Italy will have another chance to become undisputed official and unofficial champions on 14 November when they take on current title holders the Netherlands. Ahead of that match we look at the first time Italy were crowned undisputed champions.

ITALY 3-1 WEST GERMANY, 11 July 1982
World Cup final, Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, Madrid, Spain
Scorers: Rossi, Tardelli, Altobelli (Italy); Breitner (West Germany)

Spain 82 saw a UFWC / World Cup final double-header. The title had been taken into the 1982 tournament by Peru, then snatched by Poland, and then won by Italy at the semi-final stage.

West Germany saw off France on penalties in their semi – an epic match overshadowed by a brutal foul by German keeper Harald Schumacher on French defender Patrick Battison. That controversy, coupled with grumbles over an alleged fixed first round match between West Germany and Austria that saw both sides cruise through to the next round, meant that few neutrals were cheering on the Germans.

Italy had beaten Brazil and Argentina in the second round, and boasted the likes of Dino Zoff, Guiseppe Bergomi, Marco Tardelli, and Paolo Rossi in their side.

But the Germans had held England to a draw and beaten Spain in their second round games, and also had an impressive line-up including Schumacher, Paul Breitner, Pierre Littbarski, and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

Few would have argued against the fact that Italy and West Germany were the best teams in the tournament. But which would come out on top in front of 90,000 spectators and millions of TV viewers?

West Germany enjoyed the best of the opening exchanges, but an Italian defence marshalled by Zoff and Bergomi held firm. And, after successfully soaking up the German pressure, Italy broke upfield and won a penalty. Antonio Cabrini stepped up to take the kick – but blasted the ball wide of Schumacher’s right-hand post.

In the second half, Italy began to show their superior technical ability and, in the 57th minute, Claudio Gentile’s curling cross eluded everyone but Rossi, whose stopping header shot past Schumacher to make the score 1-0.

With the Germans now forced to push forward in search of an equaliser, Italy exploited gaps at the back. First Rossi and Gaetano Scirea combined brilliantly to set up Tardelli, who scored with a low drive.

Then a surging run from Conti set up Alessandro Altobelli, who sidestepped Schumacher and scored a third.

Breitner pulled one back for West Germany with a drive from the edge of the area with seven minutes left to play, but his muted celebration suggested that the Germans knew it was nothing more than a consolation.

Italy were champions, officially, unofficially, and indisputably.

About Paul Brown

Paul is a freelance journalist and author. He created the UFWC in 2003, and subsequently wrote the Unofficial Football World Champions book. He can be found on Twitter @paulbrownUK.