Tuesday 29th June 1982

GROUP C, Estadio Sarria, Barcelona. (17:15)

ITALY   (2)   2   (Tardelli 55, Cabrini 67)

ARGENTINA   (0)   1   (Passarella 83)

Italy: Zoff; Gentile, Scirea, Collovati, Cabrini; Tardelli, Oriali (Marini), Antognoni; Conti, Rossi (Altobelli), Graziani

Argentina: Fillol; Olguin, Passarella, Tarantini, Galvan; Bertoni, Ardiles, Gallego, Maradona; Diaz (Calderon), Kempes (Valencia)

This was a feisty, spiteful encounter. Neither side had impressed anyone thus far and with Brazil also in their group, all the neutrals wanted both teams to go home. Italy had only managed to get through their group on ‘goals scored’ as they just about got the better of Cameroon, and Argentina had been beaten by Belgium and struggled to beat El Salvador.

There were no goals in the first half but there were five yellow cards as both side preferred to try and kick lumps out of each other. ‘Henchman generali’, Claudio Gentile had the job of man-marking Diego Maradona and was particularly thorough in his work, in a way the Corleones would be proud of. Afterwards, Maradona joked the Italian ‘followed me everywhere, and when I went to the toilet, he followed me there too!”. Marco Tardelli went close at the start of the second half with a fierce right foot drive from about 35 yards out, which Fillol did well to tip over. Oriali then tried from a similar distance but his shot went just wide. The Italians were full of running now, and soon Conti lead a counter-attack when he was overtaken by Tardelli. He played the ball to Antognoni who waited for Tardelli to keep on running, then played him in on the left of the area and his low shot across Fillol went in at the far corner.

Argentina had had to deal with the shock during this tournament of discovering the Falklands War was not going as well as they’d been lead to believe at home, yet they came back strongly with Passarella going close with a free-kick and then Maradona hitting the bar from another dead-ball opportunity. Passarella then headed against the bar when he rose highest at the far post and Italy were up against it. As they desperately came out of defence, they found space behind the defence and Graziani played Rossi in but once in the area he shot straight at Fillol. The ball bounced off the Argentinian keeper’s chest and Conti picked it up and got to the bye-line with Fillol inexplicably trying to tackle him. He played the ball back where Cabrini fired into the net Fillol was supposed to be protecting. It was despair for Argentina who for fifteen minutes had played their best football of the tournament, yet been mugged with a quick breakaway. Passarella got a goal back with a stunning free-kick, but it was cold comfort and now Italy would face the prospect of going through if they could beat Brazil. For Argentina they ended the match with ten men as Gallego was sent off almost immediately after the re-start from Passarella’s goal.

1 Italy 1 1 0 0 2 1 1 2
2 Brazil 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 Argentina 1 0 0 1 1 2 -1 0


GROUP B, Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid. (21:00)

ENGLAND   (0)   0


England: Shilton; Mills, Thompson, Butcher, Sansom; Coppell, Robson, Wilkins, Rix; Francis (Woodcock), Mariner

West Germany: Schumacher; Kaltz, K-H Forster, B. Forster, Stielike, Briegel; Muller (Fischer), Breitner, Dremmler; Reinders (Littbarski), Rummenigge

This game represented a lot of what was wrong with this format for the second phase. West Germany, having cynically worked their way through the group stage, had worked out the way to play this stage was to be as defensive as possible and not concede. Unfortunately for England they were still without Keegan or Brooking and Mariner and Francis were just not good enough at this level to breach a determined defence.  The Germans had gambled on the weakest nation in the group being Spain, and so as long as they could get a draw against England they could beat Spain and put the pressure back on the English to beat their result. Coppell, Wilkins and Robson all forced Schumacher into making saves, with the latter going closest.

As the game was reaching a close, Rummenigge caused concern in England’s camp when he hit the bar, but that was as close as we got to a goal. The locals weren’t particularly impressed with what they’d seen and so West Germany knew they had to play the next game against Spain, knowing anything other than a win may not be enough for them.

1 England 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
2 West Germany 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
3 Spain 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0


Tomorrow Groups A & D are in focus. In Group A, Belgium need to beat USSR to keep their hopes alive of a Semi-Final place. In Group D, Northern Ireland play their first match in the Second Phase. They are up against Austria who were beaten by France, last time out.