1982 Soccer World Cup, Spain

The 1982 FIFA World Cup Spain was the twelfth edition of the men’s world soccer championship organized by FIFA. It was held in Spain from June 13 to July 11, 1982.

The championship counted for the first time with the participation of 24 national selections, through an enlargement of the continental quotas in the qualifying phase. To make room for them changes were made in the competition system: there was a format with two liguillas and final phase that would only be used in this edition. The organizing committee provided a total of 17 stadiums in 14 venues, including the Camp Nou for the inauguration and the Santiago Bernabéu for the grand final. The 1982 World Cup was the first to have representatives from all continents.

The Italian national team was proclaimed world champion for the third time, having defeated Germany in the final by 3: 1. The transalpine team did not have a good start after having qualified with three draws, but they improved their game from the first round. Second phase and they took the title without conceding a single defeat.The most outstanding of the tournament was Paolo Rossi, winner of the Golden Boot to the top scorer and the Golden Ball to the best player. On the other hand, Italian captain Dino Zoff became the oldest player to lift the title of champions at 40 years.

Between the moments of this edition, the match between Italy and Brazil (3: 2) held at the stadium of Sarriá is still remembered as one of the best that has been played in the history of the World Cup. Other highlights were the semifinal between France and Federal Germany, the first resolved in the penalty shootout; the attractive game of the Brazilian team of Telê Santana, commanded by Zico, Falcão and Sócrates, the emergence of the brother of the emir of Kuwait in the middle of a game, the win by 10: 1 from Hungary to El Salvador, and the result agreed between Germany and Austria that qualified both for the second round, for which FIFA had to introduce unified schedules on the last day of the group stage.

With regard to Spain, the 1982 World Cup was the first major event organized in the country after the restoration of democracy. The main stadiums in the country were remodeled, money was invested in updating the transport network, and the accumulated experience would serve to obtain the concession of future events such as the 1992 Olympic Games. However, the national team did not meet expectations and fell in the second round with only one victory. The mascot Naranjito became the symbol of the tournament.

The choice of venue for the FIFA World Cups of 1974, 1978 and 1982 was resolved at the FIFA congress on October 6, 1964 in Tokyo, and was ratified two years later at the next congress in London. According to the continental rotation criteria of the time, taking into account that Mexico would host the 1970 edition, European countries could apply only for the 1974 and 1982 tournaments.

Spain had tried to host the World Cup twice: in the inaugural edition of 1930, where FIFA members opted for Uruguay, and in the 1966 edition, where they ended up retiring before the vote. The original purpose of the Spanish Football Federation (FEF) was to present candidacies in 1974 and 1982, taking into account the large number of stadiums, the sporting successes at the club level, and the support among several delegations. However, the favorite to host the 1974 World Cup was West Germany, so both countries agreed to support each other and prevent other candidates from competing in an open election.

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