Cup Special: From disappointments to surprises, the 12th edition title goes to Italy

Despite being widely regarded as the competition's top favourite, the Brazilian squad lost to Azurra after 44 long years.
2022-09-20 09:33:56

Sambafoot releases a retrospective of all World Cup iterations as a lead-up to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. We’ll discuss the 12th edition, which took place in 1982, this week.

Spain hosted the 1982 World Cup for the first time ever. The competition included 24 players for the first time in this edition. From June 13 to July 11, the tournament was held.

Many celebrities who displayed their abilities inside the four lines made this World Cup memorable. Brazil had Zico, Cerezo, Falco, and Socrates, while France had Platini, Germany had Rummenigge, Argentina had Maradona, and Italy had Dino Zoff and Paolo Rossi.

How was the 1982 World Cup

The national teams were divided into groups for the first two rounds of the 1982 World Cup, like in previous competitions. The 24 teams were initially divided into six groups of four people each. Each bracket’s top two seeds progressed.

In the second round, the twelve classified were split into four groups of three, and the group’s leader advanced to the competition’s semifinals. See how the competition’s first round went.

  • Group A: Poland and Italy qualified, Cameroon and Peru were eliminated;
  • Group B: Germany and Austria qualified, Algeria and Chile were eliminated;
  • Group C: Belgium and Argentina qualified, Hungary and El Salvador were eliminated;
  • Group D: England and France qualified, Czechoslovakia and Kuwait were eliminated;
  • Group E: Northern Ireland and Spain qualified, Yugoslavia and Honduras were eliminated;
  • Group F: Brazil and the Soviet Union qualified, Scotland and New Zealand were eliminated.

The second phase

Brazilian athletes competed “for music.” The renowned Telê Santana, who established history for clubs like Atlético-MG and Sao Paulo, served as the head coach. Waldir Peres, Leandro, Oscar, Luizinho, Junior, Falco, Cerezo, Zico, Sócrates, Éder Aleixo, and Serginho Chulapa were all members of the outstanding team.

Everyone believed that Brazil had already advanced to the championship after the first part of the competition saw three straightforward triumphs and after Brazil defeated Argentina in the first match of the second phase. The Brazilian team were shocked, however, to learn that Paolo Rossi, an Italian striker, scored three goals as Italy lost 3-2 and was eliminated.

The top side in each group would be the only one to proceed to the semifinals. See which organizations participated and who was accepted.

  • Group 1: Poland qualified, Soviet Union and Belgium were eliminated;
  • Group 2: Germany qualified, England and Spain were eliminated;
  • Group 3: Italy qualified, Brazil and Argentina were eliminated;
  • Group 4: France qualified, Austria and Northern Ireland were eliminated.

The semifinals and the decision

Italy beat Poland 2-0 in the semifinals, while Germany eliminated France on penalties after the game ended 3-3 in regulation. On July 11, the major choice was made in the Santiago Bernabéu stadium in Madrid, the nation’s capital.

Italy ignored the Germans in front of 90,000 spectators and defeated them 3-1. Rossi, Tardelli, and Altobelli scored the goals for Italy. For Germany, Breitner made money. After 44 years of waiting, Italy finally won their third World championship; the first two came in 1934 and 1938.

Awards and Trivia

The Cup’s best player and leading scorer, Paolo Rossi, with six goals. As a consolation prize, the Brazilian squad received the competition’s “fair-play” award.

The Cup Team

Zoff, Gentile, and Collovati (from Italy); Luizinho, Junior, Falco, and Zico (from Brazil); Boniek (from Poland); Platini (from France); Rummenigge (from Germany); and Rossi made comprised the “star team” of the 1982 World Cup (Italy).


  • Arnaldo Cezar Coelho was the first Brazilian referee in history to officiate in a World Cup final;
  • Three teams had Brazilian coaches in the competition: Brazil (Telê Santana), Peru (Tim) and Kuwait (Carlos Alberto Parreira);
  • Italian goalkeeper Dino Zoff became the oldest player to win a World Cup, aged 40 (record to date).