How will the Socceroos go at the 2018 World Cup? Brazil's Pele, centre, is hoisted on the shoulders of his teammates winning the 1970 final.
How will the Socceroos go at the 2018 World Cup? Brazil's Pele, centre, is hoisted on the shoulders of his teammates winning the 1970 final.

World Cup flashback: Brazil’s greatest ever side

BRAZIL holds a special place in World Cup history, as the most successful - and in many ways, most iconic - nation.

No team has lifted the World Cup trophy more than the five times Brazil has done so, and they've delivered some of the most famous names of all to the tournament: Ronaldo. Cafu. Pele. And we're only just touching the surface.

But even the World Cup's greatest nation has a best-ever team: and that was on show for the world to see at Mexico, 1970.

The 1970 winners - and the goal which lit up the final that year - are the latest in our greatest World Cup moments series.

What was the 'moment': Carlos Alberto's wonder goal and Brazil's greatest ever side

Which World Cup was it? Mexico 1970

Country played for: Brazil

The glory that once defined Brazil may have faded in recent years but it was at the 1970 finals when the South Americans redefined what football could be.

International football, so often a hodgepodge of players and abilities, still represents some important aspect of national identity. In many ways, the World Cup is where many cultural stereotypes are formed: German efficiency, Italian passion, English overreaching - and Brazilian flair.

Pele (L) & Bobby Moore after Brazil defeated England in group game of 1970 World Cup Finals.
Pele (L) & Bobby Moore after Brazil defeated England in group game of 1970 World Cup Finals.

But this team was more than just simply favela street kids; they were fantastic athletes and their wonderful team aesthetic was born of not only a cultural philosophy but months of hard work, as national teams could do back then.

This was Brazil at their utmost peak, with an attacking quintet featuring legends Jairzinho, Gerson, Tostao, Rivelino - and, of course, Pele.

They were skilful, graceful, creative and deadly. From the start of the qualifying campaign to their ultimate triumph, they won 12 games, scoring an incredible 42 goals and conceding just eight.

In the final in Mexico City Brazil faced European champions Italy, who had just seen off West Germany in "the game of the century", in front of 107,412 fans.

Ventura Filmo Jairzinho, (golden shirt), scores Brazil's third goal in the 1970 final against Italy.
Ventura Filmo Jairzinho, (golden shirt), scores Brazil's third goal in the 1970 final against Italy.

The first half was fairly even, with Pele opening the scoring and Italy forward Roberto Boninsegna levelling the scores.

But in the second half, Brazil took off for another planet.

Gerson pounced first, firing in an unstoppable low shot from outside the area. An onrushing Jairzinho put away Pele's knocked-down header for the third.

And with Italy's chances dwindling in the last five minutes, space opened up and Brazil painted their masterpiece.

Italy play the ball down the wing, hoping to create a chance but centre forward Tostao tracks back and robs the ball. He plays a short pass to Brito on the edge of the area.

Brazil's captain Carlos Alberto unleashes his fierce strike.
Brazil's captain Carlos Alberto unleashes his fierce strike.

Then it's Clodoaldo, Pelé, Gérson, back to Clodoaldo, who beats four Italian players, off to Rivelino, who releases Jairzinho.

The ball is centred to Pele, who stops, turns and lays it off for right back and captain Carlos Alberto, who is steaming downfield. He meets Pele's pass at full speed and absolutely wallops the ball past Italy keeper Enrico Albertosi.

Only two of Brazil's outfield players were not involved in this moment of individual technique and team artistry, a goal truly born of the beautiful game.


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