SPAIN 1982, THE WORLD CUP OF CHANGE

When the FIFA Congress of 1964 decided that Spain would host the 1982 World Cup, it did not know the evolution that the future seat would undergo in those 18 years. The dictatorship was buried and everyone was betting to give an image of modernity, although nobody was very clear what that meant.

For some, it was about remodeling the Camp Nou to make it the largest stadium in Europe, for others it was to build Torrespaña , a telecommunications tower that defined Madrid's skyline. It was the organization with the highest number of seats, with 17 stadiums in 14 cities, with groups located in zones to reduce the distances between matches. Each of the cities had its own poster, created by some of the brightest names; Antoni Tàpies (Barcelona), Chillida (Bilbao) or Antonio Saura (Seville). The official poster of the championship was a work of Joan Miró , initiating an artistic turn that has been maintained in other sporting events. 

To choose the mascot, a contest was organized and three finalists were chosen; a bullfighter child, a bull and an orange, which was finally selected, perhaps in an attempt to get away from the topics. Naranjito , created by a Sevillian advertising agency, was criticized at the same time as a ground-breaking and for associating with the past. After becoming the winner, it was acquired by West Nally, the agency that defined sports marketing. It was one of its first commercial successes and became a true icon for a generation, with a series of its own animation and all kinds of products decorated with the first mascot-fruit of the history of the world cup.

Sports marketing had not yet reached athletes, at least at that level; 13 of the 24 teams wore adidas , and two more wore Le Coq Sportif (a brand then owned by Horst Dassler , the president of adidas). But the curious winner was Italy, who wore a uniform without any visible mark. For the Italian Football Federation, placing a logo on the t-shirt was a sign of contempt, so the rooster of Le Coq Sportif could be seen in the training and warming-up clothes, but not in the game ones.

That's the reason why the Italian players listened to the anthem with the training jacket, despite the 30 degrees of the Spanish summer. Italy took the victory after having tied the first three matches while the Brazilian team was one of the best teams in history among those who were left without a prize. Some of the players present in that World Cup signed for Spanish clubs and became local and global idols such as Thomas N'Kono, Mágico Gonzalez or Maradona.

For the Spanish team, it was a sporting failure, but the organization managed to change the politicized image of previous World Cups for something completely new. An excited group, overflowing with energy, reflected their new values in a sporting event that was marked as an organizational reference and as an illusion for society. A World Cup that will always be associated to a break with the past and a bold way of facing the future.