ON THIS DAY: Rossi breaks Brazil’s hearts in 1982
On July 5 in World Cup history: Paolo Rossi’s hat trick helps Italy beat Brazil in Barcelona, Spain, in 1982.
Italy started the 1982 World Cup slowly, barely making it through to the second group stage. Brazil on the other hand played the most exhilarating football and a first World Cup triumph in 12 years looked on the cards. The goals were abundant — Brazil’s five-man midfield of Zico, Socrates, Falcao, Cerezo and Eder was arguably the most attack-minded in the history of the World Cup. With Brazil needing just a draw to progress to the semifinals, few gave Italy much of a chance. Rossi, who had just returned from a suspension for alleged match-fixing, suddenly found form. Though he hadn’t scored in Italy’s first four games, Rossi was given renewed confidence by coach Enzo Bearzot. He was rewarded with a hat trick that saw off Brazil 3-2 in one of the great World Cup encounters. No Brazil team since has ever matched the verve of coach Tele Santana’s side.