originally sold as a joint venture between Sega, Italian firm Olivetti (a subsidiary company of Telecom Italia), and Virgin Mastertronic, becoming World Cup Italia '90, holding the Italian 1990 FIFA World Cup license for a short period. Later variants in Europe are simply titled Sega Soccer.