Top 100 World Cup Moments (From the Aussie P.O.V.): 17-The Tardelli Scream (1982)

The World Cup in Spain was very Eurocentric. Because of the implosions by the champions Argentina and favourites Brazil it would be an all European set of semi finals with the final being between West Germany and Italy. We have already covered the stories of West Germany and Italy in this World Cup earlier in this blog but here’s a bit of a brief rundown. After colluding with Austria to knock Algeria out and progress to the second round West Germany then almost killed a French player and then snuck through on penalties to make the final, they were (in this tournament anyway), the black hats.

Italy were all over the shop before the start of the tournament with match-fixing back home and their much-maligned star striker Paulo Rossi seen as a bit of a joke. They turned it around by knocking out Brazil in an unbelievable virtual quarter final and then defeated Poland to make the big one. The final in the Santiago Barnabeu Stadium in Madrid did not start well for the Italians, as they after only seven minutes were forced to substitute the Fiorentina striker Francesco Graziani for the Inter striker Alessandro Altobelli. Although the Germans initially dominated, the Italians quietly began to fight their way into the match, and after almost half an hour were awarded a penalty kick when the Kaiserslautern defender Hans Peter Briegel brought down the outstanding AS Roma winger Bruno Conti inside the German area.

The unpopular Schumacher seemed unshaken as the Juventus player Antonio Cabrini stepped up to take the penalty. In spite of his experience, and being one of the best Italian players of all time, Cabrini seemed nervous, and totally misplaced his weak shot, that went past the goal. This was the first missed penalty in a world cup final. The score was thus still 0-0 at half-time in a match that had been quite disappointing and overly tactical. The Germans again started the second half trying to put some pressure on the Italians, who were nevertheless too well-organised for the Germans to get any major chance.

Instead, the Italians slowly began to play better and patiently to gain control over the midfield, as the German players seemed to be losing patience and increasingly resorting to fouling the Italians. It was thus to a roar of approval from the entire footballing world, the UN and anyone that had something against West Germany when Italy finally broke the deadlock twelve minutes into the second half. A free kick for Italy was quickly taken by Marco Tardelli, who passed it to the Juventus defender Claudio Gentile on the right side. Gentile looked up and made a cross into the German area, where the defence was getting into position after the quickly taken free kick.

In the centre, three Italian strikers were almost running in the way of each other to get the ball, but the one who got the header and scored was none other than the previously unpopular Rossi, who scored his sixth goal in only three games, and became the top scorer of the 1982 World Cup. Fairytales, movie deals, yadda yadda. West Germany now had to attack. Coach Jupp Derwall brought on an extra striker, Hamburg’s Horst Hrubesch, but the Germans were unable to force through the organized Italians, who now had the luxury to play exactly how they like it, awaiting for the counter-attack.

The Germans, normally so cool, seemed increasingly frustrated and in a situation that characterised both teams Italy went ahead 2-0. A German attack was stopped, and while the Italians counter-attacked, some German players stayed behind complaining to the referee. Rossi, and Gaetano Scirea combined with short passes in the German area, when Scirea passed the ball backwards to the edge of the German area to the ever-fighting Juventus player Marco Tardelli who halfway shooting and tackling got a perfect shot that went into goal at the bottom right corner. Tardelli’s euphoric goal celebration is remembered as one of the greatest moments of joy in World Cup football. His roar and sheer emotion is something of legend and has been mimicked by Italian players at the World Cup in 2006, FIFA football games and numerous other people who have scored a goal in the park or the backyard.

Italy were now in complete control of the match against the disillusioned Germans, who did not seem to believe that they would be able to pull such a comeback as they had done in the semi-final against France. Ten minutes from the end of the match Alessandro Altobelli scored a third for Italy on another outstanding counterattack, where Bruno Conti had found an unmarked Altobelli in front of goal, who had cooly gone around Schumacher to score. 3-1 it finished. Altobelli, who had replaced Graziani at the start of the match, thus became the first substitute to score in a world cup final. Although Paul Breitner scored a goal for the Germans only two minutes later, everyone knew it was just a consolation. However, with this goal Breitner, who had also scored in the final of 1974, became part of an exclusive family of only four players who have scored in two World Cup finals (the others being Pelé, Zinedine Zidane and Vavá).

Italy had won their third World Cup title and were popular and worthy champions following their great matches against Brazil, Poland and West Germany. Legendary goalkeeper Dino Zoff lifted the cup and equaled Brazil as three time winners with their first win since 1938. The good guys had won the battle and one of the most despicable teams at a single World Cup had been vanquished.

About Dennis Gedling

RTR FM Presenter. Glory Guerrillas Producer and Co-Host. Contributer to Football Nation Radio and Football West. Worships at the feet of the mighty Cats, Socceroos, Matildas, West Perth, Glory and Glasgow's Green and White most of the time.

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