Magical Brazilians notch historic third triumph

Magical Brazilians notch historic third triumph

The first World Cup finals to be televised live in colour to a global audience have a special place in the sport's history. It is regarded as the best tournament of all.

Despite the high altitude at which most matches were played and many noon kick-offs in the searing heat of the day to suit European TV schedules, many of the games were of the highest quality.

Brazil fielded the greatest side the world has ever seen and not one player from any of the 16 teams was sent off in the entire competition.

Holders England and favourites Brazil were drawn to play in the same opening round group and produced a classic match in Guadalajara. Brazil won 1-0 with a goal from Jairzinho, who scored in every match his side played.

Pele was denied a certain goal when Gordon Banks made what is regarded as the best save of all time when he dived full length across his goal to turn a downward header up and over his bar.

Many expected the teams to meet again in the final as England had a better side than the one which won the World Cup in 1966. Brazil, with Pele at the peak of his powers, were simply awesome. But England were derailed in the quarterfinals by West Germany, who won 3-2. Hosts Mexico also went out in the quarterfinals. They were beaten by Italy, who went on to meet Brazil in the final after a classic 4-3 win over West Germany in their semi.

As both Brazil and Italy had won the World Cup twice before, the winners were sure to take permanent possession of the Jules Rimet trophy. Goals from Pele, Gerson, Jairzinho and Carlos Alberto meant the trophy returned to Rio, where it was later stolen and never recovered.

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