First World Cup to be broadcast to the whole world, the 1970 World Cup tournament was full of skillful and attacking plays, mainly from Brazil, with great players like Pelé, Tostão, Rivelino, Jairzinho, and Gerson.
Brazil made a glorious exhibition of attacking football from the first match to the final. At the same time, thousands watched, spellbound, including the Mexican hosts, in awe of the offensive style employed by the team led by Mario Zagallo.
1970 World Cup In Mexico
Mexico was hosting the World Cup for the first time, and the match schedule had to be adapted to the European television timetables, which resulted in games being played in the hottest times. Indeed, the intense heat was a matter of concern for most players.
On the plus side, the first World Cup allowed two substitutions per team. In addition, yellow and red cards were introduced to emphasize warnings given by referees to players.
German striker Gerd Müller also stood out, finishing as the tournament’s top scorer with the impressive mark of ten goals. He scored against Morocco and got a hat-trick against Bulgaria and another against Peru.
1970 World Cup Draw
A major concern of the European (and other) finalists was avoiding matches scheduled for midday in Mexico City and other venues due to the sudden increase in worldwide television coverage. At the Maria Isabel Sheraton Hotel, four groups were drawn from geographical “sections” rather than seeds.
After the Soviet Union, the hosts finished second in their group on goal average. Brazil, who won the title brilliantly, was drawn into a first-round group with defending champions England.
Rematch Of 1966
Gerd Müller scored the winning goal in the 1970 World Cup quarter-final, eliminating England in extra time. The game was a rematch of the 1966 World Cup final and one of the greats in World Cup history, as well as an example of German perseverance. The Germans were trailing 2-0 for a little over twenty minutes from time.
However, Franz Beckenbauer and Uwe Seeler equalized and took the match into extra time. Nonetheless, before Müller scored Germany’s winning goal, ironically, England had a Geoff Hurst goal disallowed, the player who had scored the controversial goal in the 1966 World Cup final.
Müller’s winning goal gave West Germany their first victory over England in an official match.
The other match that made history was the semi-final between Italy and Germany. The game finished tied 1-1 after Karl-Heinz Schnellinger scored in the last minute of normal time to take the match into extra time. Five goals were scored in extra-time, the highest number ever recorded, with Gerd Müller getting two.
However, the Italians scored three times and guaranteed their place in the final. For the Germans, the image of their captain Franz Beckenbauer, playing with a dislocated shoulder until the end of the match, has been embedded in their minds.
The Genius At The 1970 World Cup
After Brazil’s fiasco in England four years earlier, which could have resulted from Pelé being the target of vicious and violent tackles, some questioned whether he should play. He did consider not playing in the 1970 World Cup.
However, he ended up caving and turned into the core foundation of the team, which for many people, would not be easily beaten even today.
The 4-1 victory over Italy in the final gave Brazil the right to take the Jules Rimet trophy home for good. Mexicans and viewers worldwide watched spellbound as the yellow and green jersey became an eternal football magic icon.
There were countless examples of his superior genius and skill with a ball: the perfect header into the bottom corner of Gordon Banks’ goal, making the English goalkeeper make what is considered the best save of all times; the attempt from the halfway line against the Czechoslovakian goal, which turned into a near miss; the dummy in the semi-final against Uruguay, when he let the ball run past him, leaving keeper Mazurkiewcz stranded, then ran past the Uruguayan and shot narrowly wide; and let us not forget his four goals in the tournament, including one in the final against Italy.
Other Brazilian Stars
However, it would be unfair to attribute all of the brilliance shown by Brazil in Mexico just to Pelé. The team made up by Félix; Carlos Alberto Torres, Brito, Piazza and Everaldo; Gerson and Clodoaldo; Pelé, Jairzinho, Tostão and Rivelino is very much in the memory of football lovers.
The last goal Brazil scored in the 1970 World Cup, the fourth against Italy, shows how well they played together. Seven players were involved in the move that ended with a perfect pass from Pelé to Captain Carlos Alberto Torres, who hammered a shot into the corner of the Italian goal.
In all, they won six out of six and scored 19 goals, seven by Jairzinho, who went down in history as the only player to have scored in all World Cup matches.
Rhett is an Australian-born, globe trotter who is a UEFA ‘A’ Licence Soccer Coach. With his family, he has traveled and coached soccer in more than 30 countries, while attending World Cups, European Championships, and some of the biggest local derbies in the world!