Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
When soccer fans look back on 1982 they will remember it as the Year of Europe.
The main reason will be the fact that the four semifinalists in July's World Cup were from Europe. That dominance was displayed again Saturday night in a much less significant, but hardly less exciting, forum during an exhibition all-star game here.
The final score was European All-Stars 3, The Rest of The World All-Stars 2, but the result hardly mattered. What mattered was the presence of 76,891 wildly enthusiastic fans in Giants Stadium, many of them drawn by the presence of the World Cup's biggest star, Italian striker Paolo Rossi.
It was Rossi's Italian compatriot, Giancarlo Antognoni, who scored the winning goal in the game's 88th minute, capping a comeback from a 2-0 deficit. Even though he did not score, the diminutive Rossi played a role in two of his team's three second-half goals and gave the fans, who screamed every time he came near the ball, the show they had come to see.
"I was pleased with my level of play," Rossi said through an interpreter. "The team, it was hard to know each other at first. But the second half it was much better. It was good to play with so many champions."
Many of the world's top players, or champions, as Rossi put it, were on the field for this game organized by FIFA, soccer's governing body. Only Argentina's Diego Maradona, who had a poor World Cup, turned down the invitation. For the local fans, there was Cosmos striker Giorgio Chinaglia and former Cosmos captain Franz Beckenbauer.
But Chinaglia was hardly treated as a hometown hero. The expatriate Italian, now a U.S. citizen, was booed by the thousands of partisan Italians in the crowd each time he touched the ball. Still, it was Chinaglia who set up the Rest of the World's first goal in the 25th minute, passing the ball out to Mexico's Hugo Sanchez for a hard shot that goalkeeper Dino Zoff (another Italian World Cup hero) could only deflect onto the foot of Brazil's Zico, who scored easily off the rebound.
The Rest of the World went up, 2-0, in the 35th minute when Brazil's Falcao put a seemingly weak shot under Zoff's left hand right to Algeria's Lakhdar Belloumi, who scored easily.
"For 45 minutes, we could not get used to each other," said Euroepan Coach Jupp Derwall.
Beckenbauer was more blunt: "The first half, they were lucky."
The Europeans proved that by dominating the final 45 minutes. Only the heroic play of goalkeeper Thomas N'Kono from Cameroon kept the game from turning into an embarrassing rout.