40 years since the World Cup opening ceremony at Camp Nou

Monday 13 July sees the 40th anniversary of the opening ceremony for the 1982 World Cup which took place in Spain. The spectacle took place at Camp Nou ahead of the opening fixture of the tournament and its message was one of peace and harmony for the watching world.

Close to 100,000 were present in the stadium and more than 1.6bn people around the world tuned in on television to see a performance that involved more than 2,000 participants dressed in white who recreated various forms out on the field including the Dove of Peach by the artist Pablo Picasso.

Present at the opening ceremony were important figures such as Catalan president, Jordi Pujol, King Juan Carlos I of Spain and Queen Sofia, the president of the Spanish FA Pablo Porta and the president of FIFA, João Havelange.

The ceremony was the prelude to the first fixture of the 1982 World Cup between Belgium and reigning champions Argentina. The latter boasted a Diego Armando Maradona who had just signed for FC Barcelona prior to the tournament. While, the South Americans were to go down to defeat against a talented Belgium side, Vandenburgh getting the only goal of the game.

Barça’s stadium, Camp Nou, had undergone extensive remodeling due to FIFA requirements for the tournament and the capacity had been extended with the limit 120,000 for the Joan Gamber Trophy game in the August following the World Cup.

Camp Nou was the venue for group matches involving Poland, Belgium and the USSR and also the semi-final which saw eventual winners Italy brush aside Poland 2-0 thanks to a brace from tournament top scorer Paolo Rossi.


Six Barça players took part in the tournament: the already mentioned Diego Maradona with the Argentine team and also Urruti, Alexanco, Periko Alonso, Tente Sánchez and Quini who were part of the squad who took part and exited in the second group phase as did Spain Argentina.