The Brazil 1970 World Cup squad were worthy winners of the tournament. The only match in which Brazil didn’t score three or four goals was against England.
It was a brilliant approach play that led to many of these goals. For the six matches, the 1970 Brazil team scored 19 goals, and the opposition scored eight.
It was said that the defense was vulnerable. Still, a team that throws its players into attack must sometimes weaken its defensive shield. In any case, there were several games in which the Brazilian defenders played exceptionally well.
Mexico In Thrall To Brazilians Beautiful Game
The ninth FIFA World Cup became a major TV spectacle, and to fit in with television company requests, some matches kicked off at 12 noon. This was an unpopular decision with many players and managers because of the intense heat in Mexico at that time of day.
There was none of the violence throughout the tournament that had plagued the two previous competitions. The 1970 FIFA World Cup passed without a single player being sent off, equalling the 1950 FIFA World Cup record. For the first time substitutes were allowed, as well as yellow and red cards being introduced.
Pele returned after vowing never to play in another FIFA World Cup and Brazil won the Jules Rimet trophy outright with a near-perfect team including Clodoaldo, Gerson, Rivelino, Tostao, Jairzinho, Pele and Carlos Alberto.
In the final at Mexico City’s Aztec Stadium, Brazil dazzled and danced to a memorable 4-1 win over Italy, with Jairzinho becoming the only player to have scored in every match. Italy had beaten West Germany 4-3 in an astonishing semi-final, the only match in FIFA World Cup history to have produced five goals in extra time.
Opening Match Of The Tournament
Czechoslovakia, in the first match, made many scoring openings. Still, in the end, they lost by the margin of 4-1, mainly due to the remarkable individual skill of the Brazilian forwards, who together formed a versatile and flexible striking force.
Much of the fine attacking play of the Brazil 1970 World Cup squad is constructed on simple but deftly performed ‘wall-passes’ between two or more players or on long and accurate lobs, which are then skilfully and quickly controlled and passed on to a third player who is running into a shooting position.
But each Brazilian player could also strike on their own. Fast muscle is fundamental to shooting power. The main ingredients of brutal shooting are the surface area of contact with the ball and the speed of the foot at the moment of impact. The Brazilians are gifted with this muscle quality and, through long practice, have become skillful in placing and swerving shots.
Though the Czechoslovakian team started well, using good technical football, their rhythm slowed down as the game went on. Retaining defensive play became a questionable tactic against Brazilian forwards renowned for their capacity for an individual attack.
Against World Champions England
Brazil’s second match, against England, was one of the outstanding games of the World Cup finals. Each team showed respect for the other.
Throughout the game, England defended resolutely, and goalkeeper Gordon Banks made one fantastic save from a Pele header.
England was under severe pressure when the Brazil 1970 World Cup squad scored the only goal. With a weaving dribble, Tostao lobbed the ball to Pele, who, momentarily controlling the ball, drew two English defenders, including Cooper, and then coolly stroked the ball into the path of Jairzinho, whose driving shot proved impossible to stop.
England continually attacked the Brazilian goal, and several long high centers put the goalkeeper and other defenders in difficulty. Still, unfortunately for England, two or three good chances to equalize were wasted. On the whole, the play was fair and the referee managed the game well, despite some clashes in the general play with the desire to win possession.
Lucky Against Romania
The performance of the Brazil team against Romania was its worst at the 1970 World Cup finals. Despite scoring two goals in the first 20 minutes, they lost control of the game after that.
The injury to Gerson probably disrupted their teamwork. It is Romanians who deserve full credit for never giving up.
Consequently, they proved to be formidable opponents. In fact, if it had not been for inaccurate and sometimes unlucky shooting, they might have shaken Brazil far more than they did.
The Brazil 1970 World Cup squad used a four-person zone defense in all games, working in line with the two inner defenders covering each other. These four defenders used tactics to slow down opponents as they attacked, waiting for opportunities to intercept or tackle as the ball was inter-passed.
Sometimes these tactics became confused against speedy attacks. The Brazilian goalkeeper, Felix, looked insecure on occasions, but the defenders in front of him were the cause of some of his problems. The flank defenders occasionally overlapped by running forward into attacking positions down the touchline.
Knock Out Matches For The Brazil 1970 World Cup Squad
The quarter-final against Peru was a match of continuous attacks at each end of the soccer field. The general play of Peru was similar to that of Brazil, but their attacks often involved close passing plays on the perimeter of the penalty area.
Chances to squeeze the ball through a packed defense by such tactics are lost by the slightest wrong touch or by an intercepting body or foot. Also, because play cannot, under these conditions, be opened up on the flanks, the opposing defense can concentrate its forces and blunt such attempts at penetration.
Peru dominated the game for 20 minutes at the end of the first half and got on top again for a short period in the second half. Eventually, however, the Brazilian attack won the day against talented opponents. Jairzinho was held on the right flank very effectively, yet, towards the end of the game, he was able to score when he shifted his position to the left flank.
Brazil 1970 World Cup Squad Best Football
The semi-final match at Guadalajara between Brazil and Uruguay produced some of the best football in any World Cup soccer tournament. The Uruguayans opened without fear of Brazil’s reputation and imposed their own pace and rhythm on the game early in the first half.
But again, they seemed to lack goal-scoring forwards, and throughout this tournament, they missed the injured Rocha sadly. The first goal scored by Cubilla in the eighteenth minute was more the result of mistakes by the Brazilian defense than anything else.
At this point, Brazil 1970 World Cup squad took over and accelerated the game’s pace. Clodoaldo equalized in the last minute of the first half from a pass by Tostao, which took the Uruguayan defenders by surprise.
This gave the Brazil team a psychological uplift in their play. In the second half, the team developed combinations of inter-passing, which amazed even those experts who had seen many of the great Brazilian performances of the past.
Some of the first-time-passing sequences in movements toward the goal were truly remarkable. The second goal was scored in the seventy-sixth minute by Jairzinho, and from then on, Uruguay threw everything into attack, which exposed their defense all the more and made possible the Brazilian goal two minutes from time.
Ladislao Mazurkiewicz, the Uruguayan goalkeeper, is considered the equal of Gordon Banks, England’s great goalkeeper, and he well justified that estimation of him in this tournament and this game. He is athletically daring in cutting off high centers and exceptionally accurate in throwing the ball to start a new attack from the defense.
The flair for innovation when team performance is running high is well illustrated by two movements from Pele late in the game. After intercepting Mazurkiewiez’s long throw, he quickly volleyed a low shot over the goalkeeper’s head without trying to control the ball.
Then he chased after a loose pass with Mazurkiewiez running out of goal to intercept. Pele’s feint took the goalkeeper to the left while the ball ran on, and then Pele veered round and, with a spin turn, placed a shot through the recovering fullbacks, which narrowly missed the post. Both movements were audaciously executed and called for immense skill, timing, judgment, and speed.
The Uruguayans played exceptionally well, forcing the best out of every Brazilian player. Felix made a miraculous point-blank save from Cubilla. Alberto, Brito, Piazzo, and Everaldo defended supremely well, occasionally with desperation.
Gerson and Clodoaldo wove patterns of astonishing intricacy in the middle of the field and cleverly prompted the spearhead forwards. Jair and Tostao produced flashes of spectacular dribbling. Rivelino used the extraordinary feint play of his left foot over the ball to significant effect and repeatedly threatened with his powerful shooting power.
Brazil In Final
But above all, the Brazil 1970 World Cup squad played well as a team to produce some wonderfully sustained football. In the final match against Italy, Brazil had complete confidence in its tactical and technical superiority and began to express themselves freely.
On the other hand, Italy seemed a little afraid to carry on with the highly motivated attacking play they had displayed in their brilliant encounter with Germany in the semi-final.
Gerson did not seem to be marked by anyone in their final line of defense because they kept to their customary man-to-man marking. Carlos Alberto made attacking approaches down the right wing unimpeded when Jairzinho and Facchetti moved over to the left.
Throughout the game, Gerson and Carlos Alberto were unmarked, which tactically contributed much to Italy’s downfall.
For the first 15 minutes, the Italian team held the Brazilian pressure and were somewhat unlucky not to score from two powerful long-distance shots by Riva and Domenghini. However, in the seventeenth minute, from a center by Rivelino, Pele evaded his opponent and, with perfect timing, jumped high to head the ball powerfully downwards inside de post.
In another mix-up between Felix, Brito and Riva, Boninsegna recovered to shoot the ball into an empty net after an overconfident play by Clodoaldo.
With a long shot from the edge of the penalty area, Gerson scored a fine second goal in the 65th minute. Jairzinho scored from close range after Pele headed a free kick back across the goal.
From that point on, the Brazilians were on an unstoppable run, and the goal was one of the tournament’s best.
Clodoaldo beat five opponents in tight space in midfield and pushed the ball ahead to Jairzinho, who had crossed over from the right flank. Jairzinho cut inside Facchetti and passed to Pele, who held the ball calmly, then feinted to make a break and mesmerized three defenders, who moved to bar his way to the goal.
Rather than strike the ball, he stroked it to Carlos Alberto, who, running in at great speed on the right flank, shot the ball across Albertosi into the side netting.
Hordes of Brazilian fans flooded onto the soccer field at the end of the game to hail their heroes and express their joy, not just at winning the trophy for the third time but also at how it was won.
Though this demonstration delayed the presentation ceremony, the interruption was accepted good-humouredly by officials, who seemed to feel, with everyone present, that such an outburst was well justified and would, in any case, have been impossible to contain.
Carlos Alberto, the “Carioca” captain, stepped up to receive the Jules Rimet trophy, which would remain forever in Brazilian hands. Pele, in tears, was carried triumphantly on his teammates’ shoulders. He had not only won his third FIFA World Cup winner’s medal but also played his last match in a FIFA World Cup.
Brazil Carry Off Their Third Victory
There were three big winners in the 1970 FIFA World Cup: the Brazilians naturally, and their king, Pele, victors for the third time after 1958 and 1962 but also football itself, with many games and individual feats entering football legend.
Those who had been dissatisfied with the standard of play during the 1966 FIFA World Cup had nothing to complain about four years later in Mexico, where “the beautiful game” was really seen in all its glory.
Three of the game’s all-time greatest matches were played to huge and rapturous crowds: England vs. Brazil, England vs. West Germany, and a simply sensational semi-final between Italy and West Germany. And nobody will ever forget Pele and his glorious attempt to lob the Czech goalkeeper Viktor from 50 meters out!
Then, to top things off, the Brazilians, the tournament’s most spectacular team, with their unforgettable front-line of Jairzinho, Tostao, Pelé and Rivelino, ran out winners.
For this ninth FIFA World Cup, the number of participating nations was again at a new high, with 75 teams entering the qualifying rounds. And many nations well-grounded in FIFA World Cup experience did not make it past the qualifiers, including Portugal, Hungary, France, Spain, and even Argentina.
Brazil 1970 World Cup Squad Game Time
- Carlos Alberto (6 matches) captain
- Jairzinho (6 matches)
- Piazza (6 matches)
- Fontana (1 match)
- Gerson (4 matches)
- Paulo Cezar (2 matches)
- Pele (6 matches)
- Felix (6 matches)
- Brito (6 matches)
- Clodoaldo (6 matches)
- Edu (1 match)
- Tostao (6 matches)
- Everaldo (5 matches)
- Martin (1 match)
- Rivelino (5 matches)
- Paulo Cezar (2 matches)
- Marco Antonio (not used)
- Ado (not used)
- Roberto (not used)
- Baldocchi (not used)
- Joel (not used)
- Dario (not used)
- Ze Maria (not used)
- Leao (not used)
Head coach: Mario Zagallo
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!