Spain was chosen as the host nation by FIFA in London, England on 6 July 1966. Hosting rights for the 1974 and 1978 tournaments were awarded at the same time. West Germany agreed a deal with Spain by which Spain would support West Germany for the 1974 tournament, and in return West Germany would allow Spain to bid for the 1982 World Cup unopposed.
For the first time, the World Cup finals expanded from 16 to 24 teams. This allowed more teams to participate, especially from Africa and Asia.
Teams absent from the finals were 1974 and 1978 runners-up Netherlands (eliminated by Belgium and France), Mexico (eliminated by Honduras and El Salvador), and the three times 1970s participants Sweden (eliminated by Scotland and Northern Ireland). Northern Ireland qualified for the first time since 1958. Belgium, Czechoslovakia, El Salvador, England, and the Soviet Union were back in the Finals after a 12-year absence. England had its first successful World Cup qualifying campaign in 20 years – the English team had qualified automatically as hosts in 1966 and as defending champions in 1970, then had missed the 1974 and 1978 tournaments. Yugoslavia were also back after having missed the 1978 tournament.
Algeria, Cameroon, Honduras, Kuwait, and New Zealand all participated in the World Cup for the first time. As of 2014, this was the last time that El Salvador, Kuwait and Peru qualified for a FIFA World Cup finals.
There was some consideration given as to whether England, Northern Ireland and Scotland should withdraw from the tournament due to the Falklands War between Argentina and the United Kingdom. A directive issued by the British sports minister Neil Macfarlane in April, at the start of the conflict, suggested that there should be no contact between British representative teams and Argentina. This directive was not rescinded until August, following the end of hostilities. Macfarlane reported to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher that some players and officials were uneasy about participating due to the casualties being suffered by British forces. FIFA advised the British Government that there was no prospect of Argentina (the defending champions) being asked to withdraw. It also became apparent that no other countries would withdraw from the tournament. It was decided to allow the British national teams to participate because it could have been used for propaganda purposes by Argentina, rather than having the intended effect of applying political pressure onto Argentina.
The 1982 competition used a unique format. The first round was a round-robin group stage containing six groups of four teams each. Two points were awarded for a win and one for a draw, with goal difference used to separate teams equal on points. The top two teams in each group advanced. In the second round, the twelve remaining teams were split into four groups of three teams each, with the winner of each group progressing to the knockout semi-final stage.
The composition of the groups in the second round was predetermined before the start of the tournament. In the aggregate, Groups A and B were to include one team from each of Groups 1 through 6, and Groups C and D included the remaining six teams. The winners of Groups 1 and 3 were in Group A whilst the runners-up were in Group C. The winners of Groups 2 and 4 were in Group B whilst the runners-up were in Group D. The winner of Group 5 was in Group D whilst the runner-up was in Group B. The winner of Group 6 was in Group C whilst the runner-up was in Group A. Thus, Group A mirrored Group C, and Group B mirrored Group D with the winners and runners-up from the first round being placed into opposite groups in the second round.
The second-round groups that mirrored each other (based on the first-round groupings) faced off against each other in the semifinals. Thus, the Group A winner played the Group C winner, and the Group B winner player the Group D winner. This meant that if two teams which played in the same first-round group both emerged from the second round, they would meet for the second time of the tournament in a semifinal match. It also guaranteed that the final match would feature two teams that had not previously played each other in the tournament. As it turned out, Italy and Poland who were both in Group 1 in the first round, each won their second-round groups and played each other in a semifinal match.
In Group 1, newcomers Cameroon held both Poland and Italy to draws, and were denied a place in the next round on the basis of having scored fewer goals than Italy (the sides had an equal goal difference). Poland and Italy qualified over Cameroon and Peru. Italian journalists and tifosi criticised their team for their uninspired performances that managed three draws; the squad was reeling from the recent Serie A scandal, where national players were suspended for match fixing and illegal betting.
Group 2 saw one of the great World Cup upsets on the first day with the 2–1 victory of Algeria over reigning European Champions West Germany. In the final match in the group, West Germany met Austria.
Algeria had already played their final group game the day before, and West Germany and Austria knew that a West German win by 1 or 2 goals would qualify them both, while a larger German victory would qualify Algeria over Austria, and a draw or an Austrian win would eliminate the Germans. After 10 minutes of all-out attack, West Germany scored through a goal by Horst Hrubesch. After the goal was scored, the two teams kicked the ball around aimlessly for the rest of the match. Chants of "Fuera, fuera" ("Out, out") were screamed by the Spanish crowd, while angry Algerian supporters waved banknotes at the players. This performance was widely deplored, even by the German and Austrian fans. One German fan was so upset by his team's display that he burned his German flag in disgust. Algeria protested to FIFA, who ruled that the result be allowed to stand; FIFA introduced a revised qualification system at subsequent World Cups in which the final two games in each group were played simultaneously.
Group 3, where the opening ceremony and first match of the tournament took place, saw Belgium beat defending champions Argentina 1–0. The Camp Nou stadium was the home of Barcelona, and many fans had wanted to see the club's new signing, Argentinian star Diego Maradona, who did not perform to expectations. Both Belgium and Argentina ultimately advanced at the expense of Hungary and El Salvador despite Hungary's 10–1 win over the Central American nation — which, with a total of 11 goals, is the second highest scoreline in a World Cup game (equal with Brazil's 6–5 victory over Poland in the 1938 tournament and Hungary's 8–3 victory over West Germany in the 1954 tournament).
Group 4 opened with England midfielder Bryan Robson's goal against France after only 27 seconds of play. England won 3–1 and qualified along with France over Czechoslovakia and Kuwait, though the tiny Gulf emirate held Czechoslovakia to a 1–1 draw. In the game between Kuwait and France, with France leading 3–1, France midfielder Alain Giresse scored a goal vehemently contested by the Kuwait team, who had stopped play after hearing a piercing whistle from the stands, which they thought had come from Soviet referee Miroslav Stupar. Play had not yet resumed when Sheikh Fahad Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, brother of the Kuwaiti Emir and president of the Kuwaiti Football Association, rushed onto the pitch to remonstrate with the referee. Stupar countermanded his initial decision and disallowed the goal to the fury of the French. Maxime Bossis scored another valid goal a few minutes later and France won 4–1.
In Group 5, Honduras held hosts Spain to a 1–1 draw. Northern Ireland won the group outright, eliminating Yugoslavia and beating hosts Spain 1–0; Northern Ireland had to play the majority of the second half with ten men after Mal Donaghy was dismissed. Spain scraped by thanks to a controversial penalty in the 2–1 victory over Yugoslavia. At 17 years and 41 days, Northern Ireland forward Norman Whiteside was the youngest player to appear in a World Cup match.
Brazil were in Group 6. With Zico, Sócrates, Falcão, Éder and others, they boasted an offensive firepower that promised a return to the glory days of 1970. They beat the USSR 2–1 thanks to a 20 metre Éder goal two minutes from time, then Scotland and New Zealand with four goals each. The Soviets took the group's other qualifying berth on goal difference at the expense of the Scots.
Poland opened Group A with a 3–0 defeat of Belgium thanks to a Zbigniew Boniek hat-trick. The Soviet Union prevailed 1–0 in the next match over Belgium. The Poles edged out the USSR for the semi-final spot on the final day on goal difference thanks to a 0–0 draw in a politically charged match, as Poland's then-Communist government had imposed a martial law a few months earlier to quash internal dissent.
In Group B, a match between England and West Germany ended in a goalless draw. West Germany put the pressure on England in their second match by beating Spain 2–1. The home side drew 0–0 against England, denying Ron Greenwood's team a semi-final place and putting England in the same position as Cameroon, being eliminated without losing a game.
In Group C, with Brazil, Argentina and Italy, in the opener, Italy prevailed 2–1 over Diego Maradona and Mario Kempes's side after a game in which Italian defenders Gaetano Scirea and Claudio Gentile proved themselves equal to the task of stopping the Argentinian attack. Argentina now needed a win over Brazil on the second day, but lost 3–1 — Argentina only scoring in the last minute. Diego Maradona kicked Brazilian player João Batista in the groin and was sent off in the 85th minute.
The match between Brazil and Italy pitted Brazil's attack against Italy's defense, with the majority of the game played around the Italian area, and with the Italian midfielders and defenders returning the repeated set volleys of Brazilian shooters such as Zico, Sócrates and Falcao. Italian centre back Gentile was assigned to mark Brazilian striker Zico, earning a yellow card and a suspension for the semi-final. Paolo Rossi opened the scoring when he headed in Antonio Cabrini's cross with just five minutes played. Sócrates equalised for Brazil seven minutes later. In the twenty-fifth minute Rossi stepped past Júnior, intercepted a pass from Cerezo across the Brazilians' goal, and drilled the shot home. The Brazilians threw everything in search of another equalizer, while Italy defended bravely. On 68 minutes, Falcão collected a pass from Junior and as Cerezo's dummy run distracted three defenders, fired home from 20 yards out. Now Italy had gained the lead twice thanks to Rossi's goals, and Brazil had come back twice; At 2–2, Brazil would have been through on goal difference, but in the 74th minute, a poor clearance from an Italian corner kick went back to the Brazilian six-yard line where Rossi and Francesco Graziani were waiting. Both aimed at the same shot, Rossi connecting to get a hat trick and sending Italy into the lead for good. In the 86th minute Giancarlo Antognoni scored an apparent fourth goal for Italy, but it was wrongly disallowed for offside. In the dying moments Dino Zoff made a miraculous save to deny Oscar a goal, ensuring that Italy advanced to the semi-final.
In the last group, Group D, France dispatched Austria 1–0 thanks to a brilliant free kick by Bernard Genghini and then beat Northern Ireland 4–1 to reach their first semi-final since 1958.
In a re-match of the encounter in the first round, Italy beat Poland in the first semi-final through two goals from Paolo Rossi. In the game between France and West Germany, the Germans opened the scoring through a Pierre Littbarski strike in the 17th minute, and the French equalised nine minutes later with a Michel Platini penalty. In the second half a long through ball sent French defender Patrick Battiston racing clear towards the German goal. With both Battiston and the lone German defender trying to be the first to reach the ball, Battiston flicked it past German keeper Harald Schumacher from the edge of the German penalty area and Schumacher reacted by jumping up to block. Schumacher didn't seem to go for the ball, however, and clattered straight into the oncoming Battiston – which left the French player unconscious and knocked two of his teeth out. Schumacher's action has been described as "one of history's most shocking fouls". The ball went just wide of the post and Dutch referee Charles Corver deemed Schumacher's tackle on Battiston not to be a foul and awarded a goal kick. Play was interrupted for several minutes while Battiston, still unconscious and with a broken jaw, was carried off the field on a stretcher.
After French defender Manuel Amoros had sent a 25-metre drive crashing onto the West German crossbar in the final minute, the match went into extra time. On 92 minutes, France's sweeper Marius Trésor fired a swerving volley under Schumacher's crossbar from ten metres out to make it 2–1. Six minutes later, an unmarked Alain Giresse drove in an 18-metre shot off the inside of the right post to finish off a counter-attack and put France up 3–1. But West Germany would not give up. In the 102nd minute a counter-attack culminated in a cross that recent substitute Karl-Heinz Rummenigge turned in at the near post from a difficult angle with the outside of his foot, reducing France's lead to 3–2. Then in the 108th minute Germany took a short corner and after France failed to clear, the ball was played by Germany to Littbarski whose cross to Horst Hrubesch was headed back to the centre towards Klaus Fischer, who was unmarked but with his back to goal. Fischer in turn volleyed the ball past French keeper Jean-Luc Ettori with a bicycle kick, levelling the scores at 3–3.
The match went to penalties, with France and West Germany participating in the first ever penalty shootout at a World Cup finals. Giresse, Manfred Kaltz, Manuel Amoros, Paul Breitner and Dominique Rocheteau all converted penalties until Uli Stielike was stopped by Ettori, giving France the advantage. But then Schumacher stepped forward, lifted the tearful Stielike from the ground, and saved Didier Six's shot. With Germany handed the lifeline they needed Littbarski converted his penalty, followed by Platini for France, and then Rummenigge for Germany as the tension mounted. France defender Maxime Bossis then had his kick parried by Schumacher who anticipated it, and Hrubesch stepped up to score and send Germany to the World Cup final yet again with a victory on penalties, 5–4.
In the third-place match, Poland edged the French side 3–2 which matched Poland's best ever performance at a World Cup previously achieved in 1974. France would go on to win the European Championship two years later.
In the final, Antonio Cabrini fired a penalty wide of goal in the first half. In the second half, Paolo Rossi scored first for the third straight game by heading home Gentile's bouncing cross at close range. Exploiting the situation, Italy scored twice more on quick counter-strikes, all the while capitalising on their defence to hold the Germans. With Gentile and Gaetano Scirea holding the centre, the Italian strikers were free to counter-punch the weakened German defence. Marco Tardelli's shot from the edge of the area beat Schumacher first, and Alessandro Altobelli, the substitute for injured striker Francesco Graziani, made it 3–0 at the end of a solo sprint down the right side by the stand-out winger Bruno Conti. Italy's lead appeared secure, encouraging Italian president Sandro Pertini to wag his finger at the cameras in a playful "not going to catch us now" gesture. In the 83rd minute, Paul Breitner scored for West Germany, but it was only a consolation goal as Italy won 3–1 to claim their first World Cup title in 44 years, and their third in total.
Italy became the first team to advance from the first round without winning a game, drawing all three (while Cameroon were eliminated in the same way), and also the only World Cup winner to draw or lose three matches at the Finals. By winning, Italy equalled Brazil's record of winning the World Cup three times. Italy's total of twelve goals scored in seven matches set a new low for average goals scored per game by a World Cup winning side (subsequently exceeded by Spain in 2010), while Italy's aggregate goal difference of +6 for the tournament remains a record low for a champion, equalled by Spain.
Italy's 40-year-old captain-goalkeeper Dino Zoff became the oldest-ever player to win the World Cup. This was the first World Cup in which teams from all six continental confederations participated in the finals, something that did not happen again until 2006.
17 stadiums in 14 cities hosted the tournament. The most used stadium was FC Barcelona's Camp Nou stadium which hosted 5 matches including a semi-final match; it was the largest stadium used for this tournament and still is one of the largest stadiums in Europe. In addition to Barcelona's Sarria Stadium hosting 3 total matches, Barcelona was the Spanish city with the most matches in Espana '82 with 8; the Spanish capital of Madrid followed with 7.
This particular World Cup was organized in such a way where all of the matches of each of the six groups of four were assigned stadiums in cities close in proximity to each other; reducing the stress of travel on the players and fans. For example: Group 1 only played in Vigo and A Coruña, Group 2 only played in Gijon and Oviedo, Group 3 only played in Elche and Alicante (except for the first match, which was the opening match of the tournament, which was played at the Camp Nou), Group 4 played only in Bilbao and Valladolid (England played all their first round group matches in Bilbao), Group 5 (which included hosts Spain) was played exclusively in Valencia and Zaragoza, and Group 6 played exclusively in Seville and Malaga (of the 3 1st round matches in Seville, the first match between Brazil and the USSR was played in the Pizjuan Stadium, and the other two were played in the Villamarin Stadium).
When the tournament went into the round-robin second round matches, all the aforementioned cities excluding Barcelona, Alicante and Seville did not host any more matches in Espana '82. Both the Santiago Bernabeu and Vicente Calderon stadiums in Madrid and the Sarria Stadium in Barcelona were used for the first time for this tournament for the second round matches. Madrid and Barcelona hosted the four second round group matches; Barcelona hosted Groups A and C (Camp Nou hosted all 3 of Group A's matches, and Sarria did the same with Group C's matches) and Madrid hosted Groups B and D (Real Madrid's Bernabeu Stadium hosted all 3 of Group B's matches, and Atletico Madrid's Calderon Stadium did the same with the Group D matches)
The two semi final matches were held at Camp Nou and the Pizjuan Stadium in Seville, the third largest stadium used for the tournament (one of only 2 Espana '82 matches it hosted), the third place match was held in Alicante and the final was held at the Bernabeu, the second largest stadium used for this tournament.
Spain's hot summer climate was avoided by playing most matches in the late afternoon or at night; for instance Seville- which is one of the hottest cities in Europe, with June and July average temperatures going past the 90s Fahrenheit (32 Celsius)- could only play its matches at 21:00.
For a list of all squads that appeared in the final tournament, see 1982 FIFA World Cup squads.
The 24 qualifiers were divided into four groupings which formed the basis of the draw for the group stage. FIFA announced the six seeded teams on the day of the draw and allocated them in advance to the six groups; as had become standard, the host nation and the reigning champions were among the seeds. The seeded teams would play all their group matches at the same venue (with the exception of World Cup holders Argentina who would play in the opening game scheduled for the Camp Nou, the largest of the venues). The remaining 18 teams were split into three pots based on FIFA's assessment of the team's strength, but also taking in account geographic considerations. The seedings and group venues for those teams were tentatively agreed at an informal meeting in December 1981 but not officially confirmed until the day of the draw. FIFA executive Hermann Neuberger told the press that the seeding of England had been challenged by other nations but they were to be seeded as "the Spanish want England to play in Bilbao for security reasons".
On 16 January 1982 the draw was conducted at the Palacio de Congresos in Madrid, where the teams were drawn out from the three pots to be placed with the seeded teams in their predetermined groups. Firstly a draw was made to decide the order in which the three drums containing pots A, B and C would be emptied. The teams were then drawn one-by-one and entered in the groups in that order. A number was then drawn to determine the team's "position" in the group and hence the fixtures.
The only stipulation of the draw was that no group could feature two South American teams. As a result, Pot B – which contained two South American teams – was initially drawn containing only the four Europeans, which were then to be immediately allocated to Groups 3 and 6 which contained the two South American seeds Argentina and Brazil. Once these two groups had been filled with the entrants from Pot B, then Chile and Peru would be added to the pot and the draw continue as normal. In the event, FIFA executives Sepp Blatter and Hermann Neuberger conducting the draw initially forgot this stipulation and immediately placed the first team drawn from this pot (Belgium) into Group 1, rather than Group 3 before then placing the second team drawn out (Scotland) into Group 3; they then had to correct this by moving Belgium to Group 3 and Scotland into Group 6. The ceremony suffered further embarrassment when one of the revolving drums containing the teams broke down.
The group winners and runners-up advanced to the second round.
Teams were ranked on the following criteria:
1. Greater number of points in all group matches
2. Goal difference in all group matches
3. Greater number of goals scored in all group matches
4. Drawing of lots
The second round of matches consisted of four 3-way round-robin groups, each confined to one stadium in one of Spain's two largest cities: 2 in Madrid, and 2 in Barcelona. The winners of each one of these groups would progress to the semi-finals.
Teams were ranked on the following criteria:
1. Greater number of points in all group matches
2. Goal difference in all group matches
3. Greater number of goals scored in all group matches
4. Whether the team finished first or second in their first round group
5. Drawing of lots
Although the fixtures were provisionally determined in advanced, the teams competing in each fixture depended on the result of the opening match in each group: Should a team be defeated in the opening game of the group, that team would then have to play in the second fixture against the team not participating in the opening group game; the winner of the opening game would, by contrast, be rewarded by not needing to play again until the final fixture of the group and therefore gained extra recovery time. If the opening game was a draw, the predetermined order of games would proceed as planned. These regulations helped ensure that the final group games were of importance as no team could already have progressed to the semi-finals by the end of the second fixtures.
The 43,000-capacity Sarria Stadium in Barcelona, used for the Group C round-robin matches between Italy, Argentina and Brazil was, unlike any of the other matches (except 1) in the other groups, severely overcrowded for all 3 matches. The venue was then heavily criticized for its lack of space and inability to handle such rampant crowds; although no one had foreseen such crowds at all; the Group A matches held at the nearby and much larger 99,500-capacity Camp Nou stadium never went past 65,000 and hosted all European teams; it was anticipated there would be larger crowds for the Camp Nou-hosted second round matches between Belgium, the Soviet Union and Poland.
Paolo Rossi received the Golden Boot for scoring six goals. In total, 146 goals were scored by 100 different players, with only one of them credited as own goal.6 goals
Jozef Barmoš (against England)
The Golden Ball, awarded to the tournament's best player, was handed out for the first time.Golden Ball: Paolo Rossi (Italy)
Golden Boot: Paolo Rossi (Italy)
In 1986, FIFA had published a report that ranked all teams in each World Cup up to and including 1986, based on progress in the competition, overall results and quality of the opposition. The rankings for the 1982 tournament were as follows:
The official mascot of this World Cup was Naranjito, an anthropomorphised orange, a typical fruit in Spain, wearing the kit of the host's national team. Its name comes from naranja, the Spanish word for orange, and the diminutive suffix "-ito".
Football in Action (fútbol en acción) was the name of an educational animated series first aired in 1982 on public broadcaster RTVE. Chapters had a duration of 20 minutes and the main character was Naranjito. The series lasted for 26 episodes and the theme was football, adventures and World Cup of 82. Naranjito was accompanied by other characters, as his girlfriend Clementine, his friend Citronio and Imarchi the robot.
The match ball for 1982 World Cup, manufactured by Adidas, was the Tango España.