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Brazil in the World Cup 1974 - Germany

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Matches and Players

Brazil 1974 Germany World Cup

Leão, Renato, Wendell, Clodoaldo, Marinho, Nelinho, Alfredo, L. Pereira, M. Antonio, Zé Maria and M. Chagas;
Ademir da Guia, Valdomiro, Jairzinho, Carpeggiani, Rivelino, César, Piazza, Leivinha, P. César, Edu and Dirceu.

The team: Leão, Zé Maria, Luis Pereira (C), Marinho and Marinho Chagas; Piazza, Leivinha and Rivelino; Valdomiro, Jairzinho and Dirceu.
Reserves: Renato (G), Wendell (G), Nelinho, Alfredo, M. Antonio, Clodoaldo, Ademir da Guia, Carpeggiani, César, Paulo César and Edu.
Coach: Zagallo.

The matches:
»Brazil 0 x 0 Yugoslavia.
»Brazil 0 x 0 Scotland.
»Brazil 3 x 0 Zaire.
»Brazil 1 x 0 East Germany.
»Brazil 2 x 1 Argentina.
»Brazil 0 x 2 Holland.

The Preparation

Brazil, as champion of the 1970 World Cup, didn't have to play the qualifyings for the 1974 event.

Pelé would be aged 33, if he had played the 1974 Cup; however, he decided not to go.
The last official match of Pelé in the national team was played in Maracanã, on July 18th 1971, Brazil x Yugoslavia. Brazil won by 2 x 0, goals by Rivelino and Gérson; 138.575 people attended the match.

1974 World Cup emblem

Pelé didn't play, but he went to the Cup, as special guest. Pelé participated of the opening ceremony, carrying the Jules Rimet, while German idol Uwe Seller was carrying the new FIFA Trophy.
Other players also decided not to go, particularly the ones who had been in the catastrophic campaign of 1966, and had redeemed themselves in 1970; Brito, Gérson and Tostão were in this situation.

The Brazilian team had still many good players left from 1970, though.
Jairzinho, for example, the main striker and "Hurricane of the 1970 Cup" was there.
Rivelino was also there, now playing at his original position, in the midfield (he had been displaced to the left-forward in 1970, because the midfield was already crowded with excellent players).
Piazza, Clodoaldo, Marco Antônio, Leão (goalkeeper, reserve of Felix in 1970, but better than him) were also in Germany.
Besides, several of the new players were very respectable. Luís Pereira, center back, and Leivinha, mid fielder, would later help Atletico Madrid win the Spanish championship in 1976/77. Marinho Chagas was considered the best left-defense of those times; very offensive, he was pioneer in the concept of a defender helping the attack.
The coach was also the same of 1970: Zagallo.

Politically, Brazil was still under a dictatorial regime. To dodge attention away from their arbitrary acts, the Military tried to use the popularity of the Brazilian football team (read comments here).
Besides, in the early 1970s, Brazil was successful in a few other sports: Emerson Fittipaldi was Formula One champion in 1972, Éder Jofre was a boxing world champion in 1973.

The militaries inundated the Television and media with nationalist propaganda, reassuring how the Brazilian sportsmen were invincible, and how certain the victory in Germany was.

So, Brazilians considered themselves to be the favourite to win the Cup in Germany.

The matches

It didn't take long for Brazil to realize how much they would miss Pelé.

1974 World Cup poster
Tip and Tap
Mascots 1974

Not only didn't Brazil win the first two matches against Yugoslavia and Scotland, but the team was not even capable of scoring one single goal; those adversaries were playing very defensively, but this was more than expected (afterall, they would be facing the superteam of the World Cup).

Brazil started the third match against Zaire knowing that only a victory by a lead of three goals would keep the team in the Cup (Scotland had beaten Zaire by only 2 x 0, whereas the Yugs had done 9 x 0).
Brazil won by 3 x 0; the third goal came only at 35' of the second half, when Valdomiro kicked from nearly the corner pole and the naive goalkeeper failed.

Brazil played next against the Democratic Republic of Germany.
In a free kick, Rivelino shoots, Jairzinho ducks, the ball passes through the gap left by Jair and deceives the German goalkeeper. Brazil won by 1 x 0.

Next, Brazil beat their most traditional rival, Argentina, by 2 x 1.
Brazil had control of the game, Rivelino and Jair scored, it seemed that Brazil was, at last, cranking up.

The next match would be against Netherlands.
The Dutch were the biggest surprise of the Cup.
In the Eurocup of 1972, the Dutch was eliminated in the first stage by Yugoslavia.

In the World Cup, they had an ordinary first stage (Holland 2 x 0 Uruguay, Holland 0 x 0 Sweden, Holland 4 x 1 Bulgaria), and gained momentum in the second stage (Holland 4 x 0 Argentina, Holland 2 x 0 Democratic Germany).

When asked about Holland, Zagallo acted arrogant. He said he was not worried; "we shouldn't worry about the Dutch, the Dutch should be worried about us".

The actual match proved how wrong Zagallo was.
The first half was tight; Neeskens scored first at 5' of second half, and Cruyff scored the second at 20'.
Irritated, Zagallo left the field showing three fingers to the Dutch crowd, meaning "we are three times champions", as if it mattered anything that moment.

1974 World Cup poster
Poster 1974

Brazil disputed the third place against Poland. Even winning, it would already be a bad enough campaign. Brazil lost by 1 x 0; Lato scored the Polish goal at 30' of second half. Brazil finished that Cup in fourth place.

After winning Brazil, the Dutch were acclaimed the new kings of football. "They played football in a way we hadn't seen before, with skill, strength, intelligence and attitude merged together into a mixture that was uniquely theirs". Read more about the Holland team of 1974.

Unfortunately for the Dutch, the Germans didn't care about the hype.
If Holland had Cruijff, Germany had Beckenbauer. With help from fellows the caliber of Gerd Muller, Breitner, Overath and others, Beckenbauer led Germany to the victory by 2 x 1.

Many say that, in 1974, the best team, the Dutch, did not win. Many say the same about the Hungarians in 1954 and the Brazilians in 1982.
Certainly, a little bit of humbleness would have been helpful to the Dutch in 1974, and to the Brazilians, in 1982.

World Cup 1974 - Other info

»FIFA Archives of the 1974 World Cup.

»On return to Brazil, the team was received with boos and threatens.
Zagallo was considered the main culprit for the failure.

»Zagallo had to wait twenty years to regain the respect of Brazilian fans, but he eventually did it.
In 1994, the coach was Carlos Alberto Parreira, who had worked with Zagallo in 1970 (Parreira was then physical instructor); Parreira invited Zagallo to be assistant coach.
Brazil won that Cup, and Zagallo's presence made a difference.
Not even the failure in France 1998 stained Zagallo's reputation; he was, again, assistant coach in the 2006 World Cup.
Being the only person in the World to have won four World Cups, Zagallo, a classic coach according to FIFA, is considered today one of the greatest idols of Brazilian football .

»In a historic match, the Democratic Republic of Germany beat the Federal Republic of Germany by 1 x 0. This was the last match of the First Round. The Federal Germany knew that, if they won, they would be, in the Second Round, in the same group as Brazil and Holland. Rumours say that Federal Germany was not really interested in winning that match (they'd rather winning the Cup).
The Germans do not shame for being pragmatic. In 1982, also in the last match of the First Round, Germany and Austria would meet. The Germans were in a tight situation, for they had lost to Algeria in their first match. A German winning by 1 x 0 or 2 x 0 would qualify both Germany and Austria to the next stage; an Austrian winning or a German winning by a lead of three or more would qualify Algeria. The match: Germany score 1 x 0 at 10' of first half; in the remaining 80 minutes, the two teams just rolled the ball around.

»Ademir da Guia was son of Domingos da Guia, who played in the Brazilian defense of the 1938 World Cup. Domingos was black; Ademir was albino. Many people said that Ademir, who led Palmeiras to bi-championship of the Brazilian tournament in 1972 and 1973, should have played more in the Cup; he only played in the last match, against Poland.