Taffarel made his debut for Brazil on 7 July 1988 in the Australia Bicentenary Gold Cup, playing all four games and conceding two goals in an eventual win. He was also in goal for the following year’s Copa América, in another international conquest (during his ten-year career, he appeared in five editions of the latter tournament). Taffarel was the starter for the nation during the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the United States, only allowing one goal in the first round and two in the knock-out phases, excluding two penalty kicks in the final. Four years later, in France, he helped the national team finish second, notably saving two penalties in the 4–2 shootout win over the Netherlands in the semi-finals. Taffarel played 101 times with the Seleção. Upon his retirement in 2003, coach Carlos Alberto Parreira offered to arrange a farewell match but the player refused, stating that he was not interested in such fanfare; he did return to play alongside Romário in late 2004 against Mexico, to commemorate the 1994 World Cup victory at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.