The meeting with Brazil gave Bearzot’s national team access to the semifinals and to Italian football a feeling that can never be matched
July 5, 1982. Italy mocked, humiliated, massacred by newspapers and TV trial, beats Brazil after defeatingArgentina’s reigning world champion, and wins the semi-final and the motorway that leads directly to the World Cup raised to the skies in Madrid six days later. But if Italy-Germany is the last inauguration, Italy-Brazil is everything. Only those who have seen and lived it, lose a few years of life, can really understand it.
Anyone who has seen it, especially in the time when one can still believe in dreams, has had an enormous happiness and an eternal curse as a gift. The happiness of watching your national team beat one of the strongest teams ever (Junior, Falcao, Cerezo, Socrates, Zico, Eder …), by believing that anything can be possible in life, that redemption and revenge are the non-abstract concepts, but they can be part of everyday reality. The curse is what came with time, to understand that no football match will ever be able to give such a strong, so complete feeling. The carousels, which were seen after the World Cup in 2006 and the European Championships in 2021, were seen by our generation with a mixture of nostalgia, amazement and a sense of alienation. In addition to the awareness that life is far from Italy-Brazil, often very far away. So we keep it there, in a corner of the soul, where we sometimes go to source and caress to remind ourselves that yes, it can actually happen.
Everyone knows the story. Italy goes to Spain, home of the 1982 World Cup, accompanied by general skepticism rising after a first stage, frankly, not very comforting, to say the least. No win match and three draws with Poland, Peru and Cameroon. Two goals scored, two conceded and a lack of games that indicate a massacre in the next round, where we face Argentina and Brazil. That is, the world champions four years ago plus Maradona, and the strongest team on the planet at the time. Despite the premises, the Azzurri wins both games and unleashes an indomitable enthusiasm in a country that has an insane desire to celebrate.
Paolo Rossi, fresh from the two-year quarantine for football betting, looks like a ghost, and coach Bearzot, despite everyone continuing to ask him to remove him from the starting line-up, does not stop betting on him and in the crucial match, the legendary July 5, Pablito scores the hat-trick that beats a Brazil that is able to recover twice, giving Italy an adventure in an adventure. Rossi scores again in the semifinals with Poland (a thrill) and in the final with West Germany and becomes the hero and top scorer in that World Cup.
The stadium that saw the farm achieved, the small Sarrià, narrow and located between the houses in a residential area of Barcelona, no longer exists. It was thrown down in 1997. Instead, there is a small park where dogs are taken to do their business, there are some mothers with strollers and some children playing football. No one imagines that the few square meters were the scene of the legend. A plaque at the entrance to the park, a bar that takes the name of that stadium and that year, and a circle of sand, which, the shopkeepers in the nearby areas, tell of being exactly the circle in the middle of the old stadium. One day at the end of June 2012 (in the blue company’s 30th anniversary), a gentleman reading the newspaper on a bench saw three characters who started from the central point of the sandy open space and took long and well-stretched steps to understand exactly where Rossi had scored the decisive goal, Zoff saved Oscar’s header on the line, and Eder took the last corner before the final whistle. He got up from the bench and turned to the three and said only: “Italianos?”. He understood everything.