World Cup History: 1982


Winners: Italy

Teams: 24
Teams in qualifiers: 109
Notable absentees: Netherlands, Mexico

Surprises: Algeria, Cameroon, Honduras, Kuwait, New Zealand

Golden Boot: Paolo Rossi (Italy) -- 6

Stats: A total of 146 goals were scored (2.81 per match); France (16) scored the most
Format: Six groups of four, with the top two teams in each group advancing to the second round, where they split into four groups of three. The winners of each group advanced to the semifinals
Number of matches: 52

• A complete overhaul of the structure and an expansion to 24 teams in the finals to allow more teams from Africa and Asia
• Penalty shootouts to decide semifinal and final matches

• In the game between France and Kuwait, the Kuwaitis protested about a goal, claiming they had stopped because of a whistle. Prince Fahid, the Kuwaiti FA president, walked onto the pitch to argue with the referee and threatened to withdraw his team. The referee reversed his decision, but France still won 4-1. The referee was suspended, and Fahid was fined US$14,000
• The format meant that England and Cameroon were knocked out despite not losing a match
• West Germany and Austria went into their last group game knowing a German win by one or two goals would mean both qualified for the next round and, to the disgust of the vociferous crowd, neither made any attempt to score after Germany took an early lead. Algeria, who had beaten West Germany in the opening game, were the real victims as they went out as a result
• In the semifinal, German goalkeeper Harald Schumacher was responsible for one of the game's most appalling fouls when he charged out his area and poleaxed France's Patrick Battiston. To the astonishment of players and spectators, the referee took no action and Schumacher showed not a jot of concern for the unconscious Battison, who was stretchered off with a damaged spine and missing teeth

• Italy's captain, Dino Zoff, was 40 when he played in the final and remains the oldest man to receive a winner's medal
• France's Alain Giresse scored the first goal in a penalty shootout. France lost the semifinal shootout 4-5 to West Germany
• Hungarian substitute Laszlo Kiss scored a hat trick in eight minutes in a record 10-1 rout of El Salvador
• Italy's Giampiero Marini was booked inside a minute in the game against Poland
• Northern Ireland's Norman Whiteside, at the age of 17 years and 42 days, became the youngest player to appear in the finals
• Algeria's captain, Salah Asad, was executed during a government crackdown on Islamic fundamentalists in 1992
• England's Bryan Robson scored against France after 27 seconds, a record at the time
• Peru's 67-year-old coach Elba de Padua Lima, better known as Tim, had appeared in the World Cup 44 years earlier as a player for Brazil
• The total attendance figure of 2,109,723 was the first time it had topped two million

Espana 82 was an expanded, and rather unwieldy, tournament with 24 places now up for grabs for the qualifiers and a changed structure. There was to be a second group stage once again but with the re-introduction of a semifinal stage.

The first stage, with six groups of four, saw a record scoreline when Hungary walloped El Salvador 10-1 as well as a surprise when Algeria defeated West Germany 2-1. Despite this win, the Algerians failed to reach the second round when a footballing Anschluss between Austria and the Germans conspired to let the Germans win 1-0. Newspapers around the world proclaimed the game as a carve-up and few of those who watched the stultifying fare on offer could disagree. German fans of a certain age remain embarrassed by the game.

The heroes of the first round were Northern Ireland, making their first finals appearance since 1958. With Norman Whiteside, the youngest player to feature in a finals tournament, they managed to qualify by beating Spain 1-0 with a famous Gerry Armstrong goal in Valencia. The Spaniards also suffered the ignominy of drawing with Honduras and it was not to be a happy tournament for the hosts.

The other home nations -- England and Scotland -- suffered contrasting fortunes. The Scots were beaten 4-1 by Brazil, despite an iconic early goal from David Narey, and were eliminated after drawing 2-2 with Soviet Union.

England were the form horses of the first round, beating heavily-fancied France 3-1 with Bryan Robson scoring what was then the finals' fastest ever goal and later nodding in another. Wins over Czechoslovakia and Tunisia gave Ron Greenwood's team a 100 percent record but, in the second round, a failure to score against Spain and West Germany saw them return home empty-handed.

Holders Argentina, now featuring Diego Maradona, had endured a tough time in their group, losing to the Belgians in the opening game, but had reached the second-round groups of three. They faced a group of death in the form of Brazil and Italy. Brazil fielded their best team since 1970, with the talents of Falcao, Zico, Socrates and Eder, but the lack of a genuine striker -- Careca missed out through injury -- cost them dearly. The gangly Serginho was not up to the standard of the rest of the side.

The Argentines flopped badly against the Italians and were then outclassed by Brazil in a 3-1 defeat that saw Maradona sent off for kicking out at Batista. Maradona, then just beginning his career at Barcelona, had failed in the tournament in his adopted country. But the Brazilians, everybody's favourites to win the trophy, were soon to meet their own Waterloo. In a World Cup classic, they were beaten by an Italian side waking up from the slumber of the first round. Paolo Rossi struck a hat trick as Brazil, despite classic goals from Socrates and Falcao, exited, with Serginho guilty of some glaring misses.

The semifinals saw Italy face Poland, who were still featuring Grzegorz Lato but had star man Zbigniew Boniek suspended. Rossi was again the man for the occasion as his two goals put Italy into their first final in 12 years.

The other semifinal is often recognised as one of the World Cup's greatest-ever games. France had recovered from their opening defeat to play some fantastic football with celebrated midfielders Michel Platini, Alain Giresse and Jean Tigana leading the charge. With the scores at 1-1, on came substitute Patrick Battiston, who was almost immediately played through the middle.

Charging in on goal, he came up against German keeper Harald Schumacher, who, just as Battiston reached the ball, leapt up and clattered him. The ball trickled wide of the net but, amazingly, Dutch referee Charles Corver awarded a goal-kick as Battiston lay motionless on the field, having lost two teeth.

Despite having to restructure once again, when extra-time came, France stormed into a 3-1 lead with goals from Giresse and Marius Tresor. But the Germans, showing typical resolve and dismissal of romance, fought back to equalise through Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, carrying an injury but on as an emergency substitute, and Klaus Fischer. So began the World Cup's first-ever penalty shootout. As was to become customary down the years, it was the Germans who were victors as Didier Six and Maxime Bossis both missed spot-kicks. Gigantic striker Horst Hrubesch smashed home the winner.

West Germany, highly unpopular after the Schumacher incident, ran out of luck in the final. Both finalists had started slowly in the competition but the Italians finished far stronger as Paolo Rossi opened the scoring and Marco Tardelli smashed in their second, celebrating in legendary fashion. Substitute Alessandro Altobelli sealed it for the Italians in the 80th minute before Paul Breitner scored a late German consolation, his second in a World Cup final. In truth, Italy had outclassed the Germans and, having beaten the holders in Argentina, the favourites in Brazil and the pantomime villains in West Germany, they were worthy winners.