Tuesday June 10 2014
Italy’s top 10 World Cup moments

With the World Cup about to start, Dave Taylor looks back on 10 magical moments in Italy’s tournament history.

Gianni Rivera’s goal: 1970 semi-final versus West Germany

The Golden Boy’s goal in the ‘Game of the Century’, may have not been his best in the blue shirt but surely it was his most crucial. Coming on in the second half for Sandro Mazzola, as part of Coach Ferruccio Valcareggi’s infamous Staffetta, the Milan striker showed why the Coach distrusted him. Half asleep on the near post, he allowed Gerd Muller’s soft header to beat him, as Germany equalised 3-3. However, less than a minute later everything was forgotten as ‘Abatino’ cleanly and accurately side-footed home the winner.

Marco Tardelli’s scream and goal: 1982 Final versus West Germany

If there is one seminal image in Azzurri World Cup history it has to be the one with Tardelli caught 'mid-urlo' after scoring Italy’s second goal in the 1982 final. Turning away, from the goalmouth, his head shaking back and forth, his eyes staring maniacally ahead, arms outstretched, he screams with the utter joy of it all. And although Tardelli’s reaction reflected just how much it meant to him, his teammates and Azzurri fans world-wide, the goal itself was just as wonderful. Perched on the edge of the D and collecting the ball following a slick six-man move, the Juventus midfielder smacked it into the bottom left corner with his outstretched left foot as he fell, before going off on that fabulous run.

Alessandro Altobelli’s goal: 1982 Final versus West Germany

With a 2-0 score-line there was always the chance that Germany could come back. Yet once the dashing Bruno Conti had driven into the area and centred for Altobelli it was soon to be all over. The Inter forward, on as a sub for Francesco Graziani, dragged the ball to the left, beat the ‘keeper and with 10 minutes to go screamed his left footer into the net.

Paolo Rossi’s hat-trick: 1982 semi-final versus Brazil

In what has been termed one of the greatest games of all time, Paolo Rossi scored a wonderful hat-trick to send the Azzurri into the Final. His first came after just five minutes when Antonio Cabrini crossed from the left to find Pablito steaming into the area to head home. Twenty minutes later he pounced again before completing his hat-trick 15 minutes from time. Brazil had equalised twice but had no response after his third. “It one of the most important goals I have ever scored, freeing me psychologically and it also increased my motivation,” he said after a game that secured his eminence amongst Calcio’s immortals.

Roberto Baggio’s goal: 1990 group stage versus Czechoslovakia

Italy were leading 1-0 when Roberto picked the ball up in his own half. Moving up field he exchanged a superb one-two with Il Principe, Gianni Giannini, before putting on the after burners. Over the next seven seconds he touched the ball nine times, destroyed three defenders and jumped a leg-breaking tackle to reach the goalmouth. Once there he fooled the ’keeper placing the ball to his right instead of the expected far corner, scoring a wonderful individual goal that was later described as ‘a piece of art’.

Salvatore Schillaci’s goal: 1990 group stage versus Austria

Whenever the 1990 tournament is mentioned an image of a pair of bulging eyes and flailing arms comes to mind. These of course belonged to the unlikely hero that was Toto Schillaci. Before this opening game the Juve striker only had one cap to his name. However, after running on to Gianluca Vialli’s cross to thunder a header past Austria’s goalkeeper Klaus Lindenberger in the opening encounter, the highly likeable little Sicilian became a household name. After getting Italy off to a flying start he eventually went onto to become the Golden Boot winner with five more goals to his name.

Robert Baggio’s performances at USA ‘94

You could probably make 10 moments of Baggio magic alone but in the 1994 World Cup a series of brilliant performances saw him drag a moderate Azzurri side into the final. Kicking off with his last minute crucial equaliser against Nigeria, 10 minutes later in extra-time he scored the subsequent winner with a fabulous penalty. In the quarter-finals it was his late winner in the 2-1 victory over Spain. Then his two cracking goals against Bulgaria took Italy into the Final against Brazil. Say no more.

Fabio Grosso’s goal: 2006 semi-final versus Germany

With the score at 0-0 after 90 minutes the game moved into extra-time and remained scoreless until the Palermo left-back netted the opener in the 119th minute. Germany goalkeeper Jens Lehmann had no chance as Grosso’s first time shot from the right was curled home from Andrea Pirlo’s ball. The Italian fans went wild, the Germans were stunned, then seconds later they were knocked out, as Alessandro Del Piero finished the game with an a delicate chip into the corner to send Italy storming into the Final.

Fabio Grosso’s penalty: 2006 Final versus France

At 1-1 and extra-time only producing Zinedine Zidane’s red card, both sides lined up for penalties. It soon became 4-3 to Italy and if Grosso missed the final kick France would have a chance of drawing level and taking penalties into sudden death. However, Fabio was made of iron and nervelessly took an extra bit of time to place the ball just right. On the sidelines Coach Marcelo Lippi took off his glasses, wiped them and turned away. Six seconds later the whistle went, Grosso took his run up and slammed the ball into the top right-hand corner. Cue bedlam as the whole squad ran towards him to celebrate. “Campione del Mondo. Abbiamo Vinto.”

Fabio Cannavaro’s performances at Germany ‘06

The Azzurri Captain stood out magnificently throughout the finals and won the Silver Ball award for his performances. Popping up everywhere to clear balls, win aerial duels, set attacks in motion and generally be the perfect captain - he led by example and was a complete rock. Over the seven games the Azzurri only conceded twice, one a penalty, the other an own goal. Such was his performance in the final that he earned the highly appropriate nickname ‘The Berlin Wall’, as he and six other Azzurri were voted into the Team of the Tournament.

Have your say...
I remember feeling totally dejected in those last moments of the 2006 semi-final... penalties again... Then Pirlo played a great ball to Grosso... still a bit of shame it came 4 years too late for the great Paolo Maldini.
on the 3rd July, 2014 at 11:36pm
the whole italy germany game for 2006 semis. Brillant open game, hit the post twice in extra time then Pirlo does what does whathe does best and supplies a lovely reverse ball to Grosso who hits a beatuiful curler, to top off my favourite player off all time then finishes the game the Don Del Piero. Then there the final. The whole team should of been in teh team of tournament. Then you have Cannavaro who concencrated himself as one of teh best centre backs ever what a display!

Forza Italy!!!!!!
on the 16th June, 2014 at 2:30am
Balos goal which killed off England.June 2014
on the 13th June, 2014 at 8:28am
Del Piero's lovely header vs Mejico in 2002, the equalizer.

Immobile's bicycle kick vs Uruguay in 2014 (?)
on the 12th June, 2014 at 7:38pm
Del Piero's coup de grace against Germany in 2006. He redeemed himself for the misses against France in the Euro final, the whole team earned it and boy did the Germans deserve it after the local press derided Italians as 'mammone'.

Baresi in '94

Bettega in '78

Brazil vs Italy in 82. I was a young teenager living in Italy at the time. No one expected Italy to get through a group with Brazil and Argentina. But they did. And in style
on the 11th June, 2014 at 7:01pm
1982 semi final and final were special but the best game I've seen Italy play by far was the 2006 semi-final game against Germany where the players of a generation (Totti, DelPiero, Cannavaro, Zambrotta, Buffon etc.) all game together and played the most beautiful game I've have ever seen Italy play. The ploay when Carnavaro intercepted that ball and gave it to Totti who then passed it to Gilardino and then fed it to DelPiero who scored still brings chills down my spine.
on the 11th June, 2014 at 2:20pm
It was actually 4-2 against Brazil in 1982 as
Antognoni's goal was not offside.
on the 11th June, 2014 at 1:35pm
As an Italian who was born and raised in Germany, I love:

Italy's win against Germany in 1970
Italy's win against Germany in 1982
Italy's win against Germany in 2006

... but nothing compares to Brazil-Italy in 1982.
on the 11th June, 2014 at 8:36am
Great Post got me thinking. Tried a top 3 but decided I really need the 4
Thinking for my top 3 World cup moments, Obviously all Italian.
4.Rossi's Hatrick V Brazil
3. Roberto Betaga's Goal 78 against Argentina. first time I can remember getting excited for Italy
2. Tardelli goal World Cup final.1982
1. Last 2 minutes of Germany Semi 2006. Grosso first followed by the DP goal.
Hoping for a few more in Brazil 2014.
on the 11th June, 2014 at 6:54am
rossi's hat trick 1982
grosso's goal against germany 2006
italy's win against germany 1970
on the 10th June, 2014 at 9:28pm
Roberto Bettega scoring as Italy became the only team to beat Argentina on their way to winning the 78 final.
on the 10th June, 2014 at 8:35pm
@Anonymous Scirea did not kick Maradona it was mainly Gentile with help from that thug Tardelli.Baresi's performance in the world cup final in 1994 is cruelly not included. Baggio's equalizer against Nigeria in 1994
Buffon and Cannavaro's performances in 2006. Materazzi in 2006 as up until then i regarded him as a joke but he was very crucial. Pirlo-Gatusso combo. Grosso and Totti vs Australia. Bruno Conti in 1982
on the 10th June, 2014 at 6:03pm
poor old piola and meazza 87 goals between them and 1 shared world cup and nothing worth talking about.
on the 10th June, 2014 at 2:42pm
1/Marco Tardelli.What else.
2/Fabio Grosso's goal.
3/Paolo Rossi 82
on the 10th June, 2014 at 1:50pm
Grosso's goal against Germany then Adp a couple of minutes of pure glory.
on the 10th June, 2014 at 1:06pm
What? No Zidane headbutt or Schriea kicking Maradona?
on the 10th June, 2014 at 11:49am
Wow what a list! Hard to disagree with any of it but I would add:

1. Maldini's performance at USA '94;
2. Cannavero and Nesta's performance at Euro '00;
3. Materazzi in Germany '06 (from reserve to villain to hero to villain and to hero again!).
on the 10th June, 2014 at 11:10am

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