Sunday, July 11, 2010

11 July 1982 - They Were Just Saving Their Energy In The First Round

On 11 July 1982, Italy claimed their third World Cup with a 3-1 win over West Germany at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu in Madrid.

Italy's campaign had started inauspiciously, as they drew all three matches in the first round group stage. But they righted the ship in the second round group, beating both Argentina and Brazil to reach the semifinals where they defeated Poland 2-0. The Germans, meanwhile, opened their tournament with a 1-2 loss to Algeria, but rallied to win their groups in the first and second rounds, including impressive second-round wins over Spain and England, then beat France on penalties to set up the Final against Italy.

The Azzurri had a chance to take a first-half lead when winger Bruno Conti was brought down in the box, but while Conti was being treated on the sideline, left back Antonio Cabrini sent the penalty kick wide. In the 57th minute, however, center forward Paolo Rossi scored with a header to put the Italians up 1-0. Midfielder Marco Tardelli doubled the lead in the 69th minute with a powerful shot from outside the box as the Germans looked unable to stop the Italians' flowing attack.

Forward Alessandro Altobelli then added a third in the 81st minute, as he stood unmarked in the center of the box to receive a pass and tapped it in. West German midfielder Paul Breitner scored two minutes later, but it was a small consolation as the match ended 3-1.

Rossi won the Golden Boot award with 6 goals and was also named the World Cup's first Golden Ball winner as the tournament's most valuable player.

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