June 29, 1982, Italy beats World Champion Argentina. And is preparing to succeed them

On June 29, 1982, the first match of the second round of the World Cup was played in Barcelona. Opposite there was an Italy battered by criticism, which came from three draws in three games and a narrow qualification, while on the other the new genius of World football, Diego Armando Maradona, with a national team that had just raised the World Cup to the sky in 1978. On one side of the bench there is Bearzot, opposite Luis Cesar Menotti who will see our football at the end of the nineties, with Sampdoria, for a very short period and with a relegation from the Serie At the end of the season.

Before the match, Menotti explained how the Italians were fifty years behind in their game. Never give up on Italy when they are in difficulty, it could happen again tonight with Switzerland. The other opponent in the group was Tele Santana’s Brazil. In short, the bookmakers would probably have given Paolo Rossi and his teammates up for elimination. At Sarrià, the hero is not Pablito, but Claudio Gentile, who sticks to Maradona and decides not to let him play. To block him with good, with bad. With “rustic but not intentionally malicious” entries, as Gianni Brera will say in his description of the following day.

First half 0-0, then Tardelli scores behind Fillol. Maradona posts, Zoff on Passerella, Cabrini doubles. Dismay for everyone, after Italy certainly hadn’t given champagne football in the group. With seven to go, Passerella beats Zoff: it ends 2-1, it’s a miracle at Sarrià, but everyone remains silent.