Mexico 1970 has gone down as one of the great World Cups, featuring what is considered the greatest team and a goals per game ratio that has not been bettered since. The high temperatures and altitude was a concern but in the event the championship was a classic tournament featuring some unforgettable football. For the first time also the World Cup was broadcast in vivid colour and audiences were enthralled by one team’s colours more than most.
The Brazil team of 1970 were led by Carlos Alberto and featured Pele, Clodoalso, Gerson, Jairzinho, Rivelino and Tostao won every game in qualification and at the tournament. Jairzinho also set a record of scoring in every finals game, a record yet to be equalled.
England went into this tournament as reigning champions within this 16 team, 32 game finals format. England lost 1-0 to Brazil in the group stage and went out to West Germany 3-2 in the Quarter-Finals, their first-ever competitive defeat by a German team. England didn’t have the best preparation with Bobby Moore being arrested in Colombia for allegedly stealing a watch and being detained whilst the rest of the squad moved on to Mexico. The crowds were generally hostile towards England and they also lost Gordon Banks to food poisoning before the West Germany match.
The semi-final match between West Germany and Italy was dubbed the ‘Game of the Century’ and a monument stands outside the Estadio Azteca to commemorate the match which ended 4-3 to Italy.
Brazil won the final with what became in the end an emphatic 4-1 defeat of Italy in Mexico City on the 21st June. The game was level until the 66th minute and in the end Brazil easily won the right to permanently keep the Jules Rimet Trophy with their third finals win.
The 1970 Brazil team are considered by some as the finest World Cup team ever, take a look at the video and decide for yourself: