No other team has performed better in international tournaments than the Brazil national football team. The team has participated in every FIFA World Cup since the competition began in 1930. The team is also the only one in football history to win five World Cup titles.
The creation of the Brazilian Football Confederation set the stage for the advent of the Brazil national football team in 1914. The team drew all players in their first squad from either Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo. In their first ever football match, Brazil beat Exeter City 2-0.
The first major trophy for the Brazil national team came in 1919. Brazil won the South American Trophy, now known as Copa América, for the first time. However, the team’s performance on the global stage set it apart as arguably the best football team ever. Let’s dive deeper into their five FIFA World Cup victories.
World Cup Victories
1958 Brazil National Football Team
In 1958, Brazil got another chance to hunt down the trophy that had evaded them five times. The closest they came to a win was their defeat to Uruguay in the final of 1950.
Many quality players filled the lineup of the 1958 team. The popularity of the more experienced players overshadowed a figure that would prove instrumental in their World Cup victory – Pelé.
The Brazilian football team breezed through the group stages. They did not play Pelé until the last group game against the Soviet Union, where he failed to score. Nonetheless, Brazil won 2-0.
Pelé’s star began to shine in the quarter-finals as he scored the solitary winning goal against Wales. In the Semis, Brazil played against France. The teams were level for most of the first half. However, France’s squad decreased to ten men after their captain broke his leg. Substitutions were not allowed. Brazil beat France 5-2, with a hat trick from Pelé.
In the final against the hosts, Sweden took the lead in the fourth minute. However, Vavá equalized after five minutes and put Brazil in the lead in the 32nd minute. In the second half, Pelé extended their lead with a spectacular goal. To add insult to injury, they scored again halfway through the second half.
Sweden scored their second goal with ten minutes to go. However, Pelé increased their lead during injury time to cement the team’s 5-2 victory.
1962 Brazil National Football Team
In 1962, the Brazil national football team became the second after Italy to defend their World Cup title. Brazil cruised towards a second title amidst the tournament’s impressive comebacks and violent matches. No team could beat them in the group stages.
Unfortunately, in the team’s final group match against Spain, their star player, Pelé, tore a thigh muscle, which forced him to retire from the competition.
Most people thought that his aging teammates would not go the distance without his participation. Thankfully the remaining players were up to the challenge.
Brazil’s goal-scoring improved as it progressed to the final stages. They beat England 3-1 in the quarters, with Garrincha contributing two of the goals.
A meager 5,890 fans turned up to see Czechoslovakia face Yugoslavia. In an ironic twist, the same stadium hosted 76,594 fans who had come to see the Brazil national team footbll play Chile one day later. Brazil thrashed Chile 4-2 in their semi-final match.
In the final game against Czechoslovakia, a mistake by Josef Masopust gave Czechoslovakia the lead. However, Brazil mounted a comeback, leveling the scorecard and ending the game with a 4-2 victory. Brazil became the second country to defend its title after Italy in 1938.
1970 Brazil National Football Team
1970 was the ninth time Brazil took part in a FIFA World Cup. Pelé was the star of the Brazillian attack. He was involved in 14 of the team’s 19 goals in the tournament. However, all five of the team’s front five could have comfortably fit in the number 10 position.
Joao Saldanha, the former team coach, had decided to select a team to counter the physicality they faced in the 1966 World Cup. However, he exited the team to give way to Mario Zagallo. The recently retired winger prioritized players’ talent over physical capability. The result was one of the best teams to ever play in the World Cup.
The team was so focused on attacking that it had a significantly weaker defense, but they didn’t need a stronger one. Its soccer goalie, who people considered pedestrian, was easily defeated. Luckily, the opposing teams were too busy fending off attacks to pose any threat to Brazil’s backline.
The Brazil 1970 World Cup squad won all six games of the group stage. They went ahead to win all six games of the finals. The 1970 Brazil team averaged 3.2 goals per game—an enviable figure for a tournament as competitive as the World Cup. No team has beaten the record to date.
1994 Brazil National Football Team
Brazil was among the finalists contending to host the World Cup in 1994, but the USA beat them to it. Nevertheless, FIFA was determined to popularize the game in the USA, which had a tiny soccer culture. Despite the apparent lack of interest in soccer in the USA, the 1994 World Cup witnessed a record-breaking attendance.
The Brazil national team was drawn into group B, which produced two of the tournament’s semi-finalists. Leading the team’s attack were Romario and Bebeto, two legendary strikers who got a combined eight goals in the competition. Romario got the Golden ball at the end of the World Cup.
Brazil won two of its group stage games against Russia and Cameroon. They snagged a draw with Sweden to cement their place in the Round of 16.
The Brazil national football team met the hosts for the first time in the knockout stage. Despite the United States spirited fight, they lost 1-0 to Brazil in a 72nd-minute Bebeto Goal. Although the USA lost, many people consider the match to be the team’s best performance in the tournament.
Brazil beat the Netherlands 3-2 in the Quarters, and they dispatched Sweden in a hard-fought 1-0 win in the Semis.
Brazil’s most challenging match came in the final when they faced Italy. They went goalless for 120 minutes forcing a penalty shootout. Brazil was leading 3-2 before Italy’s Roberto Baggio’s turn to take his penalty came. He could have kept Italy in the game if he scored, but he hit it well over the crossbar handing Brazil the victory.
2002 Brazil National Football Team
2002 was the seventeenth installment of the FIFA World Cup and the first one hosted in Asia. Brazil was playing in the competition for the seventeenth time.
The Brazilian national football team became the second team to win all its group matches. They beat Turkey 2-1 and thrashed China 4-0 before asserting their dominance with a 5-2 win against Costa Rica. The group posed little threat to Brazil’s attacking brilliance.
In its Round of 16 match against Belgium, Brazil started the scoring with a superb volley courtesy of Rivaldo. The final goal came from the fantastic counter-attack led by Ronaldo in the eighty-seventh minute. Belgium had no reply for Brazil.
Brazil met England in the quarter-finals. England put Brazil on the back foot when they opened the scoring in the 23rd minute. However, Brazil clawed the goal back in added time before the half-time break. Within five minutes of the second half, Ronaldinho scored Brazil’s winning goal.
Despite Turkey’s lackluster performance in the group stage, it held out until the forty-ninth minute, when it conceded the game’s solitary goal.
Ronaldo’s phenomenal form was evident in Brazil’s final game against Germany. Despite holding out for as long as they could, Germany could not deny Ronaldo as he opened the scoring in the 67th minute. He scored his second in the 79th minute, securing Brazil’s fifth World Cup trophy.
Famous Brazil National Football Team Players
In this article, we have left out Pele, Romario, Tele Santana, Mane Garrincha, Djama Santos, Dunga, and Leonidas da Silva as we have covered them in separate artciels. Make sure you check out these articles too.
Ronaldo debuted for the Brazil national football team in the 1994 World Cup. At just 17 years, he was the youngest player on the squad.
His first international goal came in the 1998 FIFA World Cup game against the Netherlands. He scored a second in the penalty shootout that ensued. Ronaldo got the 1998 World Cup Golden Ball for his effort that helped Brazil get to the final.
Ronaldo also helped the Brazil national football team win the 2002 World Cup with Ronaldinho and Rivaldo.
Apart from the World Cup, Ronaldo also helped the nations football team win the 1997 and 1999 Copa América titles. In total, Ronaldo played 98 international matches for Brazil and scored 62 goals.
Many people fondly referred to Zico as the white Pelé. He was an extremely skillful playmaker and free-kick specialist.
Zico played 71 matches for the Brazil national football team and scored 48 goals. He ranks fifth among the team’s highest goalscorers. Despite participating in the 1978, 1982, and 1986 World Cups, Zico never won any of the titles. He came closest in the 1973 World Cup, where the team finished in third place.
Aside from the World Cup, Zico also participated in the 1979 Copa América. The Brazilian football team finished in third place.
Paulo Roberto Falcão
Falcao played 34 games for the Brazil national football team between 1976 and 1986. Falcao was in the 1982 FIFA World Cup. He played as a midfielder together with Zico, Éder, and Sócrates.
Falcao’s major achievement in Brazil was with the 1982 team. The team is arguably the best lineup Brazil ever played that did not win the World Cup. The team went as far as the quarter-finals, then lost a critical match to Italy. Falcao almost quit football but accepted an invitation to play in the 1986 World Cup. Falcao came in as a substitute in both his games.
Sócrates was a Brazillian midfielder for seven years between 1979 and 1986. He played 60 matches for the Brazil national football team and scored 22 goals.
He captained the team that went to the 1982 FIFA World Cup. He was joined in the midfield by Falcão, Zico, Cerezo, Éder, and Toninho. The 1982 team is among the best Brazilian national teams despite failing to win the World Cup. Sócrates also played in the 1986 World Cup, where they were eliminated in the quarter-finals.
Sócrates also appeared twice in the Copa América tournament, first in 1979 and lastly in 1983.
Jairzinho debuted for the Brazil national team in 1964 at 19 when he came off the bench to replace the injured Garrincha. He appeared in the 1966 World Cup as a left winger–a position that prevented him from performing at his best. He played on the left since Garrincha was in his preferred right winger position.
Jairzinho came into his element after Garrincha retired from international football, leaving him the right winger spot. He scored two of the six goals in the 1970 FIFA World Cup qualification matches. He scored in every game for Brazil in the 1970 World Cup triumph. In the 1974 World Cup, Jairzinho scored twice. By the end of his international career, he had scored 33 goals out of 81 games.
Ronaldinho began his national football career in the U-17 team that won the Junior World Championship. He also played in the U-20 team, reaching third place in the South American Youth Championship.
Ronaldinho scored a solitary goal in the 1999 Copa América. In the Confederations cup of the same year, he scored in all games except the final, winning the Golden Ball and Boot.
In the Summer Olympics of 2000, Ronaldinho scored nine goals in seven matches and helped secure a win in the Pre-Olympic tournament.
Ronaldinho’s crowning achievement was his participation in the 2002 World Cup, where he got two goals and three assists in five matches. All in all, Ronaldinho played 97 games on the Brazil national football team and scored 33 goals.
Gérson’s international career began in 2014 when he joined the Brazil U-20 team. The team participated in the South American Youth Football Championship in 2015, where Gérson played all matches.
His chance for a call-up to the senior team came in November 2019, but the coach failed to add him to the team. Gérson requested to be left out of the U-23 team in 2019, citing fatigue from his Club matches.
Gérson was called to play in the friendlies for the U-23 team against Serbia and Cape Verde in May 2021. He also made it to the 2020 Summer Olympics squad. Unfortunately, Marseille vetoed the decision. Gérson’s first call-up to the Selecao was in 2021 against Chile in a World Cup qualifier.
Nilton Santos played defender in the Brazil national football team between 1949 and 1962. He played in 75 games and scored three goals.
Nilton helped Brazil win the South American Championship for the third time. However, he didn’t go to the national team for a long time because the coach did not like him. Nilton rejoined the national football team in 1952 for the Pan American Championship.
Nilton was involved in all four wins in the qualifiers for the 1954 World Cup. However, Hungary knocked Brazil out in the quarter-finals. Nilton was also in the teams that won the 1958 and 1962 FIFA World Cup. The 1962 World Cup final was his 75th and last appearance on the national team.
Carlos Alberto Torres
Carlos played in the Brazil football team between 1964-1977. He was among the 44 players training for the 1966 World Cup but failed to make the final 22. They unexpectedly lost in the group stage, forcing João Saldanha to re-evaluate his tactics.
Saldanha had seen leadership potential in Carlos Alberto Torres, so he made him team captain. Carlos Alberto led the Selecao to a final victory in the 1970 World Cup. Carlos’ goal in the final against Italy is arguably one of the best in the tournament.
The 1970 FIFA World Cup winning team could not be complete without Rivellino. His incredible dribbling skills, ball control, and pinpoint pass made him an excellent attacking midfielder.
Rivellino scored three goals in the 1970 World Cup. One of the more memorable goals was a superb curling free-kick against Czechoslovakia. The goal earned him the nickname “Atomic Kick.” He would play for Brazil in two more World Cups, in 1974 and 1978. Brazil got fourth and third respectively.
Rivellino had one of the busiest international careers on the team. He earned 92 caps, in which he scored 26 goals.
Famous Managers Of The Brazil National Football Team
Zagallo belongs to an exclusive club of people who have won the FIFA World Cup as a player and manager twice. He was in the teams that won the 1958 and 1962 World Cups in Sweden and Chile. As impressive as his time as a player was, Zagallo built his legend as a coach. Zagallo was at the helm of the team’s 1970 World Cup win.
Zagallo started coaching the team when he was 38 years. He came in after João Saldanha was fired. Some of the most impressive performances in Brazil’s history followed. The team won three World Cups earning the Jules Rimet trophy in 1970.
Zagallo was still the Brazil national football team coach when they went to the 1974 World Cup. Unfortunately, the Netherlands denied them the chance to play in the final. Mario Zagalo left the Brazil national team and came back in 1994 as Carlos Alberto Parreira’s assistant. The duo led Brazil to its fourth FIFA World Cup win. Zagallo was also the head coach in the 1998 World Cup, where France defeated them in the final. Zagallo was Brazil’s caretaker for the 2002 World Cup-winning team.
Vicente gained worldwide recognition after leading Brazil to its first World Cup title in 1958.
While coaching Brazil, Vicente called the seventeen-year-old Pelé into the national team. Pelé was instrumental in the team’s World Cup victory after scoring two goals in their final game against Sweden. The game made history by becoming the first and only time a team from outside Europe won a World Cup hosted in Europe.
Vicente briefly left the Brazil national football team to manage Boca Juniors in 1961. However, he returned to coach Brazil towards the 1966 World Cup.
The tournament in England was one of Vicente’s low moments. After the team lost its first group game against Hungary, Vicente brought the injured Pelé to play in the last group game against Portugal. He made extensive team changes that failed to pay off. Brazil was knocked out during the group stage for the first time.
Luiz Felipe Scolari
Luiz Felipe Scolari’s playing career did not shine as bright as his coaching job. His first display of coaching brilliance came in the 2002 World Cup.
Scolari became manager when Brazil was about to play its five World Cup qualifiers matches. Brazil played Uruguay and lost its first match in a narrow 1-0 defeat. However, Scolari rallied his troops to sail through the qualifiers.
Before entering the tournament, Scolari made a bold decision to leave out Romario, a seasoned striker for the Selecao national football team. The 2002 World Cup saw many footballing giants fall, but Brazil forged ahead under Scolari’s leadership.
Brazil did not enter the competition as the favorite to win. Nonetheless, it won against Turkey, China, Costa Rica, Belgium, and England to secure a place in the finals. The Brazil national football team scored two unanswered goals against Germany in the final to win their fifth World Cup. Scolari returned to the team in 2012. He won the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2013 and entered the 2014 World Cup, where they lost 7-1 to Germany in the semi-final. Scolari resigned shortly after.
Carlos Alberto Parreira
Unlike most other coaches on this list, Carlos Alberto Parreira has never been a professional player. He used his education in physical education to coach several teams, working his way up to the Brazil national football team.
Parreira began as a physical trainer for the Brazil soccer team in the 1970 World Cup. He advanced his position in 1972 when he became Seleção’s assistant coach for the Munich Olympic Games. Parreira became Kuwait’s national team coach until 1982.
He came back in 1983 as Brazil’s head coach. Unfortunately, the fans were unhappy with his coaching style and asked the team to bring back Telê Santana, which it did.
Parreira would not return to coach Brazil until 1991. He brought Zagallo as his assistant. Parreira prioritized winning over entertaining play and delivered the World Cup in 1994. He left the team but accepted an invitation to coach again in 2002. During his tutelage, the team qualified for the World Cup, the America Cup, and the 2005 Confederations cup.
Never Missed A World Cup
The Brazil football team has gone through its fair share of ups and downs. One thing that rarely changes is the team’s consistent performance in international tournaments. In the World Cup, for instance, the team has the most wins despite not having won the trophy for more than twenty years.
The exciting style of play makes Brazil a joy to watch every time they hit the pitch. Their consistent performance comes from their ability to create legendary players. Football fans will remember the likes of Pele, Ronaldo, Rivaldo, and Ronaldinho.
The Brazil soccer team performances are not confined to the World Cup, however. The Selecao has nine Copa América titles and four FIFA Confederations Cup victories.
Brazil National Football Team Wins
World Cups – 5 Wins (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002)
Copa América – 7 Wins (1919, 1922, 1949, 1989, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2007, 2019)
Panamerican Championship – 2 Wins – (1952, 1956)
FIFA Confederations Cup – 4 Wins (1997, 2005, 2009, 2013)
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!