How the Brazil side of the 1982 World Cup became one of the most beloved in history


Whenever Socrates takes to the field, all eyes are on the man they call “Doctor.”

In addition to being a ludicrously talented footballer – his incredible technical ability, strength and stocky legs made him a marvel to watch – he was also an exceptionally intelligent man, having obtained a medical degree from the University of São Paulo earlier in his career.

The title Doctor Socrates stuck with him, even though his practices were unorthodox; He was known to like smoke and drink, but his vices never seemed to hinder him on the court.

He was also the captain of Brazil at the 1982 World Cup, long before cable television and live broadcasts of every football match and selection of players were readily available. Mystery will surround the national teams and their star players upon their arrival at the World Cup, with Seleção And its stars have an almost mystical quality.

When Brazil took to the field for their first match in Spain 1982 against the Soviet Union, shining in the iconic Canary yellow and blue jersey, few fans knew what to expect.

However, after 90 minutes, they were stunned by what they saw – and Socrates, the team leader, with his mind and heartbeat, was at the center of it all.

Socrates in the match against Argentina during the 1982 World Cup.

Despite being down 1-0 in the early stages of the match, Brazil played a gleaming and fluid style of football, reminiscent of the great Brazilian teams of the past, and eventually won 2-1 thanks to stunning late goals from Socrates and Eder, two of the best players in the world. Names that often appear in eulogies about the side.

“We were all very, very optimistic about what was going to happen in the World Cup,” Juca Kfoury, one of Brazil’s most brilliant commentators, told CNN Sport.

“First of all, because they were exceptional players, each with their own characteristics, their personalities were very, very strong and they were kind, captivating and alluring.

Kfoury added about the man who was a leading voice in opposition to Brazil’s military government and who became famous for his headband messages in Mexico four years later.

“The same for Falcao, the ‘King of Rome’, the man who went to Rome and led them to the championship again 41 years after the last one.”

In Uruguay, 18 months ago, Brazil were one of six teams competing in the World Champions’ Gold Cup – known as the “Mondialito” or “Little World Cup” – which consisted of five of the six World Cup winners at the time and the Netherlands, who replaced England.

Despite losing to Uruguay in the Gold Cup final, Brazil beat West Germany – one of the 1982 World Cup favorites and eventual losers – 4-1 in the group stages. It was a “decisive” victory, “a spherical spectacle,” Kfoury recalls.

As the tournament progressed in Spain, optimism only increased in Brazil. This was followed by beautiful comprehensive victories over Scotland and New Zealand – 4-1 and 4-0 respectively – as Brazil progressed to the World Cup’s second group stage with a boom.

Cerezo was considered among the best players in the Brazil squad that was hailed by the 1982 team.

At the 1974 World Cup in Germany, Scottish commentator and author Archie MacPherson remembers a much different Brazilian team than the one that was last in Europe at the 1966 World Cup in England.

“After 1966, the Brazilians were so angry at the way they were treated on the field — especially Pele, whose legs you could barely see because of the bruising and hacking, he was brutalized from their point of view — they decided whether to come back,” recalls McPherson, author of Touching the Heights.

“So when they came back in 1974, it wasn’t really the kind of Brazilian team we expected. They had one or two outstanding players…but they were tougher, they mixed it up and instead of playing in that flashy style, they became, if I can put it that way.” As such, “Europeans” simply to survive.

So we wondered what they were like [in Spain ’82] But these first three games that they played, they obviously appealed to the writing and the style and their natural rhythms. So it was good to see them again in this way and that is why they are starting to gain support.”

Scotsman John Wark defends Falcao during the group stage match.

McPherson Scotland was the unfortunate recipient of one of the most dazzling performances by the Brazilian team. However, such was the beauty with which this team played, MacPherson was only left with feelings of awe once the match was over.

Despite trailing by a goal again, Brazil did not change their style of play, although MacPherson suggests that this remarkable stubbornness in playing just beautiful football may also have led to the team’s downfall.

MacPherson laughs: “We made the mistake of insulting the Brazilians by scoring a goal after about 18 minutes, and then they let us fly at us. At the heart of the team was, of course, Socrates, the guitar-playing, chain-smoking medical man who seemed to contradict every medical advice, advice in his lifestyle.

“He exemplified that elegance and almost informal nature of the way Brazilians set out to play, relying on big feet and great pace.

“He was really the center of it all. His signature style might have made him a focal point, but after David Nary scored that goal…the Brazilians went to town.

“I wouldn’t mind a defeat by Brazil because it was great to watch. It wasn’t a defeat, it was the culmination of showing off the best in football: showing skill, the fair way they played, the fact that it was at 4-1 – and that was the greatest achievement ever. The best. Courtesy to all – the Scottish fans were far from disappointed.”

Prior to the change to the World Cup format, the top two teams from six groups formed four other groups of three, with the four winners of the second group stage making up the semi-finals.

Zico celebrates his goal against Argentina.

Brazil was placed in the group alongside Italy, led by Paolo Rossi, and Argentina, led by Diego Maradona, the defending champions four years ago.

After Italy beat Argentina 2-1 in the opening match, Brazil then moved past Albiceleste 3-1 thanks to goals from Zico, Serginho and Junior, with Maradona sent off and Ramon Diaz scoring a late consolation for the Argentines.

So, it was all about Brazil against Italy on July 5 for a place in the 1982 World Cup semi-finals.

“I have to say that Italy played better than Brazil and their victory was indisputable,” says Kfoury. “It’s just one of those things in football. They are [Brazil and Italy] It could play 10 times, and Brazil would win seven, draw two and lose on July 5. On that day, it was Italy’s day, and this is indisputable.

This picture remained of a great Brazilian team anyway. I will never forget the headline of a newspaper in Andalusia, which read: “No one understands this world anymore. Brazil was eliminated.”

Twice Italy took the lead thanks to goals from Rossi, but Brazil fought back on both occasions through Socrates and Falcao. However, when Rossi completed his hat-trick with 15 minutes left, there was no third Brazilian comeback.

Italian striker Francesco Graziani tries to get the ball with his head, but Brazil goalkeeper Valdir Perez, with the help of his defender Oscar, shoots the ball wide.

MacPherson described the result as a “tremendous high point” for neutrals watching the World Cup.

“I remember being so miserable, it was as if my home team had been beaten, my home country had been beaten,” McPherson recalled.

“I was very disappointed, as were many others around the world, but I would insist it was their creation. They could not change the style at all to suit the circumstances.

“Nobody likes Italians,” he adds. “Italian football, of course, had a reputation for being cynical and defensive. Helenio Herrera, the Argentine, established catenaccio throughout Italian football and pretty much throughout Europe and this was the perfect antidote for him.

“And that’s why they were so disappointed. I mean, I can remember being beside myself not being able to see this group of guys again.

“Outside of Italy itself, and I was there with Italian journalists, there was not a soul outside that group who wanted Italy to win. They were urging Brazil to do so, hoping that this would prove that their type of football could be sustained and bring success.”

Brazil came from behind twice against Italy, but could not a third time.

Before Brazil’s first match against Serbia in Qatar, the Selecao enter the tournament – as often happens – among the favorites to win the title. However, such is the admiration for the 1982 team, Kfoury says, that even a win in Qatar wouldn’t put the current group of players on the same pedestal.

If Neymar were to win the Golden Boot on his way to leading Brazil to victory in Qatar, Kfoury admits he would be considered better than the cherished 82 stars, and elevate himself to the heights of Ronaldo, Romario and Rivaldo, but he would do so. It is likely that he will not be loved in the same way.

Kfoury says, “The 94 team won, the 2002 team won, and it is not comparable to the 1982 team.” “Now, of course, if you ask me by chance – I don’t believe it – but if by chance the current team show great football in Qatar, it is possible, but nothing indicates that this will happen.”

Brazil players celebrate a goal against Argentina.

Despite that painful loss to Italy, there is no regret for the failure of the Brazilian national team in 1982 to lift the World Cup, just a residual sense of pride the nation has produced and been able to witness one of its most beloved teams. Date.

“I’m not going to talk, I’m going to let Pep Guardiola speak when he says it’s a national team, a football team, that has survived for 40 years as something amazing,” Kfoury says.

“Today’s team has a maximum of one outstanding player, Neymar, who is not capable of doing what Socrates did, Zico, Falcao, Cerezo, four exceptional players, four geniuses.

“So I think there is no comparison, in the same way there is no comparison with the two teams that won later, from 1994 and 2002, the team from 1982 is better than both. This team did not win like Holland did not win in 1974, like Hungary did not win in 54 – These things only happen in football.


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