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If 1978 was about Mennoti and his cigarettes 1982 was, thanks to Enzo Bearzot, the year of the pipe.
Italy triumphed in the final against a lacklustre West German side despite missing a first half penalty. The Italians had overcome dire treatment from their press (accusations included players being involved in gay love affairs) and emerged from what is considered to be the original ‘Group of Death’ (second round group C saw them matched with Brazil and Argentina).
Most neutrals would have favoured Italy over a West Germany team who had introduced kung fu to the tournament in the shape of Schumaker’s assault on Battison, and who in the opening phase had been involved in the darkest episode in World Cup history. In a match known as The Shame of Gijón West Germany and Austria colluded in providing a result that ensured they both progressed at the expense of Algeria.
Algeria had beaten West Germany 2–1 on the opening day, becoming the first African team to defeat European opponents at the World Cup. Now, when West Germany took a 1-0 lead against Austria, both teams gave up playing and spent 80 minutes aimlessly punting the ball to and fro.
El Salvador had a desperate time. The country was ravaged by civil war, and they arrived in Spain just 72 hours before their opener with Hungary. They had to borrow footballs from the Hungarian camp in order to train. Their manager advised them to take the game to Hungary. On this occasion attack was not the best form of defence, and they got on the end of a 10-1 defeat When Luis Ramírez Zapata (nicknamed El Pelé) had pulled it back to 5-1 his teammates were annoyed with his joyful celebrations, worried that the Hungarians would , in their anger, step up a gear. Their fears were realised to some degree when substitute Laszlo Kiss netted a seven minute hat trick.
Zico and Socrates featured for Brazil, two of the greatest players never to win the World Cup.

One Comment

  1. the first tournament i've seen entirely and can recall clearly. the first time i've seen a man walking (repeat, WALKING) with the ball. zico against gentile, italia-brasile 3-2. the things i have to tell about this world cup… maybe i will if i'll find the time. and zoff will always be my captain, cannavaro never.

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