And so here we are, at the tournament’s end, the sixty-fourth game of the 2010 World Cup, and after all the expectation and excitement surrounding Argentina and Brazil, it is an all European Final between Netherlands and Spain. The 1982 tournament also saw a much-fancied Brazil side bow out earlier than expected to give way to an all European denouement; West Germany and Italy who faced each other in the World Cup final, on this day twenty-eight years ago.
Italy were the side who had knocked out favourites Brazil, defeating Socrates, Zico et al with the aid of a Paolo Rossi hat-trick in a decisive second round group tie. Rossi had struck again in the semi-final, grabbing both goals as Italy defeated Poland 2-0 to reach the final. West Germany, as highlighted in this feature a few days ago, had faced a much more arduous semi-final, coming from 3-1 down to France in extra-time to draw level and ultimately triumph in the World Cup’s first ever penalty shoot-out.
And so the two nations met in a packed Bernebeu in Madrid for a final that would produce the World Cup’s oldest winning captain in Dino Zoff, and arguably its most impassioned celebration courtesy of Marco Tardelli.