The stars of the game were Dino Zoff, Claudio Gentile, Antonio Cabrini, Bruno Conti, Marco Tardelli and Enzo Bearzot.

And the one name that stands out from the rest is that of Paolo Rossi.

Rossi was disqualified for two years after being allegedly involved in the so-called “scandalo delle scommesse” (betting scandal) of 1980, which provoked the greatest commotion in the history of Italian soccer.

Rossi managed to resume playing just in time for the 1982 FIFA World Cup.

Still in shock from the scandal, Italy as a whole suffered dramatically from the events of 1980.

And so, we arrived at “España 82” with more doubts than certainties.

Some heroes which represented Italy in Argentina in 1978 returned to shine in Spain in 1982, including 40-year-old goalkeeper Zoff, defenders Gentile and Cabrini, superstar Gaetano Scirea, midfielders Tardelli and Giancarlo Antognoni, and the Torinese forward Francesco Graziani.

And Rossi, of course.

Immediately we risked being eliminated, drawing three times in the same round against Poland, Peru and Cameroon.

In what was branded as the worst round of the World Cup, we qualified by the skin of our teeth, thanks to the general mediocrity of all sides.

Given their poor performance, the Italians enforced the systematic use of a media blackout.

This strategy proved successful beyond expectations.

Moving into the second round to play Argentina and Brazil, Italy faced a challenge which seemed insurmountable.

The azzurri, thanks to a long-term preparation, gradually polished their skills and improved.

They turned into a “tosta” (tough) side which displayed strong defensive pressure to take down Diego Maradona’s Argentine team (2-1).

In the challenge against the formidable Brazilian side composed of demigods Zico, Falcão, Sócrates and Eder, Italy found themselves in a “soli contro tutti” (alone against all) situation.

Rossi redeemed himself with ferocity, sending three goals past Brazil’s Valdir Peres.

In the end we were victorious, defeating Brazil (3-2).

The matches never reached the brilliance of that which took place four years earlier, but as their opponents surrendered the ball in the midfield, Italy took the opportunity to score: 2 goals against Argentina, 3 against Brazil, 2 against a scoreless Poland.

We worked our way to the final in Madrid: Italy versus West Germany.

Cabrini missed a penalty shot in the first half.

Italy failed to score until the 11th minute of the second half, when Rossi proved dangerous by heading the ball into the goals to give the azzurri the lead.

Tardelli made history, scoring a second goal with his famous shout: “Gol! Gol!” as he shook his head wildly, but Alessandro Altobelli’s third goal was the icing on the cake.

West Germany eventually celebrated a goal through Paul Breitner, but it was too little too late.

The referee blew the whistle to signal the end of the game, and commentator Martellini declared: “Campioni del mondo! Campioni del mondo!! Campioni del mondo!!!” (World champions! World champions!! World champions!!!).

And just like that, the Years of Lead ended and Italy officially advanced into the 1980s.