Football: Tardelli has the expertise in stress rapture

One person in particular will understand the pressures on the Italian and English players when they face each other in the Stadio Olimpico.

Marco Tardelli won a World Cup winners medal with Italy, and will be actively involved again in Saturday's game as the No 2 to the Italian coach Cesare Maldini. He talked to Jane Nottage.

For football fans around the world Marco Tardelli's passionate celebration of the spectacular second goal of the final against West Germany was one of the definitive images of the 1982 World Cup finals.

Yet little more than a fortnight earlier the Italians had been widely castigated by their own press and supporters. Tardelli, we can assume, knows all about pressure.

"In 1982 everyone said we were finished," he said. "We had enormous pressure on us, but that made us close ranks and unite. We were more together as a team than ever before. This kind of mental strength comes from within and it is this strength that we need to win on Saturday. I think in the end the team that wins will be the one with the right mental attitude as well as talent."

As far as talent is concerned, Tardelli is impressed by many of England's young players. "One of the best England players is Paul Scholes. He was on excellent form during the Tournoi in France last summer, and since then he has come into his own. He's dangerous because you don't see him but he inflicts the most damage. You think everything is under control when suddenly there he is threatening to score, and you think: `Where the hell did he come from?'

"David Beckham is another class player, although he has yet to score for England. But the man I fear most is Glenn Hoddle. He was a classy, elegant player with great vision and passing ability, and he has incorporated that in the team. He's changed the old 4-4-2 to bring five players in defence, and that combines the old style with the new. I also think both [Tony] Adams and [David] Seaman will be the cornerstones of England's defence."

In recent weeks Tardelli has made several visits to Britain, taking in the games between Wimbledon and Crystal Palace, Chelsea and Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea, and Manchester United and Juventus. All provided opportunities for Tardelli to help Maldini. The two formed their partnership when they looked after the Italian under-21 side, and continued with it when Maldini was made coach of the national team last December.

Still the playing memories linger. "You know, when I walk into the Olympic Stadium on Saturday I will ask myself the same question that I always ask: `Could I still play?'" He pauses before smiling: "And the answer is always no. At first it was difficult to make the transition from player to management, but now I feel my new role is as stimulating as playing."

Things have changed since Tardelli's day, not least on the financial front. Does he think the huge pay packets have produced less hungry players? "Definitely. When you earn pounds 100,000 a year you are still hungry for more, but when you are on a contract worth several million pounds I think it takes away the edge."

Not that this will be a problem on Saturday. "When you have a place in the World Cup finals at stake you don't need pushing."

Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas