Cabrini was called up to Italy’s being part of the list of 20 players to participate in the 1978 FIFA World Cup despite being uncapped (he however, had 23 caps for junior teams). He earned his first cap on 2 June 1978, in Italy’s opening game against France, which ended in a 2–1 win to the “Azzurri”; Italy went on to finish the tournament in fourth place, and Cabrini was named the Best Young Player of the Tournament. He soon became an international regular for the next 9 years; he participated as a starter in all of Italy’s games in 3 consecutive World Cups: in 1978, 1982 and 1986. Overall, Cabrini played 18 games during World Cup final stages, winning the 1982 edition despite missing a penalty in the final against West Germany. He also represented Italy at Euro 1980 as a starter on home soil, finishing the tournament in fourth place, after reaching the semi-finals. Cabrini was part of the legendary 1982 World Cup-winning team that included goalkeeper Dino Zoff, Gaetano Scirea, Giuseppe Bergomi, Claudio Gentile in defense, Marco Tardelli and Bruno Conti in midfield, and Cabrini’s Juventus team mate Paolo Rossi in attack. Cabrini gave a strong performance throughout the tournament, helping to lead his country to win the title, keeping two clean sheets throughout the tournament, but also scoring the crucial match-winning goal in Italy’s 2–1 second round win over defending champions Argentina. In total, he earned 73 caps for his country and scored 9 goals (an Italy international record for a defender), ending his career with the Azzurri in October 1987, earning his final appearance on 17 October 1987, in a 0–0 draw against Switzerland. He also captained the national side 10 times.