Two years before the 1982 World Cup in Spain, Italian football was hit by a major match fixing scandal which involved some Italian national team players; one of them was named Paolo Rossi.
Rossi received an initial three-year ban which would have seen him miss the 1982 World Cup, but he had it reduced to two years on appeal and made the squad for Spain.
Gli Azzurri got off to an extremely slow start, failing to win their first three matches of the World Cup and sneaking through in second place ahead of Cameroon courtesy of scoring one more goal.
Brazil, as we saw yesterday in this series, produced two wonderful goals through Socrates and Eder to beat the USSR after falling behind.
In their next game they fell behind again, and this time their comeback was even more emphatic — running out 4-1 winners against Scotland. They finished the first group stage off by beating New Zealand 4-0.
In the next round, which unlike today was another group stage, they were pitted against arch-rivals Argentina in addition to Italy.
They saw off Diego Maradona and the World Champions comfortably; scoring more fantastic goals in the process and they became everybody’s favourite to win the World Cup.
The Italians finally got going as they saw off Argentina in an ill-tempered match with goals from Marco Tardelli and Antonio Cabrini.
Then it was time for their match against Brazil: one of the greatest in World Cup history.
Rossi put the Italians ahead twice but the Brazilians levelled twice. The game followed the predicted pattern of Brazilian attack against Italian defence, but the naivety of the Brazilian’s attacking game plan would eventually be punished.
With the game heading to extra-time, Rossi completes his hat-trick by turning home a wayward shot, and this time Brazil have no reply…
What Happened Next?
Italy followed up their dramatic win against Brazil with Rossi scoring twice in the semi-finals against Poland enabling them to reach the final against West Germany.
In the final they produced another fine display to win the World Cup for the third time.
Rossi won the Golden Boot at the 1982 World Cup as well as the European Footballer of the Year award.
As for the South Americans, many would argue Brazilian football was changed forever. They would eventually win the World Cup again in 1994, albeit with a style far removed from Tele Santana’s 1982 side.
Fantastic compilation of the best goals scored by Brazil at the 1982 World Cup.
Full match here