The celebration of the 1970 World Cup at the Mexican Embassy. Gravina: “My memories as a fan”The FIGC’s President was a guest of the Mexican Ambassador alongside Rivera, Boninsegna and De Sisti on the 50th anniversary of ‘The Game of the Century’ between Italy and Germany
Monday, June 22, 2020
Fifty years on, Italy celebrate the 1970 Mexico World Cup at the Mexican Embassy in Rome, a tournament that made history thanks in part to ‘The Game of the Century’ between Italy and Germany. FIGC President Gabriele Gravina, who was a guest of the Mexican Ambassador to Italy Carlos García de Alba, emphasised the bond between the two nations and the friendship between Italians and Mexicans as well his own youthful memories of that World Cup: “I was a young boy who watched those events from home and then disobeyed the rules that forced us to stay at home by running into the square with all my friends, it was a moment of great euphoria. I stopped at the 4-3 win over Germany and so don’t remember the bitterness of the defeat to Brazil.”
The protagonists of that unforgettable match, Gianni Rivera, Roberto Boninsegna and Giancarlo De Sisti all recalled that semi-final at the Azteca. Rivera said, “The joy of having been told that all Italians were together, left, right and centre taking to the streets to celebrate was incredible. It’s a great feeling to have created such a special moment and we did everything we could to keep the nation united.” After having decided that match against Germany, the former AC Milan star only entered the field in the dying minutes of the final against Brazil and Boninsegna commented, “We still regret not having played our Ballon d’Or winner and even Pelé was surprised. Rivera came on with six minutes to go and he was a gentleman about it because if I were him, I wouldn’t have come on.” Boninsegna then revealed his ‘last minute’ trip to that World Cup: “I wasn’t going to go and then Anastasi got injured and the Mexican Consulate called me at three in the morning to tell me I had to do some paperwork. I wanted it so much and when I woke up the next morning I was still in disbelief.”
“Italy versus Germany is the most amazing memory of my career, the highest point I ever reached,” admitted Giancarlo De Sisti in front of an audience full of institutional figures such as undersecretaries for Foreign Affairs Ricardo Merlo and Manlio Di Stefano, the Deputy Secretary General Michele Baiano, the Head of Cabinet for the Ministry of Youth Policy and Sport Giovanni Panebianco, the Secretary General of the Italian-Latin American Institute Antonella Cavallari, the Germany’s Ambassador to Italy Viktor Elbling and the Mexican Ambassador to the Holy See Alberto Barranco.
The day at the Mexican Embassy finished a week of festivities for #LaPartitaDelSecolo, which in recent days has been celebrated all over the FIGC’s digital platforms via videos and stories of some of the game's protagonists as well as memories from other important figures from the world of sport, entertainment, music and culture.