Stated a thread about Mexico 86 the other day and a lot of people said that, along with Spain 82 was their favourite World Cup. So here it goes then.
Italy added the 1982 World Cup title to crowns from 1934 and 1938 by knocking off West Germany 3-1 in the final in Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu. Paolo Rossi won the Golden Shoe award as top scorer with six goals.Bigger Tournament, New Format
The 1982 World Cup was the last tournament to feature the fully leather ball. But it was the first to include 24 teams instead of 16. There was also a new format, broken down into three stages - six first round groups of four with the top two advancing to four groups of three teams in the second round. And then each of those group winners moved to the semi-finals. The tournament ran from June 13-July 11, 1982.Six Newcomers, No Two-Time Runners-Up Netherlands
There were six teams making their first World Cup appearance - Algeria, Cameroon, El Salvador, Honduras, Kuwait, New Zealand. But none of them playing was as big as the news that the Netherlands did not even qualify after reaching the final in 1974 and 1978.Youngest Player In World Cup History
Pele's showing in 1958 had been the mark for the youngest player in World Cup history until Northern Ireland's Norman Whiteside started the 1982 event at 17 years and 41 days.Italy Advance From First Round On Goals Scored
Cameroon played to scoreless draws against Poland and Peru before gaining a 1-1 draw against Italy in Group 1. But the Africans went home without losing a match as Poland and Italy advanced - the Italians only because they had scored one more goal than Cameroon.Algeria Surprise West Germany, Northern Ireland Wins Group
Algeria shocked European champions West Germany 2-1 but failed to advance from Group 2 as the Germans beat Austria 1-0 and both teams moved on. England won all three games in Group 4 to move to the second round with France while Belgium and holders Argentina got through Group 3 and Brazil were perfect in Group 6 in moving on with the Soviet Union. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the first round was Northern Ireland taking Group 5 honors by beating fellow second rounders and hosts Spain and sending Yugoslavia home.El Salvador Gives Up 10 Goals
While other debutants like Cameroon, Algeria and Northern Ireland were thrilling fans, El Salvador set a mark of their own in their 10-1 loss against Hungary, becoming the first team in World Cup history to allow 10 goals.All-European Semi-Finals
Italy more than just survived an extremely difficult second round by holding on to beat defending champions Argentina 2-1 and then Paolo Rossi scored a hat-trick in a 3-2 victory over Brazil, who needed only a draw to advance. West Germany used a 2-1 victory over Spain to advance against the hosts and England. Zbigniew Boniek scored a hat-trick as Poland's 3-0 win against Belgium was enough to advance over the Soviet Union. And France completed the all-European semi-finals thanks to Alain Giresse and Dominique Rocheteau each scoring two goals in a 4-1 win over Northern Ireland.Italy Too Much Without Boniek, Germans Win On Penalties
Poland were without the suspended Boniek for the semi-finals and offered little resistance to Italy, who saw Rossi score twice in a 2-0 victory. The other semi was a thriller which was 1-1 after regular time. France jumped ahead 3-1 in extra time but the Germans came back to equalize and force penalties, which they won 5-4 as German keeper Harald Schumacher saved Maxime Bossis's shot and Horst Hrubech struck the winner. The game was marred by Schumacher knocking France's Patrick Battiston unconscious midway through the second half.Rossi Helps Italy To Title
Golden Shoe winner Rossi scored his tournament-high sixth goal to open the scoring in the 57th minute of the final. Marco Tardelli doubled the lead (69th) and Alessandro Altobelli (81st) finished off the Germans, who pulled one back in a 3-1 loss. And Italy finally had another title - 44 years after their last one.
Some great memories there. The Brazil team was probably one of the best of all time never to win a World Cup. Rossi's story after coming back from a ban was fairytale stuff, as was Gerry Armstrong's winner for Northern Ireland against Spain. Add this to Tardelli's celebration, Bryan Robson's 20 second goal against France and the semi final classic between West Germany and France and it probably contributes to the greatest World Cup in living memory. Do you agree?