History of the World Cup Soccer Championships 1970 Brazil v. Germany

About the history of the 1970 World Cup Championships for soccer or football ending with Brazil v. Germany.


In 1970, strong lobbying characterized the competition among potential hosts. Mexico and Argentina were the strongest contenders and Mexico won. Given the Mexican summer heat and the respiratory difficulties common at 7,000', it was a decision many of the players, especially the Europeans, bitterly resented. The highlight of the qualifying games was the contest of champions, England against Brazil. Team manager Alf Ramsey's 1966 reference to Argentine players as "animals" had festered into Latin hatred of England. Now, on the eve of the match, Mexicans surrounded the English players' hotel and kept up a night-long din to deny the English their rest. The English struggled valiantly in the match, fighting the 98 deg. heat and the Brazilians. Ludicrously, this match like many others started at noon, putting the demands of European television above the comfort and health of the players. The game featured an admirable defense which contained Pele, but ultimately let the Brazilians score the single point.

In the quarter-finals, the delirious fans urged on the home team, Mexico, against Italy. But Italy's Riva, dominating the 2nd half, scored 2 of his team's 4. Mexico was unable to muster more than one. The Uruguay-Russia match was closer, ending 1-0 in favor of the Soviet Union. The Brazil-Peru confrontation was characterized by risk-taking on both sides, but Brazil's confident coordination was reflected in the score: Brazil 4, Peru 2. Finally, England--minus their star goalkeeper Gordon Banks--tired 1st and in overtime gave up their game to West Germany, 3-2.

A game between Brazil and Uruguay was the 1st part of the semifinal competition. The underdog Uruguayans made a startling 1st goal, shot by Cubilla at an extreme angle. It took Brazil some time to equalize with Clodoaldo parlaying Tostado's pass into a goal. The Uruguayans were playing rough, more so in the 2nd half when Brazil began to take control. Tostado fed Jairzinho for Brazil's 2nd, and a Pele-Rivelino combination made it 3. The final score stood at Brazil 3, Uruguay 1.

The other semifinal pitted Italy against West Germany. The Germans began the match slowly, roused not so much by a goal by Italy's Boninsegna, but by the fact that the Italians then turned cautious. This gave Germany the opportunity to dominate the midfield and launch repeated attacks. Even so, it took time for Germany to tie up the game. It was in extra time that the game turned into, as a columnist put it, a "basketball" tourney. A foul on Franz Beckenbaur put his arm in a sling and gave Italy the edge. Caution thrown to the wind, both sides frantically scored. The game which had started so placidly ended with 4 for Italy, 3 for West Germany.

In the final, Brazil's defense was admittedly not the best, but their magnificent offense was. Understandably, the Italians, while proud of their defense, were nervous going in. Pele gave them cause by making an awesome leap which beat out the Italian defense and headed in the 1st goal. The Italians were able to respond when an error by Clodoaldo sent goalkeeper Felix scrambling out of the goal area in a futile effort to regain control of the ball. Instead, Boninsegna passed him by and shot into an empty goal. But the Italians failed to press their attack. In the 2nd half, Brazil's Gerson let fly a low, successful kick. A 3rd Brazilian point was earned by Jairzinho on a pass from Pele. And a 4th goal was forthcoming just minutes before the end, Jairzinho to Pele to Carlos Alberto. The 4-1 victory was Brazil's 3rd, and so the Cup went to them. The daring attacks, the willingness to allow artistry within the framework of a solid team, had won a decisive victory over the trend toward defensive, workmanlike, and often boring soccer.

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