Hubert Birkenmeier of the Cosmos floats like a butterfly as he's stung by the Chicago Sting's Arno Steffenhagen, who drilled the shot at right. The Cosmos fared better in the Soccer Bowl, beating Seattle 1-0. Giorgio Chinaglia, the NASL scoring champ for a record fifth season, booted home the only goal in a half-full San Diego-Jack Murphy stadium. By contrast, via TV more than two billion people—two out of every five folks on the planet—saw the World Cup final from Madrid, making it the most widely witnessed spectacle in history. Italy barely qualified for the final round with three lackluster ties, including one against unheralded Cameroon. But the Italians won for the third time since the quadrennial competition began in 1930, thanks to Paolo Rossi, their star center-forward, and Dino zoff, their 40-year-old goalie and captain. They dispatched the defending champion, Argentina; the heir apparent, Brazil; the sentimental favorite, Poland; and, in the 3-1 final, the consensus villain, West Germany, which had alienated the Mundial crowds by playing with gratuitous brutality except in a suspicious victory over Austria. In the eighth overtime of the longest NCAA championship game ever, between Indiana and Duke, Hoosier Gregg Thompson mercifully ended it with a direct free kick. Later, the Tampa Bay Rowdies made Thompson, a native of Stillwater, Minn., the top pick in the NASL draft.
Frustrated at losing to Brazil, Argentina's Diego Maradona (10) kicked Batista in the groin.
The year marked Chinaglia's fifth NASL scoring crown, and the Cosmos' fifth Soccer Bowl title. No. 9 scored the goal in the 1-0 final over Seattle.
Poland came in third in the Cup after stumbling through a 0-0 first-round tie with Cameroon.
Spain went down kicking to west Germany (above), which lost the final when Italy's Marco Tardelli (below) scored. Rossi (near left) lifts the Cup.
MIRÓ, MIRÓ ON THE WALL
The essence of the World Cup may have been captured best by the motley, roughhewn shapes in Joan Miró's official poster. Everything about the quadrennial affair in Spain seemed at once crude and colorful and at odds with strict form. Take the attitude of the Austrians and west Germans, who seemed to orchestrate the latter's 1-0 win in the first round, thus eliminating the spunky Algerians according to the Cup's total-goals formula and advancing both West Germany and Austria. Collusion couldn't be proved, but reaction was swift and strident; a 48-year-old policeman in Oldenburg, West Germany filed a suit charging his country's national team with bringing him bodily harm—"nausea," to be specific. The Germans ousted host Spain along the way to the final, thanks to the play of their hobbled star forward, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. (Pelé, in his syndicated column, called them "Rummenigge and ten robots.")
The Cup defender, Argentina, lost its opener 1-0 to Belgium-Belgium?-and its closer 3-1 to Brazil in a rough-and-tumble match. (Pelé—a bit biased, to be sure—called his countrymen's approach to the game "unparalleled. It is musical, galvanizing, joyful and not at all violent") Three days later the samba Peat, the unofficial sound track Brazil's partisans had drummed out all competition long, suddenly sounded dolorous. Italy's Forza Azzurri forsook its defensive style for occasional bold headlong rushes and Peat Brazil 3-2. By Mundial's end, ultimate vindication came for soccer's international governing body and for Paolo Rossi. FIFA had Peen criticized for expanding the first-round field from 16 to 24 teams, Put so many upsets had ensued-Algeria, a 2,000-to-1 shot in London Petting parlors, Peat co-favorite west Germany 7-2 early on, to the delight of just about everyone—that the critics were soothed. And Rossi, fresh from a two-year suspension in his own country because of suspected involvement in a Petting scandal, scored six goals in the final three games to complete a stunning leap Pack to grace.
Fairest of them all wasn't west Germany, whose Klaus Fischer got an official earful.