World Cup 1982 is often remembered for the greatest team never to win one, Brazil, or Italy who looked barely fit to deserve a place yet recovered to win the thing. For me, it was a World Cup of incidents, shock events, OMG moments. Most have them, some more than others (2002) but Spain 1982 seemed to have more than its fair share. Here are the ten moments which shocked the World Cup 1982. The first part covered the farce of the draw and Argentina’s disappointing defence of their title. Here are the next three;
Hungary – Ten and Out
It had been twenty-eight years since the Mighty Magyars had been the best team in the world, yet came up short finishing second to Germany in the 1954 World Cup. By 1982 they were emerging as a strong team again. They won England’s qualification group whilst always looking the strongest team despite losing both their meetings with England. They were captained by one of the most gifted players in Europe, Tibor Nyilasi and the attack was lead by a busy little striker, Andras Torocsik. Both had appeared for Hungary in Argentina four years previously, and both were sent-off in their match against the hosts. They also drew on the experience of Laszlo Fazekas, who ended the third most capped player for his country, and defender, Laszlo Balint, both of whom had more than seventy caps by this stage.
They were drawn in the same group as Argentina, who they’d met in 1978, Belgium and El Salvador. The Central Americans had qualified for their first tournament back in 1970. Twelve years later they were back having finished second to Honduras in the CONCACAF group, beating the mighty Mexicans in the process. In their first appearance in 1970 they lost all three matches without scoring. Hungary’s first match of this World Cup would be against El Salvador.
Nyilasi opened the scoring after just four minutes. It was the prelude to what would follow as a corner from the right landed right in the middle of the El Salvadorian area and Nyilasi was able to run forward and head the ball in completely unchallenged. 1-0. Seven minutes later the lead was doubled as twenty-one year old, Gabor Poloskei, ran clear of the defence down the left. The El Salvador keeper Luis Mora looked narrow the angle, but all he was doing was protecting his near post and left the whole of the rest of the goal for the Hungarian forward to aim for, and he didn’t miss. 2-0.
On twenty-three minutes, Fazekas, picked up the ball on the right just inside the El Salvador half and ran forward, unchallenged, to the edge of the area before firing a left-foot shot past Mora. 3-0. Three-nil at the break was very comfortable for the Hungarians and no one could see El Salvador coming back. But if you thought Hungary would ease off, the opposite happened. Five minutes into the second half and Joszef Toth was put through down the left. He got to the bye-line where he squared the ball looking for Torocsik on the penalty spot. An El Salvadorian defender blocked the shot but managed to send the ball back where it came and Toth reacted quickly to convert the ball into the empty net. 4-0.
Four minutes later Hungary again exploited their opponents down their right as Fazekas picked up the ball, turned inside the full back and fired a right foot shot which beat Mora at his near post for his second and Hungary’s fifth. 5-0. Then on sixty-four minutes El Salvador got their first ever World Cup goal. Some good work down the left of the penalty area by Jorge Gonzalez saw him pull the ball back to Hernandez on the penalty spot. He managed to squirt the ball through to Luis Zapata, who was stood just in front of the keeper and he turned and scored. 5-1. He celebrated as if he’d scored in the Final but you could see how much it meant to them.
Five-one down, could the great comeback be on? Well no, but there were five more goals. Just after the fifth goal Laszlo Kiss came on for Torocsik. Five minutes after conceding, the Hungarians restored their five goal advantage as a corner on the right was collected by Kiss who had time to bring the ball down, swivel and then fire it past two defenders and Mora. 6-1. Barely sixty seconds later they’d made it six.
Poloskei won a challenge wide on the left wing, ran into the area and squared the ball for Lazar Szentes to turn the ball in. 7-1. Szentes had come on for Sandor Muller just before Kiss scored. Two minutes later they’d scored again. Nyilasi picked up the ball on the halfway line down the right and charged towards the El Salvador goal, beating three challenges before playing the ball to his left where Fazekas layed it on further to Kiss, who was completely unmarked on the left hand edge of the area. He had one touch and then cooly chipped the ball over the keeper who was only about three yards off his line. 8-1.
On seventy-six minutes they extended the humiliation. A long cross-field pass from the right by Nyilasi found Toth on the left wing. Toth crossed the ball into the six-yard box where the keeper could only parry the ball. It bounced clear towards the edge of the area and there was Kiss, who just couldn’t believe his luck, and he fired his shot along the ground beating a man on the line. 9-1. Kiss had become the first substitute to score a hat-trick in a World Cup match, completing it in just seven minutes having been on the pitch for just twenty minutes.
The Hungarians weren’t finished. They’d set the record for nine goals scored in a match in 1954, which Yugoslavia had matched in 1974. Now they would go one better. The scoring finished the same was it had started. A cross from the wing into the area and Nyilasi got up to power a header home. 10-1.
The game was just two days after Argentina’s defeat to Belgium and Hungary were rightly confident of progressing to the latter stages but three days later two goals from Maradona helped Argentina to 4-1 win over them and they would have to beat Belgium to go through. They were a goal up with fourteen minutes to go when Czerniatynski levelled things and Hungary were out. Who’d have thought it, break the record for goals scored in a game yet they didn’t get out of the group.
Each World Cup contains one or two shock results, but World Cup 1982 had one of the biggest shocks ever seen to that point.
West Germany v Algeria
West Germany were reigning European Champions. They had won two of the last three Euros, losing the other on penalties, and were World Champions in 1974. They’d won all eight of their qualifying matches and the bookies had them as pre-tournament second favourites behind Brazil. Their first outing this time round would be against Algeria.
Algeria was competing in their first ever major tournament just eighteen years after gaining membership of FIFA. This was their golden generation yet they were the smallest of minnows in everyone’s eyes, up against the biggest of big nations. The Germans contained such names as Rummenigge, Stielike, Kaltz, Breitner, Magath and Littbarski.
The first half was goalless in Gijon, which wasn’t a huge surprise. The Germans had played out the most boring of boring goalless draws in their opening game against Poland fours before. But the Algerians were gaining in confidence and ten minutes into the second half they counter-attacked with real pace. They worked the ball to Lakhdar Belloumi who was free on the left of the area and his shot was parried by Toni Schumacher in the German goal. The spin on the ball helped it loop over three defenders and Rabah Madjer turned it in at the far post.
The crowd went mad as they warmed to the underdogs who were playing with a real joy about them. But the lead lasted just thirteen minutes when the ball was worked out to the left for Felix Magath to fired a low ball into the six-yard box and Rummenigge slid in to level things up. The Germans were very business-like in their celebrations as if they fully expected to go on and win the game comfortably, but the Algerians hit straight back.
A lovely passing move saw Salah Assad overlap down the left and his pace took him beyond Magath, who was covering for Kaltz, now out of position. As Assad reached the bye-line Stielike had charged across to intercept but the Algerian squared the ball to the far post where Belloumi was on hand to score. It was a wonderful moment for African Player of the Year, Belloumi, who revealed years later how the arrogance of the Germans had spurred him and his teammates on. The Germans had been saying how they were going to win by six or seven. One player was going to score for his son, one for his wife and another was going to score for his pets. But they received a bloody nose from an energetic, exciting side who were far from overawed. It was only the second win by an African nation in World Cup history.
Few could believe what they had just witnessed and coming just three days after Argentina’s defeat there was a feeling the old guard may be swept away at this tournament. It wasn’t to be for the Algerians, who were beaten by Austria but then produced another fine victory in defeating Chile. Unfortunately they were robbed of progressing further in one of the most infamous incident of cheating ever seen at a World Cup. But we’ll save that for another day.
Spain v Northern Ireland
Spain had been awarded the honour of hosting this World Cup as early as 1966. They’d often been a failure at major tournaments, despite winning the European Championships in 1964, their World Cup record was poor. They were drawn in a group with Yugoslavia, Northern Ireland and Honduras. The Irish were in their first tournament since 1958, Honduras their first ever, and Yugoslavia who were missed three of the past four tournaments.
This was the final game in the group with the Irish needing to win to progress. Spain could still go through with a defeat but it could only be by one goal. For the Spanish they were desperate for a good performance. They’d needed a penalty to grab a point against little Honduras in their opening match, and weren’t particularly convincing when coming from a goal down to beat Yugoslavia.
Northern Ireland had played out two draws, with Norman Whiteside breaking Pele’s 1958 record of the youngest player to appear in a World Cup. The night before Yugoslavia had only beaten Honduras by a goal when Petrovic converted a penalty two minutes from time. With only two points for a win, teams were to be separated by goal difference and then goals scored. A draw would be enough for Spain but not the Irish, unless they scored twice.
The first half was quite niggly with the Paraguayan referee struggling to get a grip as many players either faked injury or made challenges off the ball. The game was goalless at the break and the Valencia crowd were growing restless with the home side’s inability to break the deadlock.
Early in the second period with the Spanish on the attack, Gerry Armstrong managed to intercept a loose pass deep inside his own half. He surged forward and made it to about thirty yards from goal where he laid it off to his right for Billy Hamilton on the right wing. Hamilton took on and beat Tendillo and then crossed into the six-yard area where Arconada, completely unchallenged, chose to palm the ball away rather than catch it. It ran loose and Gerry Armstrong was on hand to fire it under him into the net. The crowd fell silent.
The referee, who’d seemed to favour the home side in many of the physical confrontations, then heaped further pressure on the Irish when he gave Mal Donaghy a straight red card for a push on Jose Camacho on the hour. It looked harsh and now the Irish would have to negotiate the final thirty minutes a man down. There was no question of either side settling for the result as the hosts didn’t want to face the humiliation of defeat. If they lost they would face England and West Germany in the second phase, whereas France and Austria would await the group winners.
Try all they might the Spanish just couldn’t break through despite some nervous moments for the Irish. In the end Armstrong’s goal was enough to give the Irish a famous victory, possibly their most famous, given the stage. As it was both teams progressed to the next round with the Yugoslavs ruing not being more ambitious against the Hondurans the night before. Neither Spain nor Northern Ireland would win another game in the next phase but the Irish could always look back on a famous night in Valencia to comfort them.
Spain limped out of their own tournament, losing to West Germany and drawing with England. The last two World Cups had been won by the hosts, in fact three of the past four tournaments had but Spain’s big moment had been a disaster for the public.
Kuwait Walk Off
Kuwait were making their only ever World Cup appearance and had been drawn in a group with England, France and Czechoslovakia. To be fair to them they hadn’t bothered entering until 1974 but were considered severe cannon fodder. They had even brought their own mascot, a live camel! They were managed by Brazilian, Carlos Alberto Parreira, who has managed five national teams at World Cups, Brazil (1994 and 2006), Saudi Arabia (1998), South Africa (2010). Rather surprisingly they earned a draw in their opening game in Valladolid against Czechoslovakia. Panenka had put the Czechs in front from the penalty spot in the first half but midway through the second half Falsal Al-Dakhil scored an absolute screamer from about twenty five yards out. It flew into the top corner and brought them a famous draw.
In their next game they were back in Valladolid to meet the French, who had lost to England in Bilbao. Didier Six had a goal ruled out for offside before Genghini put the French in front from a free-kick after half an hour. Platini added to it just before the break and then Didier Six extended the lead early in the second half with a well-taken volley. Maxime Bossis then had a goal ruled out for offside before Abdullah Al-Buloushi grabbed one back for the Kuwaitis when he beat Ettori at his near post. The French went straight down the other end and had another goal ruled out for offside, but then with ten minutes to go it all ‘kicked off’.
Platini put Giresse through but the Kuwait defence stopped as they heard the whistle. Unfortunately, someone in the crowd had blown a whistle and so Giresse carried on and scored. This triggered a mass sulk from the Kuwaitis, encouraged by the Kuwait FA President, Prince Fahid, sitting in the stands. He ordered the players off the pitch. The game was held up for about fifteen minutes as both sets of players maintained they had played to the whistle, unfortunately not the same one. Astonishingly, the referee agreed to chalk off the goal and award a drop-ball. Whether he would’ve done this had the game been closer is not certain. The French eventually scored a fourth goal but not before yet another goal was chalked off, this time for Kuwait. The next day FIFA fined Kuwait for the hold-up and was so critical of the referee’s performance they took his licence away from him. Although they were less successful in tracking down the phantom whistle blower of Valladolid.
Their final group game was in Bilbao against England, where they acquitted themselves very well. England won by a goal from Trevor Francis but they were poor. Kuwait has never qualified for the finals since but they certainly made sure their only appearance was memorable.
Next up – Match fixing and Maradona sees red