1970 Soccer World Cup, Mexico

The FIFA World Cup Mexico 1970 was the ninth edition of the World Cup. It was held in Mexico, between May 31 and June 21, 1970. 16 national teams participated in the final round, being gathered in 4 groups of 4 teams, then the first 2 of each group advanced to the quarter round final, from which direct elimination duels occurred.

This tournament is considered by several experts as one of the best in the history of football, due both to its fair play (there was no expulsion in all its development) and to the various campuses that attended with some of the best players in this sport, like Pelé and Franz Beckenbauer.

The selected ones of Federal Germany, Brazil, Italy and Uruguay, all champions of previous tournaments, arrived at the semifinals. In addition, Brazil, Italy and Uruguay had previously obtained the cup twice, so they were candidates to obtain ownership in case of crowned champions. While Brazil defeated the Charrúas (Uruguay) by 3: 1 at the Estadio Jalisco, the European squads clashed at the Estadio Azteca in one of the most memorable games and, perhaps, the best in history. After ninety minutes, both teams tied at 1 goal, so a very disputed extension was made and ended with the Italian victory by 4: 3. This game is known as the Party of the Century.

In the final, Brazil defeated Italy 4: 1, which allowed the South American team to be crowned, for the third time, as world champion, winning the Jules Rimet Cup.

According to the criteria of continental rotation, the tournament to be held in 1970 was to be organized by an American country, after it was held in England in 1966. For the first time, Mexico submitted a candidacy while Argentina did it for the fourth time. A great controversy had been unleashed during the candidacy process because Mexico had already been elected in 1963 as host of the 1968 Olympic Games. FIFA, together with the International Olympic Committee, analyzed whether to organize two events of this magnitude in a period of two years would not be detrimental to the organization of their respective jousts. However, the highest organism of football came to the conclusion that the infrastructure that would inherit the XIX Olympiad would be beneficial for the organization of the event, this fact coupled with the organizing committee presented the model of the Aztec Stadium, which together with the largest Political stability of the nation at that time tipped the scales in their favor.

Even when the South Americans had a greater soccer career than the Mexicans. Thus, Mexico obtained 56 votes against 32 of the platenses in the election held in Tokyo on October 8, 1964. With this, Mexico became the first country to organize an Olympic Games and a Soccer World Cup consecutively.

75 teams signed up for the continental qualifiers, but five withdrew. Discounting the automatic qualifiers (Mexico and England, organizer and defending champion, respectively), 68 teams participated, playing 170 games and scoring 542 goals. Unlike the previous tournament, the African teams received for the first time a direct quota (Egypt had qualified in 1934 due to the withdrawal of their opponents), which was reached by Morocco. Likewise, one place was awarded to the winner of the Asia and Oceania qualifier, in which Rhodesia participated in an extraordinary way, excluded from the CAF. Finally, Israel qualified after defeating Australia. In Europe, Czechoslovakia eliminated Hungary, Olympic champion, in a defining match, while Argentina did not qualify after a major loss in La Paz against Bolivia, plus another defeat in Lima against Peru and a draw in the last game against Peru played in Buenos Aires, allowing the pass of the Peruvians to the final phase, was a bitter page in the history of Argentine football.

Alignment of Brazil, Carlos Alberto Torres, Brito, Piazza, Felix, Clodoaldo and Everaldo; down; Jairzinho, Gérson, Tostão, Pelé and Rivelino.
However, perhaps the most memorable event of these qualifiers was the so-called Football War. Honduras and El Salvador had months of tension due to various economic, political, border and migration disputes. During the second phase of the CONCACAF qualification, both countries had to face each other in round-trip matches to define which team went to the third stage. In the first game played in Tegucigalpa on June 8, 1969, the local team won by 1: 0, but in San Salvador, the Salvadorans won a 3: 0 victory, causing the fans to lose control on June 15. . Twelve Honduran fans would have been killed by the local crowd, while in Honduras Salvadoran immigrants are attacked. The borders are closed and the tension would reach limits, while the Honduran soccer association presents claims to FIFA accusing death threats to its players. A third match played in Mexico City on the 26th, at Estadio Azteca, would confirm the Salvadoran supremacy with a 3: 2 victory, moving to the final phase against Haiti, where they would obtain the pass to the final phase of the World Cup. 3 However, the tension between the two countries would grow with the passing of days, provoking the invasion of the Salvadoran army to Honduras on July 14, 1969. At least 2000 people died during the war, which ended six days later thanks to the mediation of the Organization of American States.

In the sports field, Brazil was run by coach João Saldanha. His particular personality and his well-known communist militancy during the military dictatorship in which his country was, provoked diverse controversies around his figure, standing out the one that faced with Pele. Saldanha published in the newspaper O Globo that Pele suffered from myopia and an injury to the hip, causing the player’s discomfort and subsequent denial. Saldanha finally announced that he would not call the striker for the tournament, but the coach was relieved of his job and replaced by Mario Zagallo who replaced Pelé in the players’ roster.

For the first time, the tournament was broadcast on color television for some chains that had such technology, while Adidas became the official sponsor and supplier of the first ball designed especially for the event: the Telstar, consisting of 20 white hexagons and 12 black pentagons, replacing the traditional brown balloons of 18 segments. The Telstar would be the basis of the current traditional image of a soccer ball.

Posted on