Football Language Podcast: World Cup 1982 Brazil vs Italy [From the Archive]

World Cup 1982 Brazil vs ItalyEnglish Through Football Podcast – World Cup 1982 Brazil vs Italy: In this podcast we continue with our reviews of some of the great World Cup matches by looking at the 1982 second round Group C match between Brazil and Italy. This is another game from the #WorldCupAtHome series from in which we review some of the words and phrases used to describe this wonderful match, while we also go over what happened in the rest of the 1982 competition from Spain. You can listen to the podcast by clicking on the file below while you can also subscribe and listen to all our football-language podcasts. If you’d like to show your support for what we do then think about becoming a patron (through Patreon) [We no longer use Patreon (2022)]. There is a transcript for this show which may help you to improve your language skills by reading as you listen, or if you are a teacher of English you can use the transcript to make different kinds of activities for your learners. If you have any questions, suggestions or comments then please email us at: (Damian=DF).


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DF: Hello again everyone, this is Damian from the languagecaster team and you are listening to the Learn English Through Football Podcast.

We hope, of course, that you are all well and safe. Now as you know, here at we have been following some of the classic World Cup matches that have featured on’s website in their #WorldCupAtHome series. Now, we have already looked at the match between Spain and the Netherlands from the 2014 World Cup, the quarter-final between the Netherlands and Brazil from the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and the cracker between France and Brazil in the quarter-final of the 1986 World Cup. On today’s podcast we look at the 1982 World Cup second round match between Brazil and Italy which is often described as one of the greatest ever in World Cup history. At the start of the podcast we talk a little about the background of the tournament by looking at some of the context to this match: Who were the star players? What were the big controversies in the competition? Which teams were lucky or unlucky? And which sides reached the second round of matches? After this we look at some of the words and phrases used to describe the game itself before finishing up with a look back at how the 1982 tournament finished.

Stinger: You are listening to (in German)


DF: The 12th ever World Cup tournament took place in Spain and for the first time in its history there were 24 teams participating; indeed, this was the first time that teams from six different confederations took part (UEFA, Oceania, CONMEBOL, CONCACAF, the Asian Confederation and the African Confederation, CAF). Five countries made their World Cup debuts: New Zealand, Algeria, Cameroon, Honduras and Kuwait, while there were some notable omissions – Mexico, the Netherlands and Sweden all failed to qualify. The qualified teams were divided into six groups of four with the top two qualifying for the next round. The second round was then made up of four groups of three teams and the winners of each of these groups played in the two semi-finals. The favourites beforehand included hosts Spain, holders Argentina with 21-year old superstar Diego Maradona in their squad, West Germany and Brazil, while dark horses included Italy, England and the Soviet Union.


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DF: There were some huge surprises in the group matches with holders Argentina losing 1-0 to Belgium in the opening game in Barcelona, hosts Spain only managing a draw aganst Honduras, Italy being held 1-1 by Cameroon and West Germany being defeated 2-1 by Algeria in one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history. Unfortunately, neither African side were able to make it through to the second round with Cameroon unluckily losing out to Italy in Group A on goals scored – they both drew all three of their matches but the Azzurri went through because they scored twice to Cameroon’s once.

If that was seen as cruel luck then the fate of Algeria was far worse. After that shock win over West Germany they were beaten by Austria but then won their final game 3-2 against Chile to give them four points (remember, that it was still only two points for a win back in 1982). It was not enough, however, as West Germany beat Austria 1-0 in their final game to ensure that the two European sides also finished on four points and with better goal differences allowed them to qualify. This might be viewed as unlucky but when we take into account that the West Germany-Austria game took place the day after the Algeria match suggests otherwise. The Germans and Austrians knew that a 1-0 win for Germany would send them both through and after an early German goal neither team made an effort to score another goal – a shameful way for both sides to behave. Perhaps the only good thing to emerge from this debacle was that FIFA decided that all final group games would now have to kick off at the same time.

In the second round, the Austrians only managed to gain one point from their two Group 4 matches and were eliminated but the West Germans overcame hosts Spain 2-1 and drew with England to make it through to the semi-final, while under-performing Italy and Argentina were drawn against a Brazil side that were in top form after winning their group with a 100% record and winning over all of the neutral fans with their wonderful attacking style of play.

1982 World Cup Second Round: Brazil vs Italy

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Stinger: Hello, my name is Marcelo; I am from Brazil. I’m a fan of Vasco da Gama and you are listening to

DF: The Group 1 games were based in Barcelona and in the first game a previously underwhelming Italy suddenly burst into life by defeating Argentina 2-1 and when Brazil easily beat the Argentinians 3-1 in their first second-round game – famously Diego Maradona saw red after a dangerously high challenge – it meant that Italy would have to win to qualify for the semi-finals, as their opponents Brazil had a better goal difference.

The game took place at Espanyol’s stadium on July 5th and Italy started well when Paolo Rossi opened his World Cup account with an early headed goal after only five minutes and suddenly it was game on. Brazil responded well and despite a really poor miss from their centre forward Serginho who scuffed a clear chance wide; he seemed to mis-kick and mis-direct the shot at the same time, they equalised through their captain Sócrates. The move that led to the equaliser was wonderful with Zico playing in Sócrates to beat Italian captain Dino Zoff at his near post with a beautiful low drive. Brazil were back in the driving seat but ten minutes later the Italians were in front again when Rossi pounced on a mistake by Cerezo and smashed it past an out-of-position Waldir Peres in goal. Half time and the Azzurri led 2-1 which would be enough to send them through.

The second half saw both Serginho and Rossi miss clear-cut chances and Rossi would pay for his miss a few minutes later because midway through the second half Brazil equalised with a tremendous drive from Falcao from outside the box: 2-2. Surely Brazil would hang on this time? But with 15 minutes remaining Paolo Rossi completed his hat-trick after the ball broke to him in the six-yard box and once again Brazil were staring defeat in the face. They attacked again but the Italian defence and in particular their goalkeeper Zoff was resolute and held out to record a famous win. Italy moved into the semi-final against Poland while Brazil, the tournament favourites – everyone’s favourite – returned home.

Stinger: You are listening to (in Italian)

What happened next?

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DF: Well, Italy were on a roll, after having defeated both the holders and the favourites, and they easily brushed aside a Poland side who were without their star player Boniek in the semi-final – two more goals from Rossi. In the final they would face West Germany who qualified after knocking out Spain and England in the second round and then France in another dramatic World Cup match in the semi-final. That game finished 1-1 after 90 minutes and then 3-3 after extra time – the Germans were 3-1 down at one stage – before they won 5-4 on penalties in the first ever penalty shoot-out in the World Cup. They were not a popular side, however, after their disgraceful behaviour in the group stage and the fact that their goalkeeper Harold Schumacher took out the French player Battiston in that semi-final match with an extremely high, dangerous tackle that left the French player with two broken teeth, three broken ribs and some damaged vertebrae.

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In the final itself, and despite losing their striker Graziani through injury after only 7 minutes and then missing a first-half penalty, Italy dominated. They scored three times in a 20-minute period in the second half to give them their third World Cup triumph – 44 years after their previous win – and to join Brazil as the two most successful sides in World Cup history. Rossi opened the scoring before goals from Altobelli and Tardelli made the game safe for Italy and although Breitner scored late on it was nothing more than a consolation goal.

Italy fully deserved their 1982 triumph – they hit form at the right time – and they defeated the holders, the favourites and the European champions on their way to winning the trophy. Yes, we all remember the great Dino Zoff, who also became the oldest player to ever win the World Cup, the wonderful Bruno Conti, the hard man Claudio Gentile and of course the amazing Paolo Rossi but most people when they think of the 1982 World Cup they remember Brazil: those shirts, the fans, the attacking style under their manager Telê Santana, which of course led to their downfall, and, of course, all those players – Junior, Cerezo, Falcao, Sócrates, Zico and Eder – they really were something special.

Stinger: You are listening to (in Portuguese from Brazil)


That’s it for this World Cup memory – don’t forget we have also looked back at games from the 1986, 2010 and 2014 World Cups and we’ll be looking back at some more World Cup memories at the weekend as we wait for football to return. We also have some World Cup quizzes and you can do that by coming to our site at languagecaster.

Now, before we go, don’t forget that you can contact us here at languagecaster via our various social media platforms: that’s Facebook’s Learning English Through Football, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Spread the word, come and ask a question on our forums, make a suggestion or simply drop us a line and say hello at Take care everyone – stay safe and we’ll see you soon. Bye bye.

Check out our glossary of footballing phrases here and if you have any suggestions, contact us at

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