World Cup 1970 Mexico Brazil forever and Titanic struggles

Brazilian forward Jairzinho is carried by fans after Brazil defeated Italy 4-1 in the World Cup final on 21 June 1970 in Mexico City. It is Brazil's third World title after the first two won in 1958 in Sweden and 1962 in Chile. Photo: AFP
The 1970 World Cup, played in intense heat and at altitude on the plateaux of Mexico was dominated by one of the greatest national football teams ever to take the field.

For the first time, millions of people all over the world were able to watch the competition on colour television, and it was Brazil, led by the extraordinary Pele, who will remain scorched on the minds of viewers and spectators alike.

Brazil, led by their mythical coach Mario “Lobo” Zagallo, scored 19 goals in six matches and ended the tournament undefeated.

West German forward Gerhard Müller (R) celebrates after scoring the winning goal in the extra time period past English goalkeeper Peter Bonetti (L) in the World Cup quarterfinal soccer match against England on 14 June 1970 in Leon. West Germany beat England 3-2 to advance to the semifinals. (At the end of regulation time, the score was tied at 2). Photo: AFP
Titanic struggles

The first great clash of the tournament came when Brazil and England met at the group stage, with Brazil narrowly getting the better of Bobby Moore’s team 1-0 in a match that also featured what is still regarded as one of the greatest saves of all time when Gordon Banks flicked away Pele’s close range header.

The quarter-finals threw up four European teams and four Latin American teams, with one of the most intriguing matches being England versus West Germany, a repeat of the 1966 final.

Brazilian forward Pele (top) celebrates with his teammates (from L) Tostao, Carlos Alberto and Jairzinho during the World Cup final against Italy on 21 June 1970 in Mexico City. Brazil won 4-1 to capture its third World title after winning in 1958 in Sweden and in 1962 in Chile. Photo: AFP

With only half an hour to play, England had a two-goal lead and looked to be coasting into the semi-finals, but West Germany are never beaten until the final whistle and sure enough they fought back from the dead to sneak a 3-2 win in extra-time.

Meanwhile, in the South American “local derby”, Brazil finally overcame Peru’s spirited challenge.

In the semi-finals, Italy and Germany spent the first 90 minutes of their game standing off each other like wary tigers, with Karlheinz Schnellinger equalising in injury time after Boninsegna had opened for the Italians in the 8th minute.

Tired legs and high emotion combined to provide a goal feast in extra-time as the ball went into the net five times, with Italy getting the last word to win an epic encounter 4-3.

Brazil, meanwhile, wiped clean memories of their defeat to Uruguay at the 1950 World Cup final by putting three goals past their South American rivals after shipping a goal early on.

Brazilian national soccer team captain and defender Carlos Alberto smiles as he holds aloft the Jules Rimet Cup after Brazil defeated Italy 4-1 in the World Cup final 21 June 1970 in Mexico City. It is Brazil's third World title (1958, Sweden; 1962, Chile). Photo: AFP

Sublime

The Brazilians arrived in the final at the summit of their art, and their match against Italy turned into a carnival of all the best that the game has to offer.

The poor Italians were simply overwhelmed as Tostao, Gerson, Pele, Jairzinho, Rivelino and the rest gave the sporting world a lesson in football.

Brazil won easily, with the crowning moment coming when Pele slipped the ball to his right into the path of charging captain Alberto Carlos to shoot joyously past the Italian defence to make the final score 4-1.

This was Brazil’s third World Cup triumph, and as a recognition of their achievements they were allowed to take the famous Jules Rimet trophy home for good.

Source: Prothom Alo

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