Date: June 13 – July 11
In the mythical Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, Italy accomplished their third World Cup, beating the Federal Republic of Germany three goals to one. It was a match where various football stars participated, among them: Paolo Rossi, Marco Tardelli and captain Dino Zoff for the champions; Harald Schumacher, Paul Breitner and goalscorer Karl-Heinz Rummenigge for West Germany.
Italy did not have an easy path to the title, barely reaching the second phase of the tournament. During this stage, they had to play against one of the favorites, Brazil, where Rossi and Zoff were the heroes, the former with his hat-trick and the latter with his incredible saves. In the semifinals, they overcame a strong Polish team with a brace from Paolo, deserving their spot in the final. The Azzurri had to wait 44 years to crown themselves again as champions.
Poland finished third, their second podium in the last eight years, defeating France of Michel Platini and Marius Trésor three goals to two. Zbigniew Boniek, Polish forward, had an outstanding performance, scoring six goals in four games.
Argentina, winner of the 1978 World Cup, could not repeat as champion, finishing last of their group (second round).
The Netherlands, runner-up in 1974 and 1978, did not take part in this World Cup, losing in the European qualifiers.
There was an increase in the number of national teams (24), changing once again the format. Six groups of four teams, with the best two reaching the second group stage, which consisted of four groups of three teams. The leader of each group qualified to the semifinal.
Poland vs. Italy: 0 – 2
Goals: Paolo Rossi 22′ – 73′
Federal Republic of Germany vs. France: 3 – 3 (penalties: 5 – 4)
Goals: Pierre Littbarski 17′, Michel Platini 26′ (penal), Marius Trésor 92′, Alain Giresse 98′, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge 102′, Klaus Fischer 108′
Poland vs. France: 3 – 2
Goals: Rene Girard 13′, Andrzej Szarmach 40′, Stefan Majewski 44′, Janusz Kupcewicz 46′, Alain Couriol 72′
Italy vs. Federal Republic of Germany: 3 – 1
Goals: Paolo Rossi 57′, Marco Tardelli 69′, Alessandro Altobelli 81′, Paul Breitner 83′
|1. Paolo Rossi||Italy||6||7|
|2. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge||Federal Republic of Germany||5||7|
|3. Zbigniew Boniek||Poland||4||6|
[Images property of Ficha Deportiva: Panini S.p.A. – Modena Album]