With a depression of biblical proportions descending on Brazil in the the wake of their 7-1 humiliation at the hands of the Germans, we take a look back at some of the great Brazilian victories of the past.
3. Brazil 3-1 Argentina
When: 1982 World Cup, Second Group Stage.
Where: Estadio Sarria, Barcelona, Spain.
Many consider Brazil’s heartbreaking 1982 defeat at the hands of the Italians the greatest World Cup game of all time. It is also characterised as the death of footballing innocence and the ushering in of an era of tactics, organisation and athleticism to the detriment of free flowing attacking play.
Regardless of whether you buy into that hyperbole there is no denying that the 1982 Brazilian team was the best team to never win the World Cup The comprehensive victory over Argentina is representative of the talent the squad possesed.
The Argentinian side featured a 21-year-old Diego Maradona in his first World Cup, but he did not enjoy a happy afternoon;getting red carded for lashing out late in the game.
With Zico, Sócrates, Falcao, and Eder the Brazilians had vast attacking talent in the middle of the pitch. Argentina had no answer to Brazil’s creativity who took an early lead after a thunderous Eder free kick that hit the bar and Zico scored on the rebound.
The game stayed at 1-0 for a long period in which Argentina pressed for an equalizer and Maradona had a good shout for a penalty turned down. However, Brazil were better throughout and added two more goals with Serginho heading home after a flowing move and Junior finishing smartly for Brazil’s third. Argentina scored a late consolation through Diaz.
2. Brazil 3-2 The Netherlands
When: 1994 World Cup Quarter Final,
Where: Cotton Bowl, Dallas, USA
The Brazilian team for USA 94 possessed some excellent players and, more importantly, for a success hungry Brazilian public, took home the trophy for the first time since 1970.
They were coached by Carlos Alberto Parreira and were anchored by captain and midfield general Dunga.
Romario and Bebeto formed a brilliant attacking partnership scoring 5 goals and 3 goals respectively.
They were very solid at the back conceding only 3 goals in the entire tournament, 2 of them in this quarter final game against the Netherlands.
After an uneventful first half the game caught fire in the 53rd minute when Brazil opened the scoring with Romario expertly finishing a pin point Bebeto cross.
Bebeto doubled the advantage by calmly rounding Dutch keeper Ed de Goey. It was at this moment that he did the legendary goal celebration to pretending to rock a baby.
It clearly didn’t help the Brazilian concentration though as just one minute later Dennis Bergkamp pulled one back with a sublime finish from a tight angle before Aron Winter levelled matters heading home from a corner in the 76th minute.
With just 10 minutes remaining Brazil were awarded a free kick 35 yards out, up stepped right back Branco to hit a spectacular shot off the outside of his left boot that nestled in the bottom corner á la Roberto Carlos. Brazil held on for the victory and continued their march to the final.
3. Brazil 4-1 Italy
When: World Cup Final 1970
Where: Azteca Stadium, Mexico City, Mexico.
This is the only place to start. The Brazil team of the 1970, was the embodiment of footballing excellence and is cast indelibly in footballing consciousness as the greatest of all time. In the final they were up against a stereotypical hard working defensive Italian side.
Pele, playing in has last World Cup opened the scoring after 18 minutes with a well taken header. The Italians played with typical doggedness and latched onto a Brazilian mistake for an equalizer before half time.
What happened in the second half is the stuff of footballing legend as the greatest team of all time delivered a spellbinding display of attacking football on the ultimate stage.
The Italians were simply unable to resist the onslaught and succumbed to three second half goals.
Carlos Alberto’s goal, the final of the game, was an epic played out under the Mexican sun.
After a mesmeric passing move Pele appears to give the ball away stupidly in an attacking position only for Alberto to come in from off screen with a sublime finish. Poetry in motion.
Dan O’Mahony, Pundit Arena.