Host nation: Spain Games: 52 Goals: 146 (2.81 per match) Dismissals: 5 Venues: 17 Winners: Italy Top scorer: Paolo Rossi (6 goals)
Spain 82 was a superb tournament, almost in spite of itself. It had an unfathomable double group stage. The draw – overseen by Sepp Blatter – had to be redone, with Scotland placed in the pot meant for Argentina, and Peru and Chile missed out entirely. The hamster wheel containing the balls even jammed, with one falling on the floor. The rubber inlay of the Adidas Tango matchball tore too easily and it kept bursting. Mundiespana, the organising company, inflated ticket, flight and hotel prices, and then there was the strike at Seville airport which grounded West Germany until 4am after their semi-final.
Brazil had Zico, Socrates and Falcao, West Germany had Paul Breitner, Karl-heinz Rummenigge and Bernd Schuster, and holders Argentina boasted Ossie Ardiles, Daniel Passarella and a young Diego Maradona. Plus Boniek, Blokhin, Platini, Dalglish, Robson and Rossi.
Long-rangers from Socrates and Eder against the Soviet Union were classic Brazilian individualism. Scotland defender David Narey took the Selecao on at their own game, while Gerry Armstrong’s thwack saw off Spain in Northern Ireland’s finest World Cup moment.
It doesn’t get much worse than flattening an opponent when clean through on goal, knocking him unconscious and still not getting sent off. West Germany keeper Harald Schumacher, we shall never forget. Or France defender Patrick Battiston’s missing front teeth, broken ribs and damaged vertebrae (above left) forgive. In the final, Germany captain Rummenigge ordered his team-mates to hit Uli Stielike at half-time for having the temerity to suggest he wasn’t fit to start.
Brazil’s ‘organised chaos’ unravelled with Paolo Rossi’s hat-trick in their 3-2 defeat. Schumacher assault aside, the semi-final between France and West Germany is a contender for the greatest game ever. One-all after 90 minutes, the sides exchanged four extra-time goals, Les Bleus going 3-1 up before going out on penalties. Breathless.
“GOL! GOL! GOL!” yelled Marco Tardelli in crazed ecstasy after scoring Italy’s second in the 3-1 victory against West Germany. “I was going mad,” he later recalled of the celebration that defined him.
West Germany knew a victory would ensure qualification from their group at Algeria’s expense. Austria could lose 1-0 and still progress. Guess the score in the Disgrace of Gijon? Local newspaper El Comercio published the match report in its crime section. From 1986 on, all final group-stage games would kick off at the same time.