Crowning glory for magnificent Brazil

Crowning glory for magnificent Brazil

Brazil captain Carlos Alberto with the Jules Rimet Cup

In 1966, Pele and Brazil had cried foul and felt they were denied after teams employed rough tactics against them and referees were turning a blind eye.

England used Brazil’s early exit to their advantage and claimed what would be their only World Cup triumph.

Four years later, sweltering Mexico was the setting for the ninth edition of the quadrennial event and Pele and co had reconciled and were raring to go. With a team considered one of the greatest assembled, Brazil went on to win their third World Cup in terrific style.

The impressive skipper Carlos Alberto was rock solid at the back, while Pele and Jairzinho were expectedly running amok at the other end of the pitch. But it definitely wasn’t easy against the defending champions who arrived with a largely similar squad to the previous tournament.

West Germany were also in the fray with the prolific Bayern Munich striker Gerd Muller and the diminutive Uwe Seeler forming a fabulous strike partnership.

Clash of former champions was the highlight of the group stages where Brazil edged out England 1-0. But what stood out the most was Gordon Banks’ superhuman save to deny Pele. The ball seemed destined for the bottom corner but Banks flew across his goal and pushed the ball over the post at full stretch.

But with Banks pulling out a day before their quarterfinal, England trudged back home after being overpowered 3-2 by the German trio of Franz Beckenbauer, Muller and Seeler.

Brazil, meanwhile, were going great guns and looked at a different level when compared to other competitors and faced Italy in the final. Playing superb football, Brazil brushed aside the Azzurri 4-1 in what was eventually a fitting farewell for Pele.

Final result: Brazil: 4 bt Italy: 1.