1985 Mundialito Final (lost footage of international football match; 1985)

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Programme for the tournament.

Status: Lost

The 1985 Mundialito Final culminated the third women's Mundialito tournament. Occurring on 25th August in front of around 10,000 at the Stadio Giovanni Chiggiato, it saw England defeat hosts and defending champions Italy 3-2 to claim its first of two Mundialito titles. It is known the second half was televised live on Italian television.


The women's Mundialito was one of several international tournaments held before the inaugural FIFA Women's World Cup in 1991.[1] Occurring in the years following the 1970 and 1971 Women's World Cups, the 1981 Mundialito was hosted by Japan and was an invitational tournament.[2][3][1] At the inaugural event consisting of four teams, Italy narrowly edged out Denmark on goal difference to claim the title, with England's win over Japan giving the Lionesses third place.[2][3] Subsequent Mundialito tournaments were exclusively held in northern Italy, with the 1984 edition seeing the hosts retain via a 3-1 victory against West Germany in the Final.[3][2] England again secured third place, beating Belgium 2-1 after having drawn with the Italians 1-1.[4][2][3]

1985 was again an invitational tournament, with matches held at the Stadio Armando Picchi and the Stadio Giovanni Chiggiato.[2] England was again invited, with Denmark making a return after missing out on 1984.[2][3] Most notably, after hastily conducting a tryout a week before the tournament began, a United States team also competed.[1][2][3] This marked the debut international appearance of the United States women's national football team.[5][6][3] The 1985 Mundialito began on 18th August 1985, with Italy edging out the United States 1-0.[2][6][1][5] The fact Italy only achieved a narrow victory was somewhat surprising, considering the United States apparently had inadequate training time and equipment to fully prepare for the tournament.[1] It also established the OOOSA chant, originating as the crowd unexpectedly began cheering on the American team after they fell behind.[6][5] The US, after discovering it was an unusual U-S-A chant and finding it amusing, incorporated it as a routine pre-match chant that is still utilised as of the present day.[5][6]

A day later, Denmark beat England 1-0.[7][2] However, the Lionesses kept their title hopes alive by holding Italy to a 1-1 draw, Kerry Davis having scored for England.[7][2] This match notably became the first England-Italy clash following the Heysel Stadium disaster.[8][3] Indeed, England was granted permission by both UEFA and the British Government to travel, with the intent of beginning a healing process between the two nations post-Heysel.[8] Meanwhile, Denmark was held to a 2-2 draw against the United States, guaranteeing the importance of the final group games.[2][1] In them, Italy defeated Denmark 2-1, while England overcame the United States with a 3-1 result.[7][2][1] That scoreline was enough for England to outrank Denmark on goal difference, progressing along with the Italians who topped the group with five points.[2][7] The Danes achieved some consolation by defeating the United States 2-1 in the third-place playoff.[2][3][1]

The Final

In preparation for the Final, England suffered a setback, as a diving header from Angela Gallimore against the US allowed her to score but also caused her to suffer a broken nose.[7] She was consequently unable to compete in the Final.[7] Still, England had some confidence concerning their chances of winning; a year prior, they had finished runners-up to Sweden at the 1984 European Competition for Women's Football.[9][4][7] Italy had dropped out at the Semi-Finals, having also lost to Sweden via a 5-3 aggregate result.[9] However, the Italians were most certainly considered the favourites, not only for their home advantage but also because most players were competing on a semi-professional basis with adequate human and financial resources behind them.[4] In contrast, English women's football was governed by the Women's Football Association (WFA) on a shoestring budget, forcing the national team to pay out of pocket for necessities like flight tickets.[4] The English team was deemed comparatively amateur to their Italian counterparts.[4] Some nevertheless were experienced on the international scene; for example, the Final would mark England's Carol Thomas' 50th match as captain for the Lionesses.[7] The previous match history between the two sides also favoured Italy; since 1976, Italy won four of their six clashes against England, with the latter winning one and drawing the other.[8]

The English apathy towards women's football was additionally reflected by the media.[7][4] No television coverage was forthcoming, nor were any English journalists or photographers present to report on the match.[7] In contrast, the Mundialito had become a gala event in Italy, drawing big crowds, extensive media coverage, and interest from television companies.[7][4] While the first half went untelevised, it was confirmed the game's final 45 minutes were broadcast live.[7] It is unclear who covered the match, though RAI is a likely candidate as it fully televised the 1984 Mundialito Final.[3] To accommodate television schedule demands, the game's kick-off was moved ahead a few hours, resulting in players experiencing greater heat than they faced in the cooler evenings when most group games commenced.[7]

The Final itself commenced on 25th August, with around 10,000 attending the Stadio Giovanni Chiggiato.[7][2] The Italians scored two goals, but two strikes by Marianne Space, plus a goal from Brenda Sempare, were enough for England to claim a narrow 3-2 victory and their first Mundialito title.[7][4][3][2] In an interview with Everybody Wants to Rule the World, Thomas reflected on the match being an exceptional victory for England, stating "Most of the Italian ladies, if not all of them, were playing semi-professionally. So, to actually beat Italy on their home turf was probably one of my best achievements."[4] While their side was ultimately defeated, the Italian crowd generally showed gratitude towards the visitors for putting on an entertaining clash.[7] England did not compete in the 1986 Mundialito, which saw Italy defeat an improved United States side 1-0 in the Final.[2][3] However, the team was invited back for the 1988 edition.[7][4][2] The Final saw a 1985 rematch, with England again beating Italy, this time 2-1, to earn their second Mundialito.[3][4][7][2] This marked the final Mundialito, in a time period where FIFA began preparations for a possible sanctioned Women's World Cup.[3][2][1]


As previously mentioned, very little media of the 1985 Mundialito Final originates from English sources.[7] Indeed, a few photos of England celebrating their win exist but these originated from team officials and friends of the team, eventually being shared with the National Football Museum by Gallimore in July 2023.[7] Meanwhile, the Italian television coverage was considerably obscure, with only a match summary helping to confirm a broadcast was made.[7] Whereas RAI's 1984 Mundialito Final footage has resurfaced in its entirety, no coverage from the 1985 edition is known to be publicly available.[3]



RAI coverage of the 1984 Mundialito Final between Italy and West Germany.

See Also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Sport in American History summarising several international competitions held prior to the 1991 FIFA Women's World Cup, including the Mundialito. Retrieved 19th Aug '23
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 RSSSF detailing the results of every Mundialito. Retrieved 19th Aug '23
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 Big Soccer summarising every Mundialito and noting television coverage for the 1984 Final. Retrieved 19th Aug '23
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 Everybody Wants to Rule the World summarising the Final and Thomas' comments regarding achieving an unlikely win. Retrieved 19th Aug '23
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Archived US Soccer summarising the United States' debut international tournament and the origins of the OOOSA chant. Retrieved 19th Aug '23
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Stateside Soccer summarising the first United States international match and the OOOSA chant. Retrieved 19th Aug '23
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 7.12 7.13 7.14 7.15 7.16 7.17 7.18 7.19 7.20 National Football Museum summarising the Final, providing a few photos of England's post-match celebrations, and confirming Italian television coverage of the event. Retrieved 19th Aug '23
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Tournament programme previewing the England team, including receiving special permission to travel following the Heysel disaster, and its previous record against Italy. Retrieved 19th Aug '23
  9. 9.0 9.1 RSSSF detailing the results of the 1984 European Competition for Women's Football. Retrieved 19th Aug '23