The story of the 1982 World Cup
Between now and the start of the World Cup, we will be looking back at previous tournaments with the help of some of the key characters and the BBC's archive footage. Today, we speak to the man who tried and failed to stop the great Brazil side of the 1982 finals, which ended up belonging to Italy and Marco Tardelli.
Spain, June & July, 1982
The best team might not have won the 1982 World Cup, but the best celebration definitely did.
For sheer artistry and jaw-dropping skill there have been few squads in history to match the one that Brazil coach Tele Santana took to Spain, not even in his own country's glittering past. Their names still trip off the tongue; the likes of Junior, Socrates, Falcao and Zico, while the flamboyant, attacking football they played under Santana deservedly lives long in the memory.
Instead, the trophy went to an Italy side that lacked any comparable verve but who, through the raw emotion of Marco Tardelli's reaction to his goal in the final, still provided the iconic moment of a tournament that contained as much controversy as it did drama.
An Italian triumph had seemed an unlikely outcome during the first round, as Enzo Bearzot's side scraped through with three draws against Poland, Peru and Cameroon. England, in their first finals for 12 years, made the fastest start, with Bryan Robson scoring after only 27 seconds in their first game against France, while upsets came from Algeria, who beat West Germany, and Northern Ireland - who famously shocked the hosts through Gerry Armstrong's strike.
Years later, I went to university with Armstrong's son, Brendan, who was always modest about his father's achievements but acknowledged how that goal on a humid evening in Valencia changed his life. It brought Gerry, then playing for Watford, international fame and led to the family returning to Spain a few months later when he joined Real Mallorca for a three-year stint. Such is the power of the World Cup.
There were no surprises, however, when Brazil faced Scotland in their second group game. Well, at least not after David Narey had put Jock Stein's side ahead with a spectacular early strike. The Brazilians responded by running riot in a 4-1 win that still leaves Alan Hansen wincing when he recalls it 28 years on.
"We watched Brazil in their first game against the Soviet Union, where they won 2-1 and were just toying with them," Hansen, who was at the heart of the Scotland defence on that night in Seville, told me. "Before we played them, we looked at their players and then looked at the heat - the game kicked off at 9pm and it was 100 degrees - and we knew it was going to be exceptionally difficult.
"Then we annoyed them by scoring first and I very quickly learned a couple of things. Firstly, the importance of having the ball in those conditions because they had it and we were chasing them so we obviously got tired very quickly and, secondly, how great - not just good - their players were.
"Effectively they only had 10 men because they had a striker called Serginho who was never a Brazilian player. He was just a big lump who couldn't run. He wasn't useless but he was as close to it as you have ever seen, not that it helped us much.
"Junior was meant to be playing left-back but he was like a centre-forward against us and I just couldn't get near to Zico, who was a phenomenal player. Through their whole team, their control of the ball and the way they played was absolutely fantastic; the skill, the touch, the technique - everything. You had to stand back in awe of how good they were."
Things got worse, not better, for Hansen, who was playing in his only World Cup. A 2-2 draw against the USSR in their last group game - with one of the Soviet goals coming after he collided with team-mate Willie Miller - meant Scotland missed out on a place in the second round on goal difference for the third World Cup in a row.
If the Scots' exit was farcical, there was a whiff of scandal about the way Algeria failed to progress. Amid angry scenes at the El Molinon Stadium in Gijon, West Germany and Austria played out a 1-0 win for the Germans - a scoreline that saw both teams progress. Allegations of a fix were universally made but never proven, although the stink led to Fifa ensuring the final games in each group would kick off simultaneously at all future tournaments.
The second round comprised of another group stage; four groups of three teams each, with the winners going into the semi-finals. This was where England departed, unbeaten, after two goalless draws against West Germany and Spain, and where the holders Argentina, including a youthful Diego Maradona, imploded by losing twice.
The Argentines were in the same group as Italy and Brazil, who met in a decider for a place in the last four and produced an unforgettable encounter. Paolo Rossi, who had only recently resumed playing after a two-year ban for his part in a match-fixing scandal in Serie A, put Italy ahead twice. Brazil, who only needed a draw to progress on goal difference, replied each time with magnificent goals by Socrates and Falcao - whose vein-busting celebration provided another highlight - and went looking for the win, but Rossi's third goal proved decisive and Brazil were out.
Hansen has become renowned for his criticism of defensive displays in his work as a BBC pundit but even he remembers being shocked by the complacency of the Brazilians as he watched back home on Merseyside.
He told me: "Unfortunately for Brazil, they played with an attitude that it didn't matter if the opposition got three because they would get four. I really couldn't believe what I was seeing because they basically gave the Italians their goals with slack defensive play.
"They came unstuck but as far as flair, imagaination and creativity were concerned they were always the best team in Spain and they are still without a shadow of a doubt the best team never to have won the World Cup. Even subsequent Brazil sides who have won the trophy have not been in the same class."
In any other World Cup, that Brazil-Italy game would have undoubtedly been the match of the tournament but, three days later in the semi-finals, France and West Germany served up another clash of skill against spirit that was just as dramatic.
The French, with Michel Platini and Alain Giresse pulling the strings in an artful midfield, had become the neutrals' favourites following Brazil's exit but went the same way as the South Americans after continuing to attack despite leading 3-1 with 15 minutes of extra-time left. West Germany's eventual win, in the first World Cup match to be decided on penalties, was made even less popular by their goalkeeper Harold 'Toni' Schumacher's infamous challenge on Patrick Battiston with the score at 1-1 that left Battiston unconscious and knocked out three of his teeth, but saw Schumacher escape punishment.
Italy brushed aside Poland, whose talisman Zbigniew Boniek was suspended, in their semi-final and, although there was a Brazilian in the final, played in front of 90,000 fans at the Bernabeu, it was only the referee Arnaldo Cesar Coelho.
For the first hour at least, the final did not live up to what had come before. Only when Rossi - who else? - broke the deadlock on 56 minutes did the game spark into life. The Italians, who had been brilliantly negative for most of the tournament, at last began to express themselves and none more so than Tardelli, who fired home their second goal from the edge of the area before embarking on a mazy, crazy, screaming and tearful run towards the Italy bench that has become known as 'l'urlo di Tardelli' or 'the Tardelli cry'.
"After I scored, my whole life passed before me - the same feeling they say you have when you are about to die," Tardelli explained recently. "The joy of scoring in a World Cup final was immense, something I dreamed about as a kid, and my celebration was a release after realising that dream. I was born with that scream inside me, that was just the moment it came out."
The greatest celebration ever? I'll let you decide. There was no way back for West Germany, anyhow. Alessandro Altobelli put Italy 3-0 up before Paul Breitner replied with a late consolation. Italy were not the team that most people thought would win the World Cup, nor wanted to, but it was they who got their hands on the trophy.
Watch the top 10 goals of the 1982 World Cup (UK only)
Watch Brazil fight back from a goal down to hammer Scotland (UK only)
Watch Northern Ireland beat the hosts Spain(UK only)
Watch Paolo Rossi's hat-trick see off the brilliant Brazilians (UK only)
Watch the classic semi-final between France and West Germany (UK only)
Let me know your memories of 1982. On Monday, we look back at 1986, when we speak to the winner of the Golden Boot but the World Cup belonged to just one man - Diego Armando Maradona.