A World Cup to be followed by those who talk about conspiracies today. The distorted matches are countless, starting with those of the hosts, who were brought to the semifinals, even to the detriment of Italy. In the end, however, Brazil deservedly wins, which after having released itself seems to never want to give up the scepter.
A FEW SURPRISES – European football, affected at home by Brazil’s success in Sweden, prepares the revenge in view of the next edition, scheduled in Chile. In 1959 the European Nations Championship kicks off, snubbed by most of the main teams and won , in Paris, from the USSR, in front of a small number of spectators, who seem to sanction its precocious failure. The Soviets are therefore one of the favorite teams on the eve. In addition to them West Germany and of course the reigning champions Brazil. In the qualifiers, however, France, semi-finalist four years earlier, fell by surprise. The play-off against Bulgaria, in their debut, was fatal for the cockerels. In the play-off also the race of Sweden, vice-champion in charge, stops, which by now has said goodbye to its golden generation and gives way to Switzerland. Czechoslovakia and Spain are also struggling. The former victorious only in extra time against Scotland, the latter having the better of Morocco by a measure. However, these World Cups mark a new record of participants, rising to fifty-seven, with many Africans at the start, to symbolize the by now clear universality of football.
WE SEE ITALY AGAIN – It’s Italy? After the humiliating elimination from the previous edition, the Azzurri remain in a stormy phase. Qualifying turns out to be a walk in the park, given Romania’s withdrawal. The only obstacle, if you can call it that, is Israel, beaten by a combined score of ten to two. In the meantime, the technical commissioners take turns, including Herrera, who however does not last long, ending up leading the Spanish national team. At the World Cup, therefore, the president of SPAL, Mazza, sits on the bench. It’s not the best way to prepare for a world championship event and the results will prove it.
BARREL IN SANTIAGO – The Azzurri, placed in the group of hosts, do everything to complicate their lives, not helped by a climate of hatred artfully created by the local press. In his debut, despite siding with people of the caliber of Rivera, Altafini and Sivori, he preferred to bet on a skimpy 0-0 against West Germany. The match with the Chileans, therefore, becomes decisive and soon turns into a brawl that the English referee Aston, the inventor of the cards, decides to manage in a one-way manner, punishing the Italians for the slightest foul and allowing the South Americans to gain income from the penal code . We end up down by two men and by a goal and bid an early farewell to the World Cup. The final victory against Switzerland was useless. In the other groups, Brazil won ahead of Czechoslovakia and Spain, despite losing Pelé right after the match against the Bohemians. To help him, in the decisive victory over Spain, the referee takes care of it, canceling the Spanish double, before the turnaround signed by Amarildo, O Rei’s reserve. The USSR complicates life with Colombia, making their comeback until the final 4-4, but in the end they win the group ahead of Yugoslavia. Europe also filled up in the last grouping, won by Hungary, at the last fires, ahead of England, who prevailed over the disappointing Argentina on goal difference, thanks to a 3-1 win in the direct match.
GARRINCHA EXPLODES – Without its brightest star, Pelé, Brazil has found in Amarildo a substitute, if not on par, at least able to replace him honorably. The pairing of the quarterfinals, against solid England, however, seems to have been made to test the world champions, who have so far appeared decidedly less incisive than four years earlier. In fact, England keep one half, but the whole game is a solo by a single star player. Garrincha, in fact, decides that it’s time to take the team on his shoulders and repeatedly cuts the opposing defense into slices. It’s a day hard to forget for England left-back Wilson. The final result speaks for itself: 3-1 for the green and gold, with two goals from Garrincha and seal from Vavá on an assist again from the unleashed “Mané”. Hungary, a surprise in the first phase, experiences another disappointment, mocked by Czechoslovakia after having dominated for a long time, held back above all by goalkeeper Schrojf’s saves. The match goal is by Scherer, on the counterattack. Germany falls, overtaken in the final by Yugoslavia, with a goal from midfielder Radakovic, while Chile continues to make their way through “pushing”. Against the favorite USSR there seems to be no story, except that the goalkeeper Jascin is treacherously hit in the opening minutes and, forced to stay on the field, concedes two very avoidable goals. Cislenko only manages to equalize the first and the hosts celebrate a goal not even imagined, on the eve. South America celebrates. The two local formations qualified for the quarterfinals resist and rebalance the situation.
THE CHILEAN DREAM ENDS – The two semifinal derbies give the certainty of an intercontinental final and ensure that Chile’s ride ends honorably, in the presence of the reigning champions. The Nacional stadium in Santiago is a boiling basin of passion, but Brazil, and above all Garrincha, are not intimidated. At half an hour, in fact, the “sparrow” has already struck twice. The Chileans, who seem unable to react, wake up at the end thanks to a splendid free-kick from Toro, which reopens the match. In the second half, the referee gave the home players a hand, not awarding a penalty to Garrincha, but Vavá took care of bringing the lead back to two goals. A generous penalty, converted by Sánchez, rekindled enthusiasm, but it was the last illusion, because Vavá still closed the accounts. At least as far as the result is concerned, because in the final minutes Garrincha is the subject of a manhunt which ends with the expulsion of the killer Landa and of the right winger himself, as a reaction. As he was leaving the field, moreover, he was hit by a stone thrown from the stands, which caused a head injury, but the most serious injury seems to be the impossibility of playing the final. It seems, though. In Viña del Mar, meanwhile, Czechoslovakia put their greater athletic strength to good use to get the better of the more technical Yugoslavia. Jerkovic, one of the top scorer of the tournament, only manages to cancel the first lead, but Scherer’s brace in the final proves fatal. The Slavs will then also lose third place, in the ninetieth place, against the more motivated Chileans. In the final act, therefore, Brazil and Czechoslovakia meet again, having already faced each other in the first phase, in a match that ended in white goals, while
THE BIS OF BRAZIL – From a technical point of view, the final seems like a race without history, but only eight years earlier Germany had shown that at the end of an intense tournament like the World Cup, physical energies can fill the gap. And in effect, Czechoslovakia seemed to be growing, capable of beating two superior formations such as Hungary and Yugoslavia. Brazil, for its part, still renounces Pelé, who was clamoring to play, but incredibly recovers Garrincha, expelled in the semifinals. Thanks to political pressure, in fact, the Brazilian government ends up convincing the Bohemians to publicly ask for Garrincha to be on the field. A way like any other to make the Chilean tournament even less credible.
In the first minutes of the match, however, Czechoslovakia seemed so in control of the field as to make the nice gesture irrelevant. In fact Garrincha will end up having little impact on the result, well controlled by left-back Novak. The attacking departure of the opponents took the Brazilians by surprise, who found themselves down by a goal in the quarter of an hour. Masopust, future Ballon d’Or, signs it with a close low shot that leaves no way out for Gilmar. Amarildo, a worthy substitute for King Pelé, takes care of making the dream of the feat vanish, with a diagonal from the baseline that finds the hitherto impeccable Schrojf unprepared. The turning point comes in the middle of the second half. Cross from the left by an irrepressible Amarildo and a winning header by the midfielder Zito, thanks to the failure of the Bohemian goalkeeper. At this point the road is downhill for Brazil and before the finish line there is even time for the third goal, signed by the usual Vavá, who reiterates a ball into the net that escaped the grip of a now confused Schrojf. A World Cup full of controversy and violent play ends with the success of Brazil less spectacular than ever. Enough for an encore, however, and to equal Italy, the only one to have won two editions in a row.
THE CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS
Manoel dos Santos Francisco “Garrincha” – Conditioned since childhood by a physical malformation that forces him to limp, little Manè, instead of resigning himself to a life of hardship, manages to exploit his weakness to become the best dribbler in the history of the soccer. The nickname of “Garrincha”, a small tropical bird, comes as an inevitable consequence, for that wren who with the Botafogo shirt rises to international prominence by conquering the national team. Already present in 1958, “his” world championship of him is however the Chilean one, in which in the absence of Pelé he transforms into a symbol of the team. He will also be present four years later, but now in a downward phase, thanks to an extramarital affair that will lead him to lose all the wealth accumulated with his talent and to fall prey to the demon of alcohol. Until his death, which arrived in 1983 at the age of 50.
TABLE OF THE FINAL
Santiago, June 17, 1962
Brazil: Gilmar, D.Santos, N.Santos, Zito, Mauro, Zózimo, Garrincha, Didí, Vavá, Amarildo, Zagalo.
Czechoslovakia: Schrojf, Tichy, Novak, Pluskal, Popluhar, Masopust, Pospichal, Scherer, Kvasnak, Kandraba, Jelinek.
Scorers: 15′ Masopust(C), 17′ Amarildo(B), 68′ Zito(B), 77′ Vavá(B)