This is the 11th in a weekly series of World Cup history lessons brought to you by our very own “Professor” Guy Bailey. He is not actually a professor; the only professor on staff is Jamie Clary. Well, sort of.
The 1982 World Cup
The 1982 World Cup was held in Spain and was the first to be expanded to 24 teams, mainly at the behest of the European and South Americans but Africa also benefited with an extra place.
Holland, the form team of the previous two World Cups, missed out and would not return for another 8 years. Mexico were also absent, surprisingly beaten by El Salvador who took their place and left them to prepare for their own tournament four years later. England, Belgium, Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union returned and we saw five debutants to the finals – Algeria, Cameroon, Honduras, Kuwait and New Zealand.
The format for the tournament had to change to allow for the extra teams. We had six groups of four in the first round, the winners and runners-up in each would then proceed to a second group phase, where four groups of three teams would play. The winners of each second round group proceeding to the semi-finals.
Group One comprised Italy, Poland, Peru and new boys Cameroon. The group started slowly with two goalless draws between Italy and Poland; Peru and Cameroon, Poland also drew 0-0 with Cameroon in the second game, the Italians shading it in the excitement factor drawing 1-1 with the Peruvians. Poland sealed their first place with a resounding 5-1 victory over Peru, all five goals coming in the second half and Italy, who drew their last match 1-1 with Cameroon despite taking the lead, qualified in second place, level on points and goal difference with the plucky Africans but going through after scoring more goals – two to the Indomitable Lions one.
Group Two saw West Germany take on Algeria, Chile and neighbors Austria. In one of the shock results, the North Africans beat the Germans 2-1, while Austria beat Chile 1-0. Germany responded well, with a Rummenigge hat-trick in a 4-1 victory over Chile, whilst Austria sealed their qualification with a 2-0 victory over Algeria. The Algerians won their remaining game 3-2 over Chile but played 24 hours before the Germans and Austrians had to meet. Once Germany went 1-0 up early in the match, both teams then proceeded to make a mockery of the tournament by passing the ball back and forth between themselves to the increasing fury and hostility of the crowd, especially Algerian fans who started waving money at the players. The final results saw Germany go through as winners and Austria qualify in second. Such was the outcry after the game with Algeria protesting the result to FIFA that although it was allowed to stand, all final group matches would in future, kick off at the same time and date to avoid any future stitch-ups.
Group Three began with a shock as Belgium defeated reigning champions Argentina 1-0 and El Salvador also got a big welcome to the World Cup as Hungary thrashed them 10-1. A young Guy Bailey ruining his World Cup wallchart in the process as he naively believed that a 10-1 win would guarantee the Hungarians a place in the second round. Belgium sealed their place at the top of the group beating El Salvador 1-0 and drawing 1-1 with Hungary in the last match. Argentina finally unleashed Maradonna on European audiences and he obliged with a brace as they beat the swaggering Hungarians 4-1. They mopped up the dispirited El Salvadorians 2-0 in the last game and went through in second place. Public opinion at home was critical to the Argentinians who had recently come second in a less well-contested Falkland Islands play-off with England and desperately needed something to distract the population.
Group Four saw their military conquerors England return against another of their old enemies, the French, along with Czechoslovakia and Kuwait. Bryan Robson scored the fastest goal in World Cup History taking 17 seconds to beat the French goalkeeper to the ball. Although they equalized, England scored twice more to win 3-1. They beat the Czech’s 2-0 and took mercy on Kuwait with a 1-0 victory to seal qualification at the top of the group. France beat Kuwait 4-1 in the second match, interrupted for several minutes after the president of the Kuwaiti Football Association, Sheikh Fahid Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, brother of the Kuwaiti Emir, took exception to the referee’s decision to allow France’s third goal to stand. After the Sheikh’s intervention, he disallowed it although France added two more afterwards to put the matter beyond doubt. Kuwait, who drew 1-1 with the Czechs in their first game, went home and the French went through. This wouldn’t be the only time they would feel short-changed by officials in the tournament.
Group Five saw the hosts Spain face off against Yugoslavia, Honduras and Northern Ireland. Draws began for all teams as Honduras shocked the Spanish; although they recovered sufficiently to beat Yugoslavia 2-1 in their second game. Honduras proved it was no fluke by holding the Ulstermen to a 1-1 draw in their second match and give them a chance of progressing. This was cruelly snuffed out as they lost to an 88th minute Yugoslav penalty which opened the door for Spain to rally and win the group. Another great World Cup shock was sprung when it was the Northern Irish, and striker Gerry Armstrong who scored the only goal of the game in the 47th minute to clinch the group for the Irish although Spain joined them in the second phase. The Northern Irish FA having to hastily cancel flights and rebook hotels for a trip which they assumed was going to end. Armstrong himself went on to enjoy a good career in Spanish club football after the tournament.
The final Group was one of the most anticipated as the heavily fancied Brazilians dripping with attacking verve met the steely Soviets, unpredictable Scots and plucky Kiwis. Brazil came from behind in their first match to beat the Soviet Union 2-1 with goals from the incomparable Socrates (once famously misprinted in The Guardian as 50 Crates) and Eder. Scotland proclaimed themselves World Champions after a crushing 5-2 victory against New Zealand, who the Soviets then routed 3-0. Scotland’s claims to glory looked strangely prescient for exactly 15 minutes when they took the lead against Brazil until Zico, Oscar and Falcao gave them a footballing lesson in the second half. Eder adding another. Brazil completed their procession 4-0 against the New Zealanders who showed more effort in trying to get Zico’s shirt than they had trying to stop his two goals, and Scotland added another painful exit to the collection, blowing the lead against the Soviets and drawing 2-2 which saw them progress in second at the Scots expense.
Group A in the Second Round saw Poland and Boniek claim a hat trick against the lackluster Belgians who also lost to the Soviets setting up an eliminator between the angry Poles and their would-be Soviet master, the Polish government instigating marshal law back home at the Russians insistence to forestall a possible invasion. Some justice was done as the 0-0 draw saw the Russians eliminated and Poland progress.
Group B saw another meeting of old enemies as England drew 0-0 with the West Germans who then beat the hosts 2-1 in their second match. An English win would see them into the semis but the dogged Spanish held out 0-0 despite the return from injury of Kevin Keegan and England limped out of the tournament, running out of steam despite remaining undefeated.
Group C was the original Group Of Death comprising holders Argentina, favorites and rivals Brazil and dogged Italy. Boy-wonder Maradonna effectively shackled by Italian one-man-gang Claudio Gentile, the Italians gained the advantage 2-1 in the first match. Argentina then crashed out of the tournament and Maradonna himself saw red for lashing out at a Brazilian as the maestros surgically dismantled the out-of-sorts holders 3-1. The final match is one of the greatest World Cup matches ever. Disgraced striker Paolo Rossi, returning after a gambling ban put the Italians 1-0 up after 5 minutes. Socrates, a genuine doctor of philosophy, reasoned that attack was the best form of defense and equalized on 12 minutes. Rossi restored the advantage on 25 and Italian-based Falcao risked the sack by again drawing Brazil level. The match was as one-sided a game as you could wish to see, wave after wave of Brazilian attack foundered on the rock of Gentile and his airtight defense. The inevitable happened when Rossi, previously comatose in the tournament, sealed his hat-trick on 74 minutes and despite a late flurry, Brazilian hearts were broken as the most talented team since the 1970 glory boys went home.
Group D saw France beat Austria 1-0 in the opener, The Austrians gain pride with a 2-2 draw in the second match and France turning up the heat and the class with a 4-1 victory over the Northern Irish, for whom Hamilton scored again.
The first semi final saw Italy and man of the moment Rossi, put paid to Poland with a brace and then put their feet up to watch one of the most enthralling and controversial Semi Finals ever.
West Germany took the lead on 17 minutes which the sublime Michel Platini equalized with a penalty on 26 minutes. The match ebbed and flowed until the middle of the second half when another great Platini pass released Patrick Battiston who advanced through the sparse German defense and lobbed onrushing goalkeeper Toni Schumacher. Schumacher then launched himself at Battiston after the ball had gone, knocking him unconscious and also detaching two of the full-backs teeth. The Dutch referee, unbelievably, gave a goal-kick following the assault which would have gained Schumacher 18 months incarceration had it happened anywhere but a football field. The French then focused and took a 3-1 lead in Extra Time, seemingly heading for the finals. German discipline came to the fore as first Rummenigge and then Fischer with a stunning overhead kick equalized and sent the semi to Penalty Kicks for the first time in World Cup History. France took a 3-2 lead but Germany forced the shoot-out to sudden death at 4-4. Alain Bossis saw his kick saved by Villain of the piece Schumacher before Hrubesch made it 5-4 and took them into the finals. A disinterested France lost the play-off to Poland 3-2.
The Final between Italy and West Germany saw Paolo Rossi complete his personal resurrection with his sixth goal on 57 minutes, securing the golden boot for himself and two more goals from Tardelli and Altobelli seemed to put the match beyond doubt. Breitner pulled a goal back for the West Germans but it was a mere consolation as the Italians held on to become joint Third Time winners along with Brazil and 40-year-old Captain Dino Zoff would make more history becoming the oldest player and only goalkeeper to raise the trophy aloft.
Guy Bailey is a senior writer for The Yanks Are Coming. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.