We were now approaching the complicated part of the tournament. FIFA had decided to expand this World Cup to twenty-four teams. Six groups of four was quite simple, but what do you do with the two qualifiers from each group? Twelve doesn’t divide equally to end up with two finalists. So, they devised a format which existed for this tournament alone.

The Second Phase would consist of a further four groups of three. The scheduling was fairly easy to follow. The next two days would involve Groups One, Three and Six. The six qualifiers from these groups would fill two of the Second Phase ones.

Group A would be winners of Groups One and Three, plus runners-up of Six.

Then Group C would be winners of Six and runners-up of One and Three.

Tuesday 22nd June 1982

GROUP ONE, Estadio Riazor, La Coruna. (17:15)

POLAND   (0)   5   (Smolarek 55, Lato 58, Boniek 61, Buncol 68, Ciolek 76)

PERU   (0)   1   (La Rosa 83)

Poland: Mlynarczyk; Kupcewicz, Janas, Majewski, Zmuda; Jalocha (Dziuba), Matysik, Buncol, Boniek; Lato, Smolarek (Ciolek)

Peru: Quiroga; Duarte, Diaz, Olaechea, Salguero; Leguia, Velasquez, Cueto, Cubillas (Uribe); La Rosa, Oblitas (Barbadillo)

With just one goal between these two teams from four matches, didn’t bode well and after a goalless first half it looked as if things would remain the same. But in the second half, suddenly it all came alive. Smolarek, who’d had a goal ruled out in the first half, tucked the ball past Quiroga in the 55th minute to get Poland’s first goal of this World Cup. Three minutes later, Lato broke clear of the defence and as the keeper came out, he calmly slid it under him for a 2-0 lead. They added another, just three minutes after that as a free-kick found Buncol unmarked on the right of the area and his ball across the area found Boniek who put it away. Three goals in six minutes killed off Peru, yet Poland weren’t finished, as in the 68th minute, Boniek’s back-heel allowed Buncol to burst into the area and fire into the roof of the net for the fourth goal. When Ciolek scored Poland’s fifth in the 76th minute, they’d scored five goals in a twenty-one minute period. To their credit, Peru didn’t give up and they were rewarded with a goal from La Rosa in the 83rd minute after some intricate footwork on the edge of the area. This win, so out of character with everything else in Group One, put Poland through.


1 Poland 3 1 2 0 5 1 4 4
2 Italy 2 0 2 0 1 1 0 2
3 Cameroon 2 0 2 0 0 0 0 2
4 Peru 3 0 2 1 2 6 -4 2


GROUP THREE, Estadio Nuevo, Elche. (21:00)

BELGIUM   (0)   1   (Czerniatynski 76)

HUNGARY   (1)   1   (Varga 28)

Belgium: Pfaff; Gerets (Plessers), Meeuws, Baecke, Millecamps; Vercauteren, Coeck, Vandersmissen (van Moer), Cuelemans; Vandenbergh, Czerniatynski

Hungary: Meszaros; Martos, Kerekes, Varga, Garaba; Muller (Sallai), Nyilasi; Fazekas, Torocsik, Kiss (Csongradi), Poloskei

In Group Three, Hungary knew if they could beat Belgium, their superior goal difference would see them go through. Belgium knew a draw would be enough for them. Kiss should’ve done better with his header when unmarked in the area, but eventually Hungary took the lead. Torocsik played the ball back from the edge of the area and Varga burst through from the back and fired the ball past Pfaff for a 1-0 lead. With fifteen minutes to go, Hungary were still in front and still going through and with Argentina not playing until tomorrow, Belgium weren’t certain whether they would still be in or not. But then a fantastic run down the right from Cuelemans and he squared to Czerniatynski who hooked the ball in past Meszaros and Belgium were back in charge. It ended 1-1 and Belgium had qualified. Hungary had the despair of realising that a 10-1 win in their first game may not enough to see them get through. They had to hope for El Salvador to get an unlikely draw against Argentina tomorrow.

1 Belgium 3 2 1 0 3 1 2 5
2 Hungary 3 1 1 1 12 6 6 3
3 Argentina 2 1 0 1 4 2 2 2
4 El Salvador 2 0 0 2 1 11 -10 0


GROUP SIX, Estadio La Rosaleda, Malaga. (21:00)

USSR   (0)   2   (Chivadze 59, Shengelia 84)

SCOTLAND   (1)   2   (Jordan 15, Souness 87)

USSR: Dasaev; Sulakvelidze, Baltacha, Demianenko, Borovsky, Chivadze; Bessonov, Gavrilov, Bal; Shengelia (Andreyev), Blokhin

Scotland: Rough; Narey, Hansen, Miller, Gray; Strachan (McGrain), Wark, Souness; Archibald, Jordan (Brazil), Robertson

Scotland had gone out at the group stage in the two previous World Cups and were keen to avoid the same ignominy, but knew USSR would be tough opponents. Probably unlucky to lose to Brazil, the Soviets had a better goal difference so a draw would suit them.

Scotland started brightly and Joe Jordan thought he’d scored until Dasaev threw himself to just tip his header round the post. At the other end, Alan Rough was called upon to thwart Blokhin. But then in the fifteenth minute a long ball from the back by Narey found Sulakvelidze hesitant at the back and Jordan pounced to slide the ball past Dasaev and Scotland were 1-0 up. Both teams had chances to add to the goal tally, yet found both keepers in good form. Then on the hour, Gavrilov made a burst forward and exchanged passes to get into the penalty area. His shot hit Narey, with Rough committed and the rebound fell to Chivadze who lifted it into the empty net. It looked a fairly soft goal and slightly unfair to the Scots, but they now knew they were fighting for their continuation in this tournament.

It got worse, though. Demianenko went close with a shot from about twenty-five yards, and then the same man fired a free-kick from just outside the left-hand edge of the area which Rough almost let through his hands. With six minutes remaining, USSR had a throw-in down near their left corner flag.  Chivadze lofted the ball forward down the wing where Alan Hansen misjudged his header on the halfway line, nodding the ball behind him. He turned, to try and retrieve the situation as Willie Miller came across to also deal with it.  Inexplicably, the two simply combined to get in each other’s way and the ball fell kindly for Shengelia who went on and rounded Rough to slot the ball home. It was a poor goal to concede and looked a horrible way to go out. Captain Graeme Souness then took it upon himself to get them back into with a fine dribble and finish, but the damage was done, the game drawn and Scotland were on their way home.

1 Brazil 2 2 0 0 6 2 4 4
2 USSR 3 1 1 1 6 4 2 3
3 Scotland 3 1 1 1 8 8 0 3
4 New Zealand 2 0 0 2 2 8 -6 0


Belgium had now won Group Three and would go into Group A for the Second Phase. Argentina would need to beat El Salvador to go through, as a draw would see them lose out to Hungary on goal difference.

Poland’s incredible win would see them top Group One, unless Italy beat Cameroon by four clear goals. A draw for Italy against Cameroon would see them go through, but into Group C as runners-up. Poland were likely to go into the same group as Belgium.

Scotland were out. Brazil had won Group Six and were into Group C where they could meet Argentina and Italy. A real group of death. The Soviet Union would go into Group A along with Belgium, and possibly Poland.