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ON THIS DAY: 'Little Bird' inspires Brazil in 1962

  • Article by: PAN PYLAS
  • Associated Press
  • June 16, 2014 - 8:15 PM

On June 17 in World Cup history: Brazil defends title against Czechoslovakia in Santiago, Chile, in 1962. Italy beats West Germany in "Game of the Century" in Mexico City in 1970.

Brazil defeated Czechoslovakia 3-1 in the 1962 World Cup final to successfully defend the title. However, its play exhibited little of the flair that marked the victory in Sweden four years ago, partly because Pele suffered a tournament-ending thigh injury in a group match against Czechoslovakia. Garrincha, or "Little Bird," took on the mantle of inspiring his team. He was voted player of the tournament and was joint top-scorer with five others with four. For many, the 1962 tournament will always be remembered for the "Battle of Santiago" when host Chile and Italy played out a group game that is often described as the most violent football match in World Cup finals history.

The 1970 semifinal at Azteca Stadium between Italy and West Germany is often referred to as "The Game of the Century." Level at 1-1 at the end of normal time, Franz Beckenbauer, arm in a sling following an earlier injury, strived hard to inspire his team to victory. But the attacking prowess of the likes of Luigi Riva and Gianni Rivera proved too much for the Germans and Italy scraped home 4-3 to meet free-flowing Brazil in the final.

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