1982 FIFA World Cup
Group C
The Estadi de Sarrià held the match
Event1982 FIFA World Cup
Date5 July 1982
VenueEstadio Sarriá, Barcelona
RefereeAbraham Klein (Israel)

Italy v Brazil was a football match that took place between Brazil and Italy at Estadio Sarriá, Barcelona on 5 July 1982. It was the final second round group stage match for Group C in the 1982 FIFA World Cup. The match was won by Italy 3–2, with Italian striker Paolo Rossi scoring a hat-trick. The result eliminated Brazil from the tournament while Italy would go on to win it. The match has been described as one of the greatest in the history of association football. [1][2][3]


Brazil had won all three of their first group stage matches, including comprehensive wins over Scotland (4–1) and New Zealand (4–0), and were the pre-tournament favourites.[4][5] They were widely praised for their attacking style. In their initial second group stage match, Brazil beat South American rivals and World Cup holders Argentina 3–1.

Italy, meanwhile, had a slow start to the tournament, having drawn all three of their first group stage matches and finishing runners-up in their group; they had only qualified for the second group stage by having scored one more goal than third-placed Cameroon. However, in the first of their second round matches, Italy had recorded an impressive 2–1 victory over Argentina. Italy's striker Rossi had failed to score up to that point and there was considerable debate about whether he should be in the team, as he had only recently returned from a two-year ban following his involvement in the Totonero 1980 match-fixing scandal. Italy were forced to play for a win to reach the semi-final, due to their inferior goal difference.



The match put Brazil's attack against Italy's defence, with the majority of the game played around the Italian area, with the Italian midfielders and defenders returning the repeated set volleys of Brazilian shooters such as Zico, Sócrates and Falcão. Italian centre back Claudio 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 equaliser, while Italy defended bravely. On 68 minutes, Falcão collected a pass from Júnior 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.[6] 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 a 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 where they would meet Poland.[7][8]


Italy 3–2 Brazil
Rossi Goal 5'25'74' Report Sócrates Goal 12'
Falcão Goal 68'
Estadio Sarriá, Barcelona
Attendance: 44,000
Referee: Abraham Klein (Israel)
GK 1 Dino Zoff (c)
DF 4 Antonio Cabrini
DF 5 Fulvio Collovati Substituted off 34'
DF 6 Claudio Gentile Yellow card 13'
DF 7 Gaetano Scirea
MF 9 Giancarlo Antognoni
MF 13 Gabriele Oriali Yellow card 78'
MF 14 Marco Tardelli Substituted off 75'
MF 16 Bruno Conti
CF 19 Francesco Graziani
CF 20 Paolo Rossi
GK 12 Ivano Bordon
DF 3 Giuseppe Bergomi Substituted in 34'
MF 11 Giampiero Marini Substituted in 75'
MF 15 Franco Causio
FW 18 Alessandro Altobelli
Italy Enzo Bearzot
GK 1 Waldir Peres
RB 2 Leandro
CH 3 Oscar
CH 4 Luizinho
CM 5 Toninho Cerezo
LB 6 Júnior
CM 8 Sócrates (c)
SS 10 Zico
LM 11 Éder
RM 15 Falcão
CF 9 Serginho Substituted off 69'
GK 12 Paulo Sérgio
DF 13 Edevaldo
DF 14 Juninho
MF 7 Paulo Isidoro Substituted in 69'
FW 19 Renato
Brazil Telê Santana

Assistant referees:
Chan Tam Sun (Hong Kong)
Bogdan Dotchev (Bulgaria)

Match rules

  • 90 minutes.
  • Five named substitutes.
  • Maximum of two substitutions.


The result was seen by many as not only a defeat for Brazil, but a defeat of their attacking philosophy by the less talented but more organised Italians.[9] This match has since then been labelled by the Brazilian press as the 'Sarrià Tragedy' (Portuguese: A tragédia do Sarrià).[10]

The result of the match had a profound and lasting impact on Brazilian football and fundamentally changed its philosophy.[11]

According to Luizinho, Brazil's centre back in 1982, the defeat changed Brazilian coaches' way of thinking, leading to a new, destructive philosophy based on defensive, counterattacking football – the style of football played by the Italians against the Brazilians.[12]

As described by sports journalist Tim Vickery: "For many Brazilian coaches, the failure of that 1982 side to win the World Cup (...) served as proof for ideas that had been kicking around for a while – starting with a 5–1 massacre at the hands of Belgium in 1963, confirmed by the defeat by Holland in the 1974 World Cup. The physical development of the game, it was thought, meant that traditional methods had to be revised. Brazilian players had to bulk up – Rubens Minelli, the most successful domestic coach of the 70s, wanted his team to be made up of six footers. And with less space on the field, the future of football lay in the counter attack, rather than elaborate attempts to pass through midfield." Tim Vickery continues by stating that "these thoughts have carried a lot of weight in the Brazilian game. They help explain why a succession of Brazil sides have caught the eye for explosive breaks down the flanks rather than for the succession of midfield triangles that enraptured Cappa and everyone else in 1982. When former Middlesbrough left-back Branco was in charge of Brazil’s youth sides, he told me that right from the start of the process the search for big, strong youngsters was a priority. Brazilian coaches, meanwhile, became fond of spouting the statistic that the chances of a goal are reduced if the move contains more than seven passes."[13] He also earlier stated in 2006 that "had Brazil won the trophy in 1982 the team would be more than a fond memory. They might be the blueprint for future sides, because winners are always copied."[14]

Further success in 1994 and 2002 in mostly pragmatic, less flashy styles cemented the new philosophy and practically buried the traditional passing style further into the past.[15][16]

The rise of tiki-taka, a style of football partly based on moving triangles, positional interchange and intricate passing – highly reminiscent of the old Brazilian passing style, embodied by the 1982 team – has helped recover some of the prestige of the 1982 team in the country. The crushing defeat of the Brazilian counterattacking style by tiki-taka teams, namely the 4–0 defeat of Santos to Barcelona and the 7–1 Brazilian defeat to Germany at home at the World Cup in 2014 laid bare how Brazilian football had been left behind.[17][18] As a result, the country's football philosophy has been slowly returning to the old intricate passing style in the last few years, as recent success by Grêmio and Flamengo have shown.[19][20]

See also


  1. ^ Duarte, Fernando (30 May 2014). "Brazil lost that Italy game in 1982 but won a place in history – Falcão". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  2. ^ Wilson, Jonathan (25 July 2012). "Italy 3-2 Brazil, 1982: the day naivety, not football itself, died". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  3. ^ Lewis, Tim (11 July 2014). "1982: Why Brazil V Italy Was One Of Football's Greatest Ever Matches". Esquire. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  4. ^ "1982 Spain". CBC News. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 16 December 2008. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
  5. ^ "Rossi wakes to flatten favourites". FIFA. Archived from the original on 3 March 2008. Retrieved 30 June 2011.
  6. ^ Smyth, Rob (21 April 2020). "Italy 3–2 Brazil: 1982 World Cup, second round Group C – as it happened". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  7. ^ "1982: Why Brazil V Italy Was One Of Football's Greatest Ever Matches". Esquire.co.uk. 11 July 2014. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  8. ^ Foot, John (24 August 2007). Winning at All Costs: A Scandalous History of Italian Soccer. p. 470. ISBN 9781568586526. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
  9. ^ "Rewind to 1982: Brilliant Brazil's brush with greatness – ESPN Soccernet". Soccernet.espn.go.com. 24 March 2011. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  10. ^ "The great debate (cont'd)". Sportsillustrated.cnn.com. 24 July 2007. Retrieved 6 December 2012.
  11. ^ "Com derrota, nasceu futebol de resultados". 17 May 2002. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  12. ^ "35 anos de Sarriá: O impacto da Copa de 1982 no futebol mundial". 24 March 2011. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  13. ^ "Brazil fail to rediscover winning formula". 15 August 2011. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  14. ^ "Football is the poorer for the passing last week of Tele Santana". 24 April 2006. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  15. ^ "As Cup looms, Brazil hopes to extend magic ride that began in '94". 4 August 2009. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  16. ^ "Brasil de 94 consagra pragmatismo e espalha tendência de 'marcação total'". 17 July 2009. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  17. ^ "ZERO SYMPATHY FOR SCOLARI AND BRAZIL'S THUGGISH TACTICS". 9 July 2014. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  18. ^ "What Brazil can learn from Barcelona". 18 December 2011. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  19. ^ "Dez anos de soberba do Brasil no futebol". 1 January 2020. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  20. ^ Tim Vickery. (7 October 2019). "Jorge Jesus Revolution at Flamengo Continues". Retrieved 12 April 2020.