POST TIME: 9 June, 2018 00:00 00 AM
World Cup Rewind
Great Brazilian Victory
Unforgettable matches-VI

Great Brazilian Victory

Pele celebrates with Jairzinho after winning the Jules Rimet Trophy (original name of the World Cup) in 1970. FIFA PHOTO

The 1970 Brazil team, featuring all-time legends of the game such as Pele, Jairzinho, Tostao, and Carlos Alberto, all in their prime, is considered one of the best international teams ever. Their performance in the 1970 tournament is, accordingly, considered the most dominant performance by one team in a World Cup tournament.

Having reached the final through completely contrasting strategies, the match was billed as a battle between attack and defense (though a different match between Brazil and Italy would make this oversimplified characterization even more obvious), with the flair-filled, creative forces of Brazil confronted by the defensive, rigid Italians.

Brazil took the lead in the 18th through a header from Pele, who would set up two more goals in the match. Unable to build upon their lead, the Brazilians were pegged back 8 minutes form the halftime whistle, when Roberto Boninsegna, who had played a crucial role in Italy's semifinal victory over West Germany, pounced on a mistake to bring Italy level. The teams went in at halftime on level terms. Brazil came out with ferocious purpose in the second half, and their second half performance is a shining example of positive, attack-minded football grinding down even the most famously stubborn of defenses.

Gérson got the party started with a hard drive into the net, and then provided a cross for Pele to provide a headed assist for an onrushing Jairzinho to extend Brazil's lead to 3-1. With his goal, which he almost missed but eventually scuffed in, Jairzinho became only the second player in history to score in all of his team's games at a World Cup tournament. Since he played in more games than Alcides Ghiggia, the other player to achieve this feat, Jairzinho holds the (joint, with Ronaldo) record of scoring in the most matches in a single edition of the World Cup.

Brazil's fourth goal in the game, finished by Carlos Alberto after an intricate passing move featuring 8 of the 10 outfield players, is considered one of the best goals ever scored. The move started deep in the left side of the Brazilian half, with the ball eventually reaching Pele on the right side of the Italian penalty area, through―in that order―Tostao, Brito, Clodoaldo, Pele himself, Gérson, Clodoaldo again, this time toying with the Italians by beating four players in his own half before passing the ball, and Jairzinho, who crossed the ball from the left wing to Pele. Pele, being aware of the attacking run made by the full-back Carlos Alberto, held the ball up for a moment, before releasing a perfectly weighted pass through the Italian defense and onto the right foot of Alberto, who smashed it in.

With this victory, Brazil became the only three-time winners of the Jules Rimet Trophy (original name of the World Cup), edging fellow two-time winners Uruguay and Italy.