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Sunday 11th July 1982

FINAL, Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid. (20:00)

ITALY   (0)   3   (Rossi 57, Tardelli 69, Altobelli 81)

WEST GERMANY   (0)   1   (Breitner 83)

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

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

The 52nd match of the tournament. So far there had been 142 goals. How many more would there be?

You had to go back twenty years to find the last time at least one of these nations had not finished in the last four. This was Italy’s first Final appearance since they lifted the trophy in 1938. For West Germany this was their second Final appearance in the last three. Italy had been a surprise entrant as they weren’t expected to get past Brazil, but were now bang in form. The Germans won a controversial Semi-Final against the French and had been efficient rather than inspirational.

The Germans had the better of the early stages but then Italy earned a penalty as Conti was held back by Briegel in the area. Cabrini stepped up and scuffed his shot wide of the post. The rest of the half produced few clear-cut chances, but several shots from long-range from both sides. Goalless at half-time, Italy finally broke the deadlock just before the hour as a cross from the right from Gentile bounced awkwardly and Paolo Rossi headed the ball in from five yards for his sixth goal of the tournament, all in his last three matches.

Twelve minutes later the Italians broke on the counter and Scirea’s ball back found Tardelli on the edge of the area. The Juventus midfielder moved the ball onto his left foot and fired a shot past Schumacher to put his country 2-0 up. Tardelli’s celebration has gone down in history as a perfect example of what it meant to score a goal in a World Cup Final. The Italians then made certain when substitute Altobelli scored after a counter-attack lead by Conti. He received the ball on the penalty spot and flicked it wide of Schumacher before converting.

Paul Breitner then gave the Germans a consolation and had the distinction of scoring in two World Cup Finals, having scored a penalty in 1974. In the end Italy were worthy winners and had equalled Brazil’s record of winning the World Cup three times in their history. This was remarkable when you consider they were simply awful during the opening Group Phase, yet came good when it mattered, beating Argentina, Brazil, Poland and West Germany. They went through the whole competition unbeaten, as champions should. They had the top scorer, Rossi (6) although they had only scored twelve in the seven matches they’d played.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this detailed look back at a tournament many, like me, consider their favourite. Who knows I may get round to doing one about 1986.

It should set you up nicely for Russia 2018. Will it match 1982 for drama, excitement and controversy? Let’s hope so, eh?

Don’t forget all the World Cup 2018 news, information and general high-class punditry is to be found on