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.
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.
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.
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