Italy’s world champion, and the incredible Italian summer of 1982 | Massimo Gramellini

To give an idea ofthe only summer in our lives where we felt unbeatable, I would start from a picture. That of a small car parked by the sea in a tourist resort on the Costa Brava during the days of August 15. On the dusty windows wrote a philosophical vandal with fingerprints: Bruno, Conti?

Three only grown-up guys get off the little car and arrange themselves next to each other, in the classic formation of the Bee Gees videos. The long-haired blonde walking in the middle is wearing white pants, while those of the friends on each side are green and red. All three are unfamiliar with patriotic rhetoric, at the time a monopoly for the far right, and are even less familiar with girls.

But something happened the month before.
Which now leads to them plowing the beach promenade in the Costa Brava in the arrangement of Frecce Tricolori and that they have easy conversations with all the Scandinavians they cross along the way.

Because many abroad believe that Paolo Rossi is a surname, the three introduce themselves as younger brothers to the shooter: the Paolorrossi family. One of them, a few years earlier, took a picture with Pablito and shows it to the girls as proof of the intimacy of the relationship. That summer, every credible gamble, when an Italian is involved.

And here we must take a step back. What makes the three uncomfortable Bee Gees so confident in themselves and almost inexorable in their gestures? Who got the feeling of unbeatability that characterizes those who survived death? it happened that on July 11, 1982, Italy won the World Cup for the third time. But no sporting success in itself can upset a nation’s character. The matter is a little more complex.

Just like that summer, which started withrising inflation (tell me something?), new terror alarms and the banker Calvi was found under the Black Friars Bridge in London with a snare around the neck. where maffian he had just killed Pio La Torre and that general from the church he served his last months of solitude in Palermo, before being killed in turn.

The national team that went to the World Cup in Spain was the faithful mirror of the rest.

The goalkeeper and the captain Dino Zoff he was described as a forty-year-old with severe vision problems, by the ferret Bruno Conti it was doubted that it had an international dimension, the formidable one Tardelli was considered from form e Cabrinithe handsome Antonio, had been involved in a surreal gay-themed gossip with Paolo Rossi. The nicest thing that was said about the latter was that he was recommended by the coach, who had wanted him in the team even though he did not play for two years due to suspension linked to football betting. The coach was called Enzo Bearzot and he went for an intellectual dreamer who knew Horace’s poems better than planned. A classic Italian capetto who preferred to let his friends play instead of the most deserving, and had come to slam an Inter fan who had opposed Beccalossi’s failure to call.

Bearzot has everything againstfrom fans to journalists, from the league president to Lega Calcios, who threaten to go down to the locker rooms to kick the players in the ass. Everyone against him, except his boys, who cuddle around him like a father.

The elimination round is an endless punishment, where the suspicion of a combine is increased. In any case, a therapeutic endurance, given that in the next round we are waiting for two obvious fools againstArgentina by Maradona and that Brazil by Zico and many others. The national team humiliated, isolated, mocked. And he descends to Hades to face a series of impossible challenges that will definitely undermine his already scarce chances of survival.


Instead Tardelli suddenly enters a devastating form, Bruno Conti discovers a slightly stronger version of Pel in fifteen days And Dear stop Maradona, Zico, anyone: with happiness, with bad and with so-so. Finally, after two years of sleep, against Brazil, the thorny beauty Paolo Rossi wakes up and becomes Paolorrossi, while Zoff makes the parade of lifesmash on the goal line a ball that everyone, maybe even him, had already considered inside.

The national team that survived the death and now is simply unbeatable.

She knows it, we know it, everyone knows it, even the stingy wine grower in the corner of the house, who offers sparkling wine of the highest quality to the first to pass by. Even the Prime Minister knows Spadolini, which overlooks the balcony of Palazzo Chigi after almost forty years as no one looked out from some balconies in central Rome. The most classic of epic mechanisms is clear: the hero’s journey of transformation. The documentation tells it well Italy 1982, an Italian summerto be seen in cinemas because big emotions need big screens.

At the beginning of the story, the collective hero (the players) was reluctant, opposed and underestimated. But mentor Bearzot urges him to believe in himself, rather than in the judgment of the cruel world. The effort is (civic) death: the return home among the pernacchi. The hero goes through all the dangers and stereotypes of his condition in solitude and at the end of the journey he finds himself unbeatable. When Cabrini misses a penalty from zero to zero in the final against the abandoned Germans, no Italian on the pitch or in front of the TV pays much attention to it: we know we are destined to win. And the cry of Tardelli after goal two to zero, not so much of joy, but of rebellion and revenge: the most Italian of emotions, which consists in feeling the victim of a conspiracy and in sacrifice not finding an alibi, but a glue and a fuel to become unbeatable.

Because that’s how we all felt that summer. Unbeatable.

From the broom player Pertini to the three Bee Gees on the Costa Brava, to my neighbor who fasts football and is convinced that Gentile was a compliment. Perhaps Brecht’s famous words should be reconsidered: Lucky the people who do not need heroes.
But also the people who, when they need them, find them.

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9 July 2022, 07:00 – change 9 July 2022 | 07:03

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