The question of what's the best team in World Cup history will be debated forever. For me, the answer is without question the 1970 Brazil team.
The team was decked out in stars such as Jairzinho, Rivelino, Carlos Alberto, Tostao, and of course, Pele. They had won the World Cup in 1958 and 1962 and were determined to get it back in 1970. They would not only accomplish this task, but also play a style of football that thrilled the world.
The 1970 Brazil team is the only team to ever win every qualifying match and World Cup match. In the final, they would go up against a rugged Italian team, who was no match for the mighty Brazil.
They thrashed them 4-1 in one of the best displays in finals history. The fourth-and-final goal was a thing of perfection and the best possible way to coronate them as the kings of world football.
The play started when Tostao stole the ball from an Italian in his own half. He knocked the ball back to Piazza, who passed to Clodoaldo. He showed off some amazing dribbling skills, by going through four Italians. He then rolled it to Rivelino, who sent in a perfect long ball straight down the left side to Jairzinho. He controlled it perfectly and ran at the defender. He cut into the right before sliding it over to Pele in the middle of the field. Everyone, expected Pele to make a run at the defender, but the brilliant Pele didn’t do that.
He paused and patiently held onto the ball, as he had seen Carlos Alberto making a run out of the corner of his eye on the right. No one else had. Pele laid out a pass to seemingly no one, as Alberto was off screen at the time he had played it. From nowhere came Alberto, darting into the box and the pass hit him perfectly in stride. Right before the ball got to Alberto, it hit a divot in the grass and sat up perfectly for him.
It was as if the soccer gods had rewarded the Brazilians for their spectacular play by queuing it up for him. Alberto smacked the shot out of the air and past Enrico Albertosi in net. Magic. Simply and purely magic.
Alberto’s goal is the perfect team goal. The Brazilians had the Italians running in circles, and they could do nothing to stop it. The world fell in love with this team, and the 1970 World Cup is still regarded as one of the best ever. There could be no more perfect end for this team and for the international career of Pele, than for him to be involved in a goal of that quality.
Since 1970, Brazil’s future champions (in ’94 and ’02) have played much more defensively. And with the exception of Argentina in 1978 or France in 1998, no other winning team has even come close to the same attacking mentality.
Yet the 1970 Brazil team remain a bridge from the old soccer world into the new. As the first team to win a World Cup broadcast in color internationally, their status was immortalized immediately (with a quickness that foretold the coming globalization).
They achieved greatness through pure class.
Join us in celebrating this Brazilian team,
Be a TENLEGEND.