Friday, October 30, 2009

Greatest World Cup matches: Brazil-Czechoslovakia (1962)

Since 1958 Pelé had become known as the best player in the world, and there were great expectations to the Brazilian national team as the World Cup returned to South America, to Chile specifically.
It was sadly one of the most vile tournaments in terms of fair play and bad refereeing, with some matches that will only go over to history for their violence, notably Yugoslavia-USSR and Chile-Italy.
It was this good to see that Brazil, playing their usual entertaining football, won the championship again, although there were doubts after the first match against Mexico, where Pelé, the 21-year old star of Brazil, was injured and was unable to play the rest of the tournament.
Fortunately, Brazil had other players that could take over, notably the star from Botafogo, Garrincha, as well as Pelé replacement, Amarildo, who scored both goals in Brazil’s first round victory against Spain, whose coach Helenio Herrera before the match had confidently said: “Brazil without Pelé is nothing. Who is Amarildo?”
In the quarterfinal Brazil defeated England, and in the semifinal had faced the host nation Chile, who had shown bad sportsmanship in their 2-4 defeat, playing so harsh that it provoked Garrincha to a red card that he was nevertheless forgiven for, so he could play the final against Czechoslovakia anyway.
Czechoslovakia and Brazil had faced each other in the first round, and tied 0-0, but the Czechoslovaks had not been impressive, and made it to the quarterfinal in spite of losing to Mexico. To their own and everyone’s surprise, including their own, Czechoslovakia had the defeated Hungary and Yugoslavia to reach the final, where Brazil nevertheless remained the favourites.
Still, the central Europeans were eager to play their chance, and were very organized and marking Garrincha very closely, not letting him do his usual rushes down the right side. After only fifteen minutes the Czechoslovak organisation seemed to pay off: Adolf Scherer, who had been their most scoring player in the tournament, made a pass that tore open the Brazilian defense, and Josef Masopust scored coldly (Masopust subsequently went on to become European player of the year in 1962, and the best Czech player of the century).
To everyone’s surprise Czechoslovakia was ahead, but it took only three minutes before Amarildo leveled for Brazil: rushing down the right side, Amarildo made a shot towards the far corner that the Czechoslovak goalkeeper Viliam Schrojf should probably have caught.
Viliam Schrojf, a veteran from two previous World Cups had otherwise been credited with much of Czechoslovakia’s success until then, but was in this final to have one of the worse matches of his career.
In spite of the equalizer, Czechoslovakia remained well-organised, and there were few chances as the second half started. And it was half-way in the second half when Brazil finally broke the Czechoslovak defence: Amarildo got away from a defender near the corner flag, and ran towards the goal; as defenders were approaching him to tackle, he lifted the ball towards the far post where Zito could head the ball into goal.
As the match was coming towards the end, Czechoslovakia did not have much to answer with, and instead Vavá brought Brazil ahead 3-1 on a grave mistake by Schrojf, where he dropped an apparently harmless ball at the feet of the Brazilian striker, who scored easily. Since Vavá had also scored in the final in 1958, Vavá was the first player ever to score in two different finals, a feat that has until today only been achieved by four players (Vavá, Pelé, Paul Breitner and Zinedine Zidane).
Brazil had won their second consecutive World Cup, even without their star, Pelé, and were undoubtedly the best team in the world.

Match Stats:
  • 17th June, 1962 Estadio Nacional, Santiago de Chile
  • Attendance: 68,679
  • Referee: Nikolai Latychev (USSR)
Brazil-Czechoslovakia 3-1
Goals: 0-1 Masopust (15), 1-1 Amarildo (17), 2-1 Zito (68), 3-1 Vavá (77)

Brazil: Gilmar, D. Santos, Mauro, Zozimo, N. Santos, Zito, Garrincha, Didi, Vava, Amarildo, Zagallo
Czechoslovakia: Schrojf, Ticky, Novak, Pluskal, Popluhar, Masopust, Pospichal, Scherer, Kvasnak, Kadraka, Jelinek

No comments: