Cyprus Mail
Football Sport World Cup

WC Mexico 1970 – An Overview

A jubilant Pele celebrates after his Brazil defeated Italy in the final

Mexico 1970 - An Overview

The 1970 World Cup was hosted by Mexico, despite worries over the high altitude and high temperatures, coupled with midday kick-off times

The tournament set-up was the same to the one four years earlier. Sixteen teams – four groups of four with the best two teams in each group through to the quarter-final knock-out stage.

FIFA introduced yellow and red cards plus substitutions for the first time.

Nobody was sent off during the three-week event, making 1970 one of only two World Cups (the other being 1950) to be held without a player being dismissed.

Defending champions England had their own problems before the tournament got underway.

Influential captain Bobby Moore was accused of stealing a bracelet during the team’s training camp in Colombia and was forced to stay in the country while his team-mates travelled to Mexico.

The star defender was released due to lack of evidence and joined the England party several days later.

England faced favourites Brazil in Group C, with the match now regarded as one of the finest in World Cup history

Jairzinho scored the only goal as Brazil won 1-0, but the game went down in history for the so-called ‘save of the century’ by goalkeeper Gordon Banks from a Pele header.

The 1970 World Cup is also remembered for the semi-final between Italy and West Germany also known as the ‘Game of the Century’.

Five goals were scored in extra time with the two sides level at 1-1 after 90 minutes. Franz Beckenbauer, also known as ‘Der Kaiser’, had to play the last 30 minutes of the game with his shoulder in a sling after he dislocated it  and his team had already made its two substitutions.

With advancements in satellite communications, the tournament also set a new record TV audience for the World Cup as games were broadcast live around the world and, for the first time, in colour.


mexico flag
Host country: Mexico
Dates: May 31 – June 21 (22 days)
Teams: 16 (from 5 confederations)
Venues: 5
Champions: Brazil
Runners-up: Italy
Third place: W.Germany
Fourth place: Uruguay
Matches played: 32
Goals scored: 95 (2.97/game)
Attendance: 1,604,065 (50,127/game)
Top scorer: Mueller W.Germ. (10 goals)
[mp_ads_system ads_system_select=”48205″]

THE FINAL - Brazil 4 Italy 1

For the first time in World Cup history, both teams involved in the 1970 final were former double winners – Italy triumphed in 1934 and 1938, Brazil in 1958 and 1962.

FIFA had decided that the first country to win the tournament three times would be given permanent possession of the trophy, so there was even greater pressure on the two teams than usual.

Pele opened the scoring with a header after 18 minutes but Roberto Boninsegna took advantage of some poor Brazilian defending to equalise before half-time.

In the second half, Gerson’s powerful shot gave Brazil a 2-1 lead before Jairzinho added a third.

The game will always be remembered for Brazil’s fourth though, as Carlos Alberto finished off a mesmerising team move by scoring one of the greatest goals in World Cup history.

Victory ensured Brazil became the world’s most successful national football team, overtaking both Italy and Uruguay, who each had two titles.

Brazilian coach Mario Zagallo was the first man to win the World Cup as a player (1958, 1962) and a coach.

Pele ended his World Cup playing career as the first and so far the only three-time winner.

Above all, attacking football had reaped its reward, and the crowd had the opportunity to laud Pele, who was carried shoulder-high, bare-chested and emotional, from the pitch.

By overcoming defensive specialists Italy, Brazil showed that enterprise, fantasy and attacking play were the way the game should be played.

Overall, despite the poor conditions, the 1970 World Cup was a glorious triumph of the creative over the destructive.


Group stage Czechoslovakia 4-1
England 1-0
Romania 3-2
Quarter-final Peru 4-2
 Semi-final Uruguay 3-1
Group stage Sweden 1-0
 Uruguay 0-0
 Israel 0-0
Quarter-final Mexico 4-1
Semi-final W.Germany 4-3

Related posts

Tokyo’s oldest Olympian says ready for Paris 2024 “unless body breaks”

Sunday to be big day for Cyprus at Olympics

Jonathan Shkurko

Carapaz wins gold in thrilling finish to road race

China’s Yang wins battle of nerves to claim Tokyo’s first gold

Mask-shy Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan rain on opening parade

Scrambling preparations leave Springboks vulnerable to Lion attack

Reuters News Service