On this day in 1982, Italy kicked off their World Cup campaign with a 0-0 draw against Poland in Vigo.
The Azzurri went into the tournament having reached the semi-finals on home soil at Euro ’80, but there was controversy hanging over the squad.
Striker Paolo Rossi had been given a two-year ban for his part in the Totonero betting scandal, which caused him to miss out on the European Championships.
Despite having played just three matches in two seasons – scoring once – Rossi was included in the squad by CT Enzo Bearzot.
The forward started against the Poles, but his lack of match practice was chronically apparent and he failed to have much impact on the game.
Francesco Graziani came closest to opening the scoring for the Azzurri, drawing a good save from Józef Młynarczyk after some scrappy play in the box.
The same players were in action again soon after, with the Polish goalkeeper beating away a left-footed shot from the Fiorentina striker.
Zbigniew Boniek would join Juventus after the tournament, and his deflected free-kick called Dino Zoff into action in the second half.
Fulvio Collovati had a header cleared off the line before Marco Tardelli rattled the crossbar from the resulting clearance, but Italy couldn’t find a way through and started the tournament with a 0-0 draw.
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