World Cup's Craziest Moments: Italy and Netherlands Overcome

Stephen Brennan, a Brit, teacher, and soccer fanatic, will tell the World Cup's craziest moments over the next few days. This is the third installment. Read the first one here and the second here.

Italy versus West Germany, Final, 1982

Italy is a team that seems to thrive on low expectations. Italians' hopes of the Azzurri achieving a third World Cup, their first since fascism ruled the country, were at a nadir as the 1982 World Cup began in Spain. They had managed only fourth place in the European Championships, held on home turf two years earlier. Moreover, a recent scandal in the Italian league had seen stars such as Paolo Rossi prosecuted and suspended for match fixing and illegal betting. That they just squeaked through the first round in '82 drew further criticism from the media, to whom the Italian players now refused to speak.

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Steve Brennan