Wednesday July 11 2018
On this day: Italy win World Cup

On this day in 1982, Italy beat West Germany 3-1 to win the World Cup for the third time.

The Azzurri had started the 1982 tournament in Spain poorly, scraping through their group ahead of Cameroon after three draws in three games.

The controversial inclusion of Paolo Rossi, who had played just three games in two seasons after the Totonero scandal.

A 2-1 win over Argentina in the second group phase relieved some of the pressure on CT Enzo Bearzot, but a Brazil side inspired by Zico were expected to sweep Italy aside.

Despite no goals in the opening four games, Bearzot stuck by Rossi and he was repaid in stunning fashion.

The Juventus striker opened the scoring after five minutes, and though Socrates equalised, Rossi again put the Azzurri ahead.

Falcao put Brazil on terms after 68 minutes, but with 15 minutes left to play Rossi completed his hat-trick to seal qualification to the semi-finals.

A 2-0 win in a rematch with group stage opponents Poland was sealed thanks to a Rossi brace, setting up a meeting with Germany in Madrid.

Die Mannschaft had made it to the Bernabeu after a penalty shoot-out win over France, a match remembered for Harold Schumacher’s vicious challenge on Patrick Battiston which left the Frenchman in a coma.

Italy were therefore the neutral’s favourite going into the match, but Antonio Cabrini sent a first-half penalty wide of Schumacher’s post.

After a goalless first half, Rossi secured the tournament’s golden boot, heading home Claudio Gentile’s cross just before the hour mark.

The Azzurri continued to push, and Marco Tardelli then scored one of the most famous World Cup final goals of all time.

The midfielder received the ball on the edge of the box and fired a left-footed shot into the German net.

It was a fine finish, but the celebration is what makes the strike legendary, Tardelli running off screaming in sheer ecstasy, eyes bulging and fists pumping.

A counter-attack ended with Bruno Conti setting up Alessandro Altobelli for the third, before Paul Breiner grabbed a late consolation.

Their third World Cup put Italy level with Brazil in the all-time standings, while 40-year-old captain Dino Zoff became the oldest player to lift the trophy.

Rossi was the tournament’s top-scorer, as well as being awarded the Golden Ball for player of the tournament.

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