The famous piece of commentary provided by John Motson described Northern Ireland’s goal in their shock win over hosts Spain. A Northern Ireland fanzine would later be named after Motson’s words.
In truth, England probably peaked a little too soon. After just 27 seconds, Bryan Robson’s goal against France was the perfect start to the World Cup campaign. Repeatedly referred to as the fastest goal in the history of the tournament (it wasn’t), Robson received a £1,000 gold watch for his efforts.
I wonder if Dutch referee would have liked to have the use of VAR in 1982. Looking at a barely conscious Patrick Battiston laying on the floor, perhaps he might have considered just how the Frenchman had ended up in this state. With video assistance, maybe Corver would have sent Harald Schumacher on his way rather than awarding a goal kick.
Disgrace of Gijón
West Germany had already been involved in controversy during their 1-0 win over Austria in their final group match. The result ensured that both countries would qualify at the expense of Algeria, with little attempt made by either team after Horst Hrubesch’s 10th minute goal. Commentators complained, a German fan burnt his national flag, and the crowd protested.
But little could be done about the alleged collusion. Although from that point on, it was agreed that the final group matches at tournaments should be played at the same time.
How not to organise a World Cup draw. Firstly, FIFA Executive Hermann Neuberger allocated Belgium and Scotland in the wrong groups. Secondly, the spinning cages holding the balls malfunctioned. And then one of the balls split. Read more about this hilarious episode here.
With 24 teams now qualifying for the tournament, FIFA came up with a slightly odd system for the second round; four groups of three with each group winner progressing to the semi-finals. It’s not hard to see why this system was never used again.
Juventus’ Claudio Gentile gave a lesson in man-marking 1980s style with his dedication to the role against Diego Maradona. Fouling the young Argentine on 23 occasions, the Italian centre back was eventually booked. But he successfully stifled his opponent, as Italy ran out 2-1 winners.
Hansen and Miller
Not a folk combo, but Scotland’s centre backs who sadly collided as another Scotland World Cup campaign was about to end in agonising failure. Scotland would later equalise against the Soviet Union but went out of the tournament on goal difference.
Under the media spotlight due to the 1980 betting/bribery scandal in Serie A, Italy came in for more criticism after three draws in their first round group saw Enzo Bearzot’s team edge out Cameroon on goals scored. But from this point on, they never looked back.
The thrilling 3-2 win over Brazil, and a comfortable semi-final win against Poland set up a final with West Germany. The 3-1 win gave Italy their third World Cup, and left Italian President Sandro Pertini delighted in the Bernabeu.
Describing David Narey’s opener against Brazil as a “toe poke” was never likely to endear Jimmy Hill in the eyes of the Tartan Army. In fact, they created a song in tribute to him after this moment: “We Hate Jimmy Hill, He's a Poof, He's a Poof.”
England taking injured players to the World Cup is not a new thing. In 1982, both Kevin Keegan and Trevor Brooking were blatantly unfit, and would only appear briefly against Spain. Sadly, Keegan will always be remembered for missing a sitter as England’s hopes evaporated.
L’urlo di Tardelli
A fairly inoffensive mascot, the orange dressed in Spain’s national kit featured on many products. He even got his own television programmes in Spain.
Argentina took the unusual decision to allocate squad numbers based on surnames, so in Spain we saw the strange sight of midfielder Ossie Ardiles with number one on his back. There was an exception; Maradona, wanting to keep his usual number ten shirt, swapped with Patricio Hernández.
Narrated by Sean Connery and accompanied by music from Rick Wakeman, G'olé! was a superb review of the 1982 World Cup, with features on Brazil, New Zealand, Maradona, and that gripping semi-final between West Germany and France. I’m off now to convert my old VHS tape to DVD.
The semi-final between West Germany and France deserved a better ending than this. 120 minutes of breathless drama, controversy, and a German comeback. And then the now inevitable West German win after the first penalty shootout at the World Cup.
England nearly didn’t make it to Spain after defeats against Romania, Switzerland, and Norway. Luckily Switzerland shocked Romania, and England made it to their first finals since 1970.
Scotland and Northern Ireland qualified from the same group, but Wales and the Republic of Ireland missed out on goal difference. Elsewhere, New Zealand battled through 15 matches to make it to Spain, but Poland only played four.
Having only just returned to football due to a ban for his part in the 1980 Serie A scandal, Paolo Rossi hardly impressed in the early part of the tournament. That would all change, though, as Rossi paid tribute to Ted Rogers/Dusty Bin, by scoring 3-2-1 to help Italy to glory.
A hat-trick against Brazil, a brace against Poland, and the opener in the final, saw Rossi claim the golden boot, and gain redemption.
The length of time the Kuwait-France match was delayed, after Kuwaiti players walked off in protest, claiming they had heard a whistle before Alain Giresse scored. During this time, Kuwaiti FA President Prince Fahid managed to persuade referee Miroslav Stupar to disallow the goal, which led to a fine of 25,000 Swiss Francs for the Kuwaiti FA, and a suspension for the match official.
When Ruud Gullit talked about sexy football, maybe he was really referring to the Tango España?
First Cameroon left Spain without a loss against their name, and then England. Another admirer of the Rogers/Bin show, Greenwood’s men scored 3-2-1, and sadly carried on the sequence with blanks against West Germany and Spain.
Scorer of the first goal in the tournament, Erwin Vandenbergh’s strike shocked Argentina, and ultimately led to the holders relinquishing their crown to Italy and Brazil in the second round.
World Cup songs
Oh, how I miss the days of reluctant footballers dragged into a recording studio or plied with alcohol to appear on Top of the Pops. England’s This Time reached number 3, with Scotland’s We Have A Dream peaking at number 5. The less said about Dana’s Yer Man, the better, though.
Admittedly, I’m cheating slightly, but using Roman numerals, this was the amount of goals Hungary put past an El Salvador team that had not prepared well for the finals. László Kiss claimed a hat-trick in just seven minutes, but Hungary still failed to make it out of the group; at least El Salvador improved, only letting in three in their next two matches.
The sight of Brazil in their iconic shirts is one of the great memories of Spain 82. Glorious goals, beautiful football, and unfortunately shocking defending combined to ensure that this Brazilian vintage are always mentioned when talking about the greatest team never to win the World Cup.
Zbigniew, Zico and Zoff
Three stars in Spain conclude this list. Juventus-bound Zbigniew Boniek scored four in the tournament but would miss the semi-final due to suspension. Zico became the player everyone wanted to be in the playground. And 40-year-old Dino Zoff captained Italy to glory, becoming the oldest ever winner of the World Cup.