The 1972 World Cup was hosted in the Papal States in June and July 1972. The games were part of the traditional rotation between Europe and the Western Hemisphere in hosting the Cup. The Cup was surprising as it featured the rapid defeat of most traditional powers (i.e. Chile, Mexico, France, etc.) and featured the advancement of Ireland and the host Papal States to the finals in Rome, thus pitting two teams that had never won a World Cup against one another. Ireland won the Final 4-2, thus establishing it as a soccer powerhouse that would go on to win the Cup twice again (1992 and 2008). This Cup is regarded as establishing Argentina's return to prominence, as they advanced beyond the quarterfinals for the first time since 1960, placing third to much fanfare. Six years after the World Cup, the Papal States were unified with Sicily, Calabria and Sardinia to form Italy.

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