Spain 1982, our Naranjito years – Les Cahiers du football |

On June 13, 1982 in Barcelona, ​​the Belgian Erwin Vandenbergh scores the first goal of the 1982 World Cup. Belgium beats Argentina and causes the first surprise of this Spanish World Cup. Beyond the nostalgia that comes from the evocation of this tournament, the hindsight of forty years allows us to say that it was one of the best tournaments in history.

The game was sometimes of exceptional quality and the competition did not lack twists and turns. It was hosted by one of the finest teams ever, Brazil, and marked by some memorable matches, including the Seville semi-final that France still holds as a benchmark.

Finally, the tournament, in its organization and its environment, has transformed football in many areas.

The most romantic Brazil in history

First Brazil. A midfield consisting of SocratesFalcao, Zico and Cerezo: has anyone ever done better for the pleasure of the eyes? The Selection who competed in the 1982 World Cup is at the top of the national pantheon.

Of course, there was Brazil in 1970, which had risen to the top of the world playing fabulous football. But the team led by Telê Santana has something more than that of Pelé, Rivelino and Tostão. No doubt the defeat and his taste for the unfinished gave him an extra romanticism, as in the Netherlands in 1974 or in Hungary in 1954.

The 1982 Brazil team was magnificent, but flawed: among its starters, it included a heavy and clumsy centre-forward, Serginho, and an abysmal goalkeeper, Waldir Peres. For the rest, everything was sculpted in aesthetics: the middle quartet set the tempo, reinforced by two full-backs, Júnior and Leandro, often carried to the front.

In front, a fabulous striker, Eder, with a strike that froze the goalkeepers. Behind, Oscar and Luizinho, the central hinge, two handsome and elegant players, so far from the image that we have today of the Brazilian central defender.

The elimination of this Brazil, against Italy, by the three goals of Paul Rossi and the Parata by Dino Zoff, was a shock. According to the journalist Didier Roustanthe meeting changed the history of football.

The game of a lifetime

The 1982 Mundial was also the setting for the famous Sevilla match. A magnificent and cruel semi-final disputed under the Andalusian night on July 8, between France and the FRG. Have we seen, since, such an intense, dizzying match, capable of making us go through all the feelings: the joys, the sorrows, the injustice, the anger, the mad happiness, the sadness?

That evening, football took on an unprecedented dimension in French homes. Forty years later, even after two titles of world champions, the French keep the course of this very special meeting like a scar.

Looking back over the past forty years, we can see how the twelfth World Cup marked a break. It is enough to compare in our memories what inspires us the Argentinian World Cup of 1978 and that of 1982 in Spain.

Hard to realize that only four years separate these two events. The Argentine edition is the last contested in an outdated format with sixteen teams on the starting line. The Spanish edition brings the event into its modern era.

A new geography of football

By opening up to eight additional teams, the final phase of the World Cup extends the geography of football to the countries of Africa, Central America, Oceania, the Middle East… The newcomers bring a lot of freshness to a test that was slow to renew itself.

The insolent Algeria enters a West Germany that is a little too sure of itself. Cameroon resists its opponents so much that it emerges undefeated, not far from eliminating the future world champions. Honduras jostles the host of the tournament and Kuwait thinks everything is allowed.

Even New Zealand seduces despite three heavy defeats, with its remarkable state of mind (zero yellow cards). As for El Salvador, if it takes the worst defeat in history (10-1), it finds a way to elect one of his men best player of the match.

With Spain 1982, the history of the World Cup has turned a big page. On the field, a certain idea of ​​football, attacking and joyful, was confronted with the cynicism of the result at all costs. The dancing Brazil of Zico and Sócrates crashes against the rigid Italy of Rossi and Gentile.

The joyful France of Platini and Giresse is hit by the unsmiling Federal Germany of Rummenigge and Schumacher. Algeria itself is denied access to the second round because of a useful result negotiated between first cousins.

In terms of the media, the World Cup took on an additional dimension in 1982. For the first time, the tournament is broadcast on the screens of the five continents. By multiplying the matches, the World Cup becomes a profitable affair.

Sponsors and televisions are now ready to pay a high price. The extension of the number of teams is such a success that the operation will be repeated in the future. The Mundial 82 opened Pandora’s box. For some, his memory evokes the air of The Number of the Beast

Crazy runs, crazy dribbles

We have kept so many images in the album of this early Spanish summer, a great inventory on the green meadow.

The crazy races of Zbignew Boniek, the incessant grimaces of Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, the relaxed class of Michel Platini, the inglorious exit of young Diego Maradona, the stoicism of goalkeepers Thomas N’Kono, Rinat Dasaev or Julio Cesar Arzu.

The angry face of Michael Hidalgo after the delirious intervention of the Kuwaiti sheikh, the disarray of the Chilean striker Carlos Caszely who ruins the rare hopes of his country, the funny Northern Irish team with its seventeen-year-old playmaker, veteran goalkeeper and second division attackers.

The crazy dribbles of Bruno Conti or Pierre Littbarski, bright supporting roles for their respective selections, or those more provocative of the Polish Wlodzimierz Smolarek near the corner post of Camp Nou, the enchanted ballet of the Brazilian players, the often bare stands.

The distress of Max Bossis after his missed shot on goal, which contrasted so much with the joy of first (and only) international goal of his careercrazy goal celebrations from Alain Giresse in Sevilla or from Marco Tardelli finally…

All these memories well deserved a small series of articles on the Notebooksforty years later.


June 13. España 1982, our Naranjito years

June 14. One day, one goal: Socratestwo feints and a mine

June 15. One day, one goal: Milla 1982, the missed story

June 16. One day, one goal: Robson 1982, heat stroke in Bilbao

21st of June. One day, one goal: Giresse 1982, the Valladolid controversy

June 24. One day one goal: Armstrong 1982, from Ulster to the moon

June 28. One day, one goal: Genghini 1982, the blue skylight

June 5. Paolo Rossi, the stuff we thought was lost

June 8. Battiston, route of a forgotten tunic

4th July. Cold War at the corner post

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