1970 and the World Cup moves to Mexico. The first time the competition had been held outside of Europe or South America. The world watched in awe as Brazil, romped to another victory.
Even by Brazilian standards this team was special. One of the best sides the world has seen. The front five were Jairzinho, Pele, Gerson, Tostao and Rivelino together they created an irresistible attacking momentum which has been described by pundits as the most brilliant collection of footballers ever assembled. These Finals also has the greatest save ever.
There were fears about the heat and high altitude affecting the players. FIFA negotiated this problem by playing the games in the mornings. Which also helped the European TV stations schedules. This was the first tournament to be broadcast in colour.
Tottenham had Martin Peters and Alan Mullery (top image) in the England squad, the only home nation to qualify. Alf Ramsey our former defender was still manager after his victorious campaign in 1966. Both players would feature in all four games and both would score in the 2-3 defeat to West Germany at the quarter final stage.
Ramsey never came to terms with substitutes and told Peters and Alan Ball to go flat out in a warm up game with a local select XI so he could change them at half time. The plan went wrong went as Alan Mullery was then sent off. Only the third player to be sent off playing for England at that time and the FA demanded an explanation from Ramsey.
A large number of experts felt England had a stronger team than when they won the cup four years earlier. They beat Rumania and Czechoslovakia in the group stage. It was however the second game V Brazil that lives in the memory. Brazilian fans had gathered outside the England hotel and chanted and sang all night in a deliberate bid to disrupt the team's sleep, but we still saw one of the great games in the trophies history. Alan Mullery had his best game for England in his marking of Pele. Mullery admits he made one mistake when Pele out-jumped him and that led to one of the most famous moments in the finals.
England had at least three great chances before Jairinho got the only goal. After the game the effort put in by the players was shown when Mullery was weighted and had lost almost a stone. England would lose to Germany in the quarterfinals, Banks was missing through illness.
A major earthquake had hit Peru two days before their first game. Many of the players wanted to return home. Their President personal urged them to stay saying by doing so was the best way to help their country at that time. They stayed and beat Bulgaria. They would go out in their quarter final with Brazil. Peru were coached by Didi who had been in the Brazilian in the 1958 and 1962 squads.
Gerd Muller from West Germany scored hat-tricks in successive group games and Brazil's Jairzinho scored in every game setting a new record. Brazil beat Italy 4-1 in the final. The Italian tasked with marking Pele in the final said after the game “I told myself before the game that he's made of skin and bone like everyone else. But I was wrong."
By winning the trophy for the third time (and achieving it in only four tournaments), as per the original rules they were allowed to keep the trophy. In 1983 it was stolen for a second time, this time from Brazil FA’s offices and so far has not been recovered.
Tottenham’s other contribution to the competition was the London to Mexico rally in which Jimmy Greaves was one of the drivers and came a creditable 6th
Meanwhile in N17 - Tottenham were on the verge on a series of trophy wins but that summer they finished 11th but they did win the FA Youth Cup.
Thanks - FIFA, Englandonline, BBC, The Telegraph, Planet World Cup, ESPN, Daily Mirror,
About the author:
Keith Harrison, Nilgiris, TN
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