They Can’t Catch Us Anymore.The ’82 World Cup, 40 Years On

Museo della Figurina is celebrating the forty years since Spain’82 with a new display of its ‘80s and‘90s collection curated by Marco Ferrero and Francesca Fontana.

The switch from the ‘70s to the ‘80s marked an important shift in the world of trading cards, as their subject matter began to point more and more to sport–in particular football, the ultimate sport-trading card pairing–and television. The fortieth anniversary of the Spain World Cup, which Italy won in a memorable match on 11 July 1982, called foranin-depthlook at an event that has remained in the public memory also thanks to trading cardsthat have gained cultstatus. That world cup was a sort of football Wunderkammer, a gallery of extraordinary footballers who have remained in thehearts of football fans and many more besides.Impressive on the pitch with the ball at their feet,they werecapableof becoming the heroes of an era. Names merging different social and cultural backgrounds, in some cases they becameveritable icons. The images on the trading cards telling that World Cup story have become symbolicand even now it seems impossibleto think of the players without harking back to their face printed on a small rectangle of sticky card. The exhibition goes through the stages in the Italian team’s victory from the qualifying round and their debut at the Balaídosstadium in Vigo. And then the memorable matches against Argentina and Brazil and the splendid goals thattook Italy into the final with West Germany at the Santiago Bernabéu. Of that day, everyone remembersSandro Pertini, with his They can’t catch us anymoreexclaimed inthe 81st minute of the final in Madrid,King Juan Carlos in the stands,the goals of Marco Tardelli, Rossi and Altobelli, the thrice-repeated “World Champions!”.

A party exploded in Italythat was the symbol of a country’s new beginning. A series of enduring images followed, like Zoff’s hands holding up the cup and the game of cards on the flight home.

A section of the exhibition focuses on themost iconic footballers: it was a World Cup of great goalkeepers and creativeplaymakers, footballers with flair, technical skills and class who brought their stories and visionsof the world with them.

Lastly, a final section focuses on the cities and stadiums in the Spanish World Cup which, even forty years on,are something special for football fans.