Italy celebrate

FIFA World Cup™ in review: 1982 Spain

1982 FIFA World Cup Spain

The ball: Tango España


The winner: Italy

The runners-up: West Germany

The difference maker: Playing with the last World Cup™ ball to be made from genuine leather, Italy captured its third trophy, which, at the time, tied Brazil for the most in competition history. The Azzurri would not have lifted the cup without the mighty contributions of Paolo Rossi, who belted in a hat trick to defeat Brazil 3-2 in a crucial second round match and went on to bang in the opener in the final against the West Germans.

The lasting memory: The 1982 FIFA World Cup™ finals marked the expansion from 16 teams to 24, the first time a team from all six confederations qualified and also the first penalty shootout in tournament play. Still, the most iconic image of the soccer-filled summer in Spain came when Marco Tardelli scored Italy’s second goal in the final and broke down weeping, shaking his head, screaming and running toward the Italian bench.

It remains one of the most famous, intensely passionate celebrations in soccer history. If ever someone wonders what the World Cup™ means, they need only to watch Tardelli’s tears.