Get the Sport24 daily newsletter delivered to your Inbox!

Mexico 1970

2010-05-05 08:08
Host Country: Mexico
Champions: Brazil
Runners Up: Italy

The 1970 FIFA World Cup, the ninth staging of the World Cup, was held in Mexico, from 31 May to 21 June. Mexico was chosen as hosts by FIFA in October 1964. The 1970 tournament was the first World Cup hosted in North America, and the first held outside South America and Europe. In a match-up of two-time World Cup champions, the final was won by Brazil, who beat Italy 4–1. With their third World Cup triumph, Brazil were allowed to keep the Jules Rimet Trophy permanently.

The Brazilian team, featuring the likes of Pelé (who was in his fourth and final World Cup), Carlos Alberto, Clodoaldo, Gérson, Jairzinho, Rivelino, and Tostão, is usually regarded as the greatest attacking World Cup team ever. They won all of their 6 games on the way to the title, and had also won all of their 6 qualifying games on their way to Mexico. This tournament saw the return of free-flowing, attacking play after the physical battles of 1962 and 1966, and is still considered by many fans to be the finest World Cup in history.

The format of the competition stayed the same as 1966: 16 teams qualified, divided into four groups of four playing each other once in a round-robin tournament format. There were no seeds, instead the organizers formed geographical ‘sections’ from which the four groups were drawn in Mexico City, on 10 January 1970. The top two teams in each group advanced to the quarter-finals. However, for the first time in the World Cup finals, teams level on points at the end of the group stage were separated by goal difference (replacing play-offs and goal average) and where two or more teams had equal goal difference, by the drawing of lots. If a quarter-final or semi-final match resulted in a draw after extra time the referee would have drawn the name of the team to progress to the next round out of a hat.

In the final, Brazil struck first, with Pelé heading in a cross by Rivelino after a throw-in at the 18th minute. Roberto Boninsegna equalized for Italy after a series of blunders in the Brazilian defence. In the second half, Brazil's firepower and creativity was too much for a tired Italian side. Gérson fired in a powerful shot for the second goal, leaving Enrico Albertosi, the Italian keeper helpless, leaving and then helped provide the third, with a long free kick to Pelé who headed down into the path of the onrushing Jairzinho.

Brazil's fourth goal, with five minutes to go, is considered one of the greatest goals ever scored in the history of the tournament. A total of 8 outfield players from Brazil were involved, encapsulating 'the beautiful game' in one glorious sweeping move. Tostão started the move just outside the Brazilian 18 yard box, then ran the length of the field to the Italian box without touching the ball again (although he signalled for Pelé to lay it off for Carlos Alberto). Clodoaldo beat 4 Italian players in his own half before passing to Rivelino, who hit a perfect pass down the left wing to Jairzinho. Jairzinho drove inside and passed to Pelé, who showed superb composure, in his last moments of World Cup play, to hold the ball up before rolling a perfectly weighted pass into the path of Carlos Alberto arriving from right back. Carlos Alberto's shot hammered into the bottom corner of the Italian goal, going too quick for Enrico Albertosi to even touch it.

Notable Facts
Controversy surrounded the World Cup before a ball was even kicked. For England, the build-up to the tournament took a bizarre turn when their captain was accused of theft. While England were in Colombia for a pre-tournament friendly, Bobby Moore was arrested for allegedly stealing a bracelet from a jeweller's shop. He was released on bail to allow him to appear in the World Cup finals, and the charges were later quietly dropped.

Golden Boot
West Germany’s Gerd Müller, who scored 10 goals

Carlos Alberto scores Brazil's fourth goal against Italy in the 1970 World Cup final
Read more on: brazil italy

More In This Category

The 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany featured teams from all six continents, and will be remembered for a headbutt in the Final.
The 2002 FIFA World Cup, held in the Republic of Korea and Japan is most notable for the early exit of defending champions France.
The 1998 FIFA World Cup, held in France, included red cards, head-butting, stunning goals and a crushing defeat against the run of play.
The 1994 FIFA World Cup, held in the United States to encourage growth of the game there, saw the first occurrence of a Final decided by penalty shoot-out.
Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk