Thursday, July 9, 2009

S Africa strike hits stadium work


Some 70,000 construction workers in South Africa have gone on strike, halting work on stadiums being built for the 2010 World Cup.
Unions are threatening to wreck the tournament if their demands for a 13% wage increase are not met.
Organisers say they are confident the grounds will still be ready, unless the strike continues for months.
On Monday judges rejected a request from the employers to outlaw the strike, which unions say is indefinite.
The BBC's Mpho Lakaje in Soweto says scores of workers are outside Soccer City stadium wearing blue overalls and brandishing sticks.
"We are struggling for our country," they chanted after downing their tools at midday.
The government must help us, otherwise we are going to delay 2010
Union spokesman Lesiba Seshoka
South Africa passes World Cup test
Soccer City union organiser Patrick Geqeza blamed management inflexibility for precipitating the strike.
"We feel bad about going on strike. [But] they don't want to meet us half way," he told AP news agency.
At present most of the workers are being paid 2,500 rand ($310; £192) a month.
Map of stadiums The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), whose members include construction workers, has rejected the 10% wage increase offer from employers.

World Cup: One year to go
"The government must help us, otherwise we are going to delay 2010. We will strike until 2011," AFP news agency quoted NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka as saying.
Protesters outside Durban's Moses Mabhida Stadium were forced to disperse because their application to protest was turned down, the South African Press Association reported.
Before they left, the NUM's Bhekani Ngcobo told workers the union would make sure that no temporary labourers were employed.
Five entirely new stadiums are being built for the World Cup, while five are being modernised.
Danny Jordaan, head of the World Cup organising committee, said he respected the right of the workers to strike but felt the dispute would be resolved without affecting the construction schedule.
"The construction workers have been the lifeblood of the 2010 Fifa World Cup project," he said in a statement.
"Their hard work has ensured that we are on track to meet our deadlines and that our stadiums will be among the best in the world next year."
Correspondents say if the strike continues projects such as the high-speed rail link between the airport and Johannesburg will be of greater concern than the stadiums.
The rail-link is scheduled to be operational just two weeks before the tournament starts.
The next World Cup will be the first to be hosted by an African country.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

FIFA.com - Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)

FIFA.com - Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)

O show de Ronaldo e os ricos salários dos "pernas-de-pau" da Inglaterra


Nunca, em nenhum estádio do mundo, tantos torcedores compareceram à apresentação de um novo jogador como na segunda-feira em Madri.
Mais de oitenta mil torcedores do Real Madrid foram ao estádio Santiago Bernabéu para ver e ouvir Cristiano Ronaldo pela primeira vez com o uniforme branco que deu o apelido de merengue ao clube madrilenho.
Ronaldo conseguiu arrastar ao estádio um público duas vezes maior do que Kaká. Bem à vontade e mostrando estar adorando toda a adulação, o craque português desfilou, deu autógrafos, fez firulas com a bola, beijou uma jornalista e comandou um coro de "Viva Madrid!"
Existe uma grande expectativa de que o time montado pelo novo presidente Florentino Pérez seja capaz de levar o Real Madrid de volta às campanhas vitoriosas do passado, principalmente com a conquista do décimo título da Champions League na história do clube.
Até porque a partida final do torneio, marcada para 22 de maio de 2010, será disputada no mesmo Santiago Bernabéu que acolheu Ronaldo tão carinhosamente.
A exigente torcida do Real não quer ficar de fora desta festa

Os salários dos jogadores de futebol devem ser limitados?


Ricardo Acampora
8/07/2009, 03:41 PM
Pelé resolveu entrar na discussão sobre a necessidade de se impor um limite aos salários dos jogadores de futebol. O ex-jogador disse que o teto salarial evitaria os abusos e distorções que existem atualmente e que podem acabar prejudicando o esporte.
Pelé se junta assim a Sepp Blatter, o presidente da Fifa, a Michel Platini, presidente da Uefa e a vários presidentes e técnicos de clubes de diversas ligas europeias.
A divulgação dos novos salários de Kaká (9 milhões de euros, aproximadamente R$ 24 milhões) e de Cristiano Ronaldo (13 milhões de euros) voltou a aquecer o debate. O presidente do Real Madrid, Florentino Pérez disse que dinheiro pago a craque "não é despesa, é investimento, pois eles se pagam com sobras".
E esse é exatamente o ponto central da controvérsia. Ninguém se importa se os super craques ganham bem, são as estrelas maiores de um negócio cada vez mais milionário.
Mas ninguém é inocente. O valor do passe, acrescido de salários, bônus e lucro saem da receita dos clubes, o que no final das contas vale dizer que são pagos pelos torcedores, que vão aos jogos, que compram camisas e brindes, que veem as partidas pela TV, que consomem os produtos das marcas estampadas nas camisas, nas placas de publicidade dos estádios e nos comerciais de TV durante as transmissões dos jogos.
Essa é a regra do jogo.
Aqui na Inglaterra, o tema tem provocado sempre muita polêmica. Segundo pesquisas recentes, a Premier League tem a média salarial mais elevada de todos os campeonatos europeus, e quase certamente de todo o mundo, 21 mil libras por semana, ou um salário equivalente a R$ 265 mil por mês.
A folha de pagamentos do Chelsea no ano passado passou dos R$ 540 milhões.
E o fenômeno não se limita aos times de ponta. O West Ham, time aqui de Londres que terminou em nono lugar no último campeonato, gastou com salários dos jogadores e técnicos 75% de tudo o que arrecadou na temporada.
Talvez o melhor exemplo da distorção que os altos salários têm provocado se encontre no Newcastle United, que foi rebaixado para a segunda divisão.
O clube tem encontrado muita dificuldade em vender pelo menos 10 de seus jogadores que estão sendo cobicados por outros clubes daqui e de outros países, simplesmente porque ganham salários inflacionados, que segundo o mercado, não condizem com a capacidade técnica que demonstram em campo.
Essa inflação do mercado que tanto eleva o salário do craque como o do jogador medíocre, tem aumentado constantemente o custo para o torcedor que acompanha seu time.
Segundo o jornal inglês The Guardian, nesta última temporada o custo médio para se assistir a um jogo da Premier League, fora de casa, ou seja, ali incluído custo de transporte, ficou em 90 libras (quase R$ 300).
Por enquanto os números da bilheteria não têm sido afetados pelos altos custos e os clubes ingleses ainda aparecem no alto das listas dos mais ricos do mundo.
Resta saber até quando o torcedor médio vai se conformar em financiar salários desproporcionais.
Mais de 40% já disseram que apoiam a introdução dos tetos salariais. Parece que o Pelé não vai ficar sozinho.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


France 1998




Teams: 32
When: 10 June 1998 to 12 July 1998
Final: 12 July 1998
Matches: 64
Goals: 171 (average 2.7 per match)
Attendance: 2785100 (average 43517)
Winner: France
Runners-Up: Brazil
Third: Croatia
Fourth: Netherlands
adidas Golden Ball: RONALDO (BRA)
adidas Golden Shoe: Davor SUKER (CRO)
Yashin Award for the Best Goalkeeper: Fabien BARTHEZ (FRA)
FIFA Fair Play award: England, France
FIFA Award for the Most Entertaining Team: France


The home of tournament founder Jules Rimet, France enjoyed an unforgettable summer as its footballers finally tasted FIFA World Cup glory, Zinedine Zidane leading Les Bleus to victory over Brazil in the Final. France 98 was the first finals with an enlarged cast of 32 teams and among the newcomers were a Croatia side who, fired by the goals of top scorer Davor Suker, confounded expectations by finishing third.


The home of Jules Rimet, the father of the FIFA World Cup™, France finally claimed the crown for itself in the summer of 1998. If an unforgettable summer for the new champions – who had tasted semi-final defeat twice a decade before – it was also a memorable one for the old tournament which was now bigger than ever before.
The 16th FIFA World Cup comprised 32 teams for the first time. The greater number of qualifying places meant more opportunities for teams from Africa, Asia and CONCACAF – in this case, first-time qualifiers South Africa, Japan and Jamaica. The eight groups of four were spread out across France but the venue for the Opening Match and Final was the showpiece Stade de France just north of Paris. It was there that holders Brazil kicked off the tournament with a 2-1 victory over Scotland, achieved thanks to Tom Boyd's own goal.
The great surprise of the first round was the failure of Spain, who paid for a poor start in Group D. After losing 3-2 to Nigeria and drawing with Paraguay, Javier Clemente's side put six past Bulgaria but the grandstand finish proved in vain. Paraguay beat group winners Nigeria on the same night and qualified at Spain's expense.
Elsewhere, Romania finished top of Group G ahead of England and Colombia and celebrated with peroxide crops – a touch premature given their exit in the next round. In Group A, Kjetil Rekdal's last-minute penalty secured Norway victory over Brazil and progress ahead of Morocco. Iran bowed out early with the consolation prize of a win against the United States. The supporters of Scotland and Jamaica left happy memories of their stay as they headed for home.
Drama in Saint-EtienneThe tie of the Round of 16 came in Saint-Etienne, where England and Argentina played out an epic contest. The first half was a mini-classic in itself: after a penalty for each side inside the first ten minutes, the teenage Michael Owen's goal of the tournament put England ahead before Javier Zanetti finished off a clever free-kick to equalise on the stroke of half-time.
After the break, goals gave way to sheer drama: David Beckham sent off for kicking out at Diego Simeone, Sol Campbell's 'winner' disallowed for a foul on the goalkeeper, extra time and penalties. Carlos Roa saved England's final spot-kick from David Batty and Argentina were through. France, meanwhile, had home nerves jangling as they moved slowly towards their date with destiny. It took a 113th-minute golden goal from Laurent Blanc – the first in the competition's history – to break the resistance of a Paraguay side led by charismatic goalkeeper Jose Luis Chilavert. Italy were their quarter-final opponents, and this time it was the thickness of the woodwork which came to their rescue. Roberto Baggio flashed a free header past the post late in extra time, then Luigi Di Biagio rattled the bar with the decisive kick in the shoot-out, ensuring the Azzurri a third successive dose of penalty heartache.
Shoe fits for Suker In the semi-final, the hosts faced the tournament's surprise package, Croatia. Entering their first FIFA World Cup since independence from the former Yugoslavia, Miroslav Blazevic's check-shirted charges upset European champions Germany 3-0 in the quarter-final before silencing the Stade de France when adidas Golden Shoe winner Davor Suker struck shortly after the break against France. Cometh the hour, cometh the man, however – right-back Lilian Thuram choosing the perfect moment to score his first ever international goals and send France into their first Final.
Marseille staged the other semi-final between Brazil and a Netherlands side full of confidence after eliminating Argentina through an exquisite Dennis Bergkamp strike. After Ronaldo and Patrick Kluivert traded goals, Brazil prevailed on penalties leaving the Dutch to ponder another near thing.So to 12 July when, to borrow a line from La Marseillaise, "the day of glory arrived". It was a game that began with the mystery of Ronaldo's late reinstatement on the team sheet in place of Edmundo. Amid reports of a pre-match fit, Ronaldo was a strange shadow of his usual self and France, despite the absence of the suspended Blanc, were soon in command. Two Zidane headers from corners gave them a 2-0 interval lead. Despite Marcel Desailly's second-half dismissal, Aime Jacquet's side even managed a third as Emmanuel Petit concluded a counterattack in the last minute.
The final whistle from Moroccan referee Said Belqola, the first African to officiate at a FIFA World Cup Final, was the signal for the entire population to celebrate. A team representing the multi-racial mix of the modern France had united the nation. The Champs Elysees alone attracted over a million revellers, who danced through the long night.

USA 1994





Teams: 24
When: 17 June 1994 to 17 July 1994
Final: 17 July 1994
Matches: 52
Goals: 141 (average 2.7 per match)
Attendance: 3587538 (average 68991)
Winner: Brazil
Runners-Up: Italy
Third: Sweden
Fourth: Bulgaria
adidas Golden Ball: ROMARIO (BRA)
adidas Golden Shoe: Oleg SALENKO (RUS),
Hristo STOICHKOV (BUL)
Yashin Award for the Best Goalkeeper: Michel PREUDHOMME (BEL)
FIFA Fair Play award: Brazil
FIFA Award for the Most Entertaining Team: Brazil


The United States staged a hugely successful 15th FIFA World Cup that became the best attended in history and ended with Brazil celebrating their first world title since 1970. Forwards Romario and Bebeto were the Brazilians' star performers while Roberto Baggio shone equally brightly for Italy despite his penalty miss that concluded the first ever Final shoot-out. While Sweden finished third, the undoubted surprise package were their fellow semi-finalists Bulgaria.


The United States was the setting for a hugely successful 15th FIFA World Cup™ which drew record crowds and ended with Brazil celebrating their first world title since 1970. If the Final itself was a disappointment, Brazil beating Italy on penalties after a goalless draw, there were no complaints about the entertainment that had gone before.
There were plenty of goals – 141 was the highest total since 1982 – and no shortage of drama. Bulgaria, who had never won a FIFA World Cup match in 16 previous attempts, provided the biggest upset by beating Germany en route to the semi-finals. Argentina's 1986 hero Diego Maradona, meanwhile, tested positive for drugs and was expelled from the tournament, his team following suit soon after by losing a five-goal thriller to Gheorghe Hagi's Romania.
It was a tournament that was also touched by tragedy. Colombia defender Andres Escobar was murdered on his return home having scored an own goal against the United States in a group match that confirmed the South Americans' surprise early elimination. That result took the hosts into the second round where they were hardly disgraced in going down 1-0 to a Brazil side who proved the world's best.
Huge crowds 'Soccer' in the US has never held the widespread appeal of basketball, baseball and American football and it came as a surprise to many when the country was granted the honour of hosting the FIFA World Cup. In choosing the USA, however, FIFA President Joao Havelange was bidding to conquer football's final frontier and it proved the right decision with the event attracting a record total attendance of 3,587,538 spectators.
Another record of 147 countries entered qualifying but some of the expected European contenders did not make it, notably reigning continental champions Denmark, England and a France side eliminated by a Bulgarian goal in the last second of their last qualifier. The surprises did not end there. The first round, where a win was now worth three points, threw up several of them. Italy went down 1-0 to Ireland in their opening game and scraped into the Round of 16 as one of the best third-placed teams.
If Colombia's aforementioned demise was unexpected, so few people had predicted that Saudi Arabia would survive the group stage yet they won twice. Indeed Saudi striker Saeed Owairan struck arguably the tournament's finest goal, a slaloming run and shot that beat Belgium. Russia's Oleg Salenko managed his own scoring feat, establishing a new record after netting five times in a 6-1 victory over Cameroon. Roger Milla's goal in the same fixture, meanwhile, meant he broke his own record as the FIFA World Cup's oldest scorer – at 42 years, one month and eight days.
'The Divine Ponytail'Another African team, Nigeria, were 90 seconds away from overcoming Italy in the Round of 16 only for Roberto Baggio to rescue the Azzurri's ten men. The African champions had topped their group and threatened a major shock before Baggio's equaliser and extra-time winner. The 'Divine Ponytail' was in the form of his life. His late goal downed Spain in the last eight before he then struck twice more to deflate Bulgaria in the semi-finals. This after the Bulgarians, with their own inspirational figure in Hristo Stoichkov, had astonished everybody by putting out the holders, Germany.
Stoichkov would eventually share the adidas Golden Shoe with Salenko but for another of the tournament's star forwards, Romario, an even greater prize beckoned. He and strike partner Bebeto both found the net in an exciting 3-2 quarter-final defeat of the Netherlands – a game that featured the latter's famous baby-cradling goal celebration in honour of his new-born son. Romario then registered the only goal of the semi-final against a Sweden side who produced their best performance since 1958 by finishing third.
So to the Final in Pasadena, a repeat of the 1970 climax and a contest between two countries who had already collected three world titles each. In theory, it was a dream finale but the reality was a stalemate. For the first time, the destiny of the trophy would be decided by penalties and, cruelly, it was Baggio, who had done so much to get Italy there, who missed the crucial last kick. His right leg heavily bandaged to protect his injured hamstring, the little No10 lifted the ball high into the blue California sky and Brazil were champions again, 24 years after their last success.
Captained by the tough-tackling Dunga, this Brazil may have lacked some of the flair of previous incarnations but Carlos Alberto Parreira's squad were perfectly prepared and boasted a formidable front pair in Romario and Bebeto. With those two in tandem, Parreira could even afford to leave a 17-year-old called Ronaldo on the bench. But more of him later...

Italy 1990





Teams: 24
When: 08 June 1990 to 08 July 1990
Final: 08 July 1990
Matches: 52
Goals Scored: 115 (average 2.2 per match)
Attendance: 2516348 (average 48391)
Winner: Germany FR
Runners-Up: Argentina
Third: Italy
Fourth: England
adidas Golden Ball: Salvatore SCHILLACI (ITA)
adidas Golden Shoe: Salvatore SCHILLACI (ITA)
FIFA Fair Play award: England


When Lothar Matthaus lifted the FIFA World Cup for Germany, it was an undoubted triumph for Franz Beckenbauer, who became only the second winner of the trophy as both player and coach. If low on goals, Italy 1990 was certainly high on drama – from the feats of Italy's top scorer Toto Schillaci via the tears of England's Paul Gascoigne to the historic run of Roger Milla's Cameroon to the quarter-finals.



West Germany lifted the FIFA World Cup™ for the third time in 1990 as they avenged their Final defeat by Argentina four years earlier, overcoming the holders 1-0 in Rome. Their victory was a real triumph for Franz Beckenbauer, who became only the second man to win the world crown as first a player and then a coach.
The 1990 finals set an unwanted record as the lowest-scoring tournament, with just 2.21 goals per game, but there was certainly no lack of colour or drama. The Opening Match alone provided one of the FIFA World Cup's most memorable upsets, with Cameroon beating Argentina at a magnificently revamped San Siro. With Roger Milla enjoying his finest hour, Cameroon would go on and make history.
This was Italy's second time to host the FIFA World Cup. Fifty-six years on from their 1934 triumph on home soil, they spared no expense in ensuring the competition was a success. Ten stadiums around the peninsula received a complete facelift while two vast new arenas were built in Turin and Bari. There was a stickman mascot named Ciao yet the real symbol of the tournament for Italian fans soon became Salvatore 'Toto' Schillaci, a striker without an international goal to his name before June 1990.
Neutrals' favourites The tournament's first round went largely as expected, with the notable exception of newcomers Costa Rica beating both Scotland and Sweden to reach last 16. The Republic of Ireland, managed by former England defender Jack Charlton, added another touch of romance by advancing to the last eight on their debut appearance. Those achievements had nothing on Cameroon's run to the quarter-finals, however. The Indomitable Lions were the neutrals' favourites and in the 38-year-old Milla had a genuine star.
The veteran striker had to be persuaded to come out of semi-retirement on Reunion Island to play in Italy but after stepping off the bench against Romania, he scored the two goals that took Cameroon into the second round. When he then repeated the feat against Colombia – cue that famous corner-flag shuffle – Africa had its first quarter-finalists. They might have gone further too save for two Gary Lineker penalties that rescued England in a quarter-final where Cameroon led 2-1 with ten minutes to go. Still, the Lions' roar rang around the world – and Africa would have a third team at the next finals in 1994.
For England, driven by the skills and exuberance of Paul Gascoigne, victory over Cameroon earned them a first semi-final since 1966 but their luck ran out against old rivals West Germany in a captivating contest settled by penalties – and still remembered for Gascoigne's tears. That proved the Germans' toughest test en route to the trophy. Spearheaded by the Inter Milan trio of captain Lothar Matthaus, Jurgen Klinsmann and Andreas Brehme, West Germany had enjoyed 'home advantage' at the San Siro in their first five fixtures, including an impressive 4-1 success against Yugoslavia and a second-round defeat of a disappointing Dutch side.
Toto the unlikely hero As Italy found to their cost, however, home advantage only takes you so far. Their ride to the semi-finals included a Roberto Baggio wonder goal against Czechoslovakia and a FIFA World Cup record for goalkeeper Walter Zenga, who in keeping five clean sheets went 517 minutes unbeaten. However, their unlikely hero was the wild-eyed Schillaci, capped only once before the finals but scorer of six goals to earn himself the adidas Golden Shoe. Unfortunately for Azeglio Vicini's side, their dreams of a home triumph died at Argentina's hands in Naples.
This was not the Argentina of 1986 but Diego Maradona was still there, his presence dividing the Naples public who worshipped him for his heroics for local favourites Napoli, that season's Serie A champions. Further inspiration came from fellow attacker Claudio Caniggia, scorer of a fine second-round winner against Brazil, and also goalkeeper Sergio Goycochea. A replacement for Nery Pumpido, who broke his leg in the second match, he had made vital saves against Brazil and again in the penalty shoot-out against a strong Yugoslavia side in the quarter-finals. Against Italy he did it once more, his two penalty saves sending Argentina to the Final after a 1-1 draw.
Goycochea could not repeat those heroics in Rome, though, and was beaten by Brehme's 85th-minute penalty that decided a poor Final. Argentina, missing the suspended Canigga, became the first finalists not to score and also the first to have a player sent off when Gustavo Dezotti was dismissed. By the end another Argentinian had seen red, Pedro Monzon, but the better team had won. Sixteen years after captaining West Germany to the FIFA World Cup, coach Beckenbauer had done it again. And in winning their third title, Germany now joined Italy and Brazil as the football world's most successful nations.

Mexico 1986




Teams: 24
When: 31 May 1986 to 29 June 1986
Final: 29 June 1986
Matches: 52
Goals: 132 (average 2.5 per match)
Attendance: 2393331 (average 46025)
Winner: Argentina
Runners-Up: Germany FR
Third: France
Fourth: Belgium
adidas Golden Ball: Diego MARADONA (ARG)
adidas Golden Shoe: Gary LINEKER (ENG)
FIFA Fair Play award: Brazil


The FIFA World Cup™ returned to Mexico for a tournament marked by the mastery of Diego Maradona. Argentina overcame West Germany in an exciting Final but the defining match was a quarter-final against England featuring two of history's most famous goals: the 'Hand of God' followed by the dribble of a genius. Michel Platini's France again lost out in the semi-finals before beating surprise package Belgium to third place.


Mexico became the first country to stage the FIFA World Cup™ finals for a second time when football's greatest show returned to the site of Brazil's 1970 triumph, but this time it was Argentina who shrugged off the heat and high altitude to emerge victorious, inspired by their captain Diego Maradona who dominated the tournament in a way that arguably only Pele had done before.
The statistics tell that Argentina's celebrated No10 scored five and created another five of his team's 14 goals en route to a 3-2 Final victory over West Germany, runners-up for the second successive tournament. Yet that was only half the story. The majesty of one of Maradona's strikes and the notoriety of another seemed to capture the essence of a man described by France's L'Equipe newspaper as "half-angel, half-devil".
Both those goals came in a 2-1 quarter-final victory over England at the Azteca Stadium that became an instant classic. The first, in Maradona's words, came from the 'Hand of God', the little playmaker raising an arm and flipping the ball past Peter Shilton as the big goalkeeper came out to punch clear. The second, just three minutes later, was from the feet of a genius: picking the ball up inside his own half, 'Dieguito' set off on a dribble which left five England players, Shilton included, trailing in his wake before he found the net.
Mexico had earned the right to host the 1986 FIFA World Cup after Colombia withdrew citing financial reasons. A terrible earthquake in September 1985 provided a tragic prelude – some 20,000 people died – but the stadiums were not affected and the country revived to stage a memorable tournament.
Lineker's goal rushIf Maradona was the star attraction, there were other heroes, among them England striker Gary Lineker, winner of the Golden Shoe. Lineker struck six goals – three of them in a decisive group game against Poland – to help his side recover from a poor start and the loss of injured captain Bryan Robson. With England trailing 2-0 to Argentina, he narrowed the deficit and came within a whisker of a late equaliser.
Denmark, one of three newcomers alongside Canada and Iraq, lit up the early stages with an attacking approach that earned them three straight wins, one over West Germany, and the nickname 'Danish dynamite'. Their forward line included Michael Laudrup and Preben Elkjaer, who scored a hat-trick in the 6-1 demolition of Uruguay.
USSR recorded the biggest victory of the first round, 6-0 over Hungary, and impressed with a team packed with players from UEFA Cup Winners' Cup winners Dynamo Kiev – notably Igor Belanov, soon to be voted the 1986 European Player of the Year – and put together at short notice by that club's coach, Valeriy Lobanovskyi.
Like the Danes, the Soviets won their first-round group but came unstuck in the second round, losing 4-3 to Belgium. Belanov's treble in Leon that day made him the third man to have struck a FIFA World Cup hat-trick yet finished on the losing side. Denmark's demise was even more dramatic: beaten 6-1 by a Spain side for whom Emilio Butragueno struck four times.
Morocco make historyThis FIFA World Cup had a change of format, with the second group stage dropped in favour of a last-16 knockout round. This meant the four best third-placed teams all progressed but there was no need of a 'second chance' for Morocco, who became the first African team to survive the first round by winning their group thanks to a 3-1 success over Portugal, before succumbing to West Germany.
The Germans then needed a penalty shoot-out to get past hosts Mexico for whom Manuel Negrete had earlier scored one of the finals' best goals, a spectacular scissors-kick against Bulgaria. Three of the four quarter-finals were settled this way. While Belgium – with eccentric goalkeeper Jean-Marie Pfaff prominent – overcame Spain, France ended the hopes of Brazil in a contest described by Pele as "historic".
France, the European champions, had already eliminated holders Italy but they faced a more formidable rival in the South Americans who, with the score at 1-1, missed a chance of victory when goalkeeper Joel Bats saved Zico's penalty. Although Michel Platini missed his effort in the ensuing shoot-out, fellow midfielder Luis Fernandez struck to send France through. Unfortunately for Les Bleus, they had to settle for third place after falling once again to West Germany in the semi-final.
Maradona scored another goal to remember in Argentina's victory over Belgium in the other semi-final but Argentina's captain found it less easy in the final, shadowed as he was by Lothar Matthaus. One of the unsung heroes of Carlos Bilardo's team opened the scoring, Jose Luis Brown, a central defender in search of a club side. Jorge Valdano doubled the lead but the Germans fought back, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Rudi Voller both striking in a six-minute spell.
Not even Matthaus could keep Maradona quiet for 90 minutes, though, and parity lasted just three minutes. Maradona sent Jorge Burruchaga running clear in the 83rd minute and Argentina had their third goal and, with it, a second world crown.

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Spain 1982





Teams: 24
When: 13 June 1982 to 11 July 1982
Final: 11 July 1982
Matches: 52
Goals: 146 (average 2.8 per match)
Attendance: 2109723 (average 40571)
Winner: Italy
Runners-Up: Germany FR
Third: Poland
Fourth: France
adidas Golden Ball: Paolo ROSSI (ITA)
adidas Golden Shoe: Paolo ROSSI (ITA)
FIFA Fair Play award: Brazil


Paolo Rossi was the hero in Spain, his six goals propelling Italy to a third world crown. The Azzurri ran out 3-1 Final winners against a German team who had survived the competition's first penalty shoot-out in a dramatic semi-final against France. If Italy won gold, Brazil took a share of the glory for some scintillating football before succumbing to Rossi's hat-trick in the best game of this first 24-team finals.



Italy became world champions for the third time in 1982, their triumph on Spanish soil made memorable by the scoring feats of six-goal striker Paolo Rossi and an iconic celebration by Marco Tardelli. The romantic-minded may have shed a tear for Brazil and France – unlucky losers in two of the finest matches of any FIFA World Cup™ – but few begrudged Enzo Bearzot's men a 3-1 victory over a rugged West Germany team in a Final in which Rossi's opening goal secured him the Golden Shoe to complete a personal redemption story even more dramatic than the Italians' revival after a faltering start.Rossi had barely returned from a two-year ban from football – the result of his involvement in a match-fixing scandal – when the finals began and he failed to find the net in any of Italy's three group games, all of them drawn. Indeed the Italians only advanced ahead of Cameroon because they had scored one goal more. They came good when it counted, though, eliminating favourites Brazil in the second round thanks to a hat-trick from Rossi, who then struck twice more in the semi-final against Poland. Italy's other heroes included 40-year-old goalkeeping captain Dino Zoff and 18-year-old full-back Giuseppe Bergomi. Yet while Bergomi became the youngest Italian to appear on the world stage, Northern Ireland's Norman Whiteside surpassed Pele's record as the youngest player in the tournament's entire history – aged 17 years and 41 days. And his team provided one of the main shocks by beating Spain 1-0 to reach the second round.The 12th FIFA World Cup was the last to feature a fully leather ball but it broke new ground as the first involving 24 teams rather than 16. It also had a new format, incorporating three distinct phases: a first round comprising six groups of four teams, with the top two from each progressing; a second round with four groups of three from which the top team advanced; and then the semi-finals and Final. Algeria upset GermanyThe Netherlands, runners-up in 1974 and ’78, were the most prominent casualties of a qualifying campaign which yielded six first-time finalists: Algeria, Cameroon, El Salvador, Honduras, Kuwait and New Zealand. Two of that number made a significant impact in a first round which began with a surprise loss for holders Argentina, 1-0 against Belgium in Barcelona. Algeria then provided an even bigger upset by defeating European champions Germany 2-1 in their opening game, Rabah Madjer and Lakdar Belloumi, African Footballer of the Year, the scorers. Despite also defeating Chile, the Algerians were eliminated on away goals after Germany enjoyed an all-too-comfortable victory over Austria which allowed both European teams to advance. One consequence of the controversy was that in future tournaments, concluding first-round games would kick off at the same time.Cameroon could curse their luck too, heading home unbeaten after holding both Italy and a Poland side destined for third place. Honduras drew with the disappointing hosts Spain but for another of the new faces, El Salvador, there was embarrassment: they became the first side to ship ten goals in a FIFA World Cup game, losing 10-1 to Hungary for whom substitute Lazlo Kiss struck a hat-trick in record time (between the 69th and 76th minutes). Brazil dazzleThe real stars of the first round were Tele Santana’s Brazil. Widely considered the South Americans' best side since 1970, their strengths lay in a multi-talented midfield that featured Zico, Falcao, Socrates and Eder – the last two contributing a superb goal apiece in an opening 2-1 comeback victory over Russia. Brazil eliminated arch-rivals Argentina with a 3-1 triumph in their first second-phase game – Diego Maradona's frustration boiling over late on when he kicked Batista and was sent off – and went into their second fixture against Italy needing only a draw to secure a semi-final berth. But despite goals from Socrates and Falcao, Rossi's hat-trick sent them home. Missing the suspended Zbigniew Boniek, Poland offered the Italians little resistance in the semi-final but the same could not be said of France in their epic duel with Germany in Seville. A match rendered infamous by Harald Schumacher's unpunished assault on France substitute Patrick Battiston – knocked unconscious by the Germany goalkeeper as he chased a through-ball – it was also the first in the FIFA World Cup to be decided by penalties after the Germans retrieved a 3-1 deficit in extra time. After Schumacher had saved from Maxime Bossis, Horst Hrubech scored to ensure heartbreak for a French team who, driven by midfield maestros Michel Platini, Jean Tigana and Alain Giresse, had reached their first semi-final since 1958.Jaded by that gruelling contest, Jupp Derwall's team were second-best to Italy in the Final at the Santiago Bernabeu. The Azzurri shrugged aside a first-half Antonio Cabrini penalty miss as Rossi, Marco Tardelli and Alessandro Altobelli put Germany to the sword after the break. Breitner registered a late consolation but by then Tardelli had already provided the abiding image – racing away, arms pumping and screaming his joy to the world.
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Argetint 1978




Teams: 16
When: 01 June 1978 to 25 June 1978
Final: 25 June 1978
Matches: 38
Goals Scored: 102 (average 2.7 per match)
Attendance: 1546151 (average 40688)
Winner: Argentina
Runners-Up: Netherlands
Third: Brazil
Fourth: Italy
Golden Shoe: Mario KEMPES (ARG)
FIFA Fair Play award: Argentina


Hosts Argentina captured their first world title as the Netherlands suffered Final heartache for the second tournament running. Mario Kempes sealed Cesar Luis Menotti's side's triumph, scoring twice against the Dutch in the confetti-strewn cauldron of the Estadio Monumental to earn himself additional acclaim as top scorer. Brazil, denied a Final place by Argentina's 6-0 win over Peru, took third place from an enterprising Italy side.


Losing finalists at the very first FIFA World Cup™, Argentina's footballers reached the pinnacle on home soil 48 years later, propelled by the goals of Golden Shoe winner Mario Kempes and the fervour of their impassioned followers, whose snowstorms of shredded blue and white paper, swirling inside the stadiums in Buenos Aires and Rosario, offered a defining image. Amid Argentina's celebrations, there was sympathy for the Netherlands, runners-up for the second tournament running, following a 3-1 Final defeat at the Estadio Monumental. After Dirk Nanninga's header had equalised Kempes's first-half opener, the Dutch came within a whisker of winning when Rob Rensenbrink struck a post in the dying seconds of normal time. Destiny beckoned a reprieved Argentina, however, and Kempes and Daniel Bertoni seized the glory with extra-time strikes.
Kempes, the only foreign-based player in Argentina's squad, entered the tournament as the leading scorer in Spain with Valencia, and ended it with six goals – this despite his failure to find the net in the first round. He was not alone in a stuttering start: Cesar Luis Menotti's hosts defeated Hungary but were then fortunate to overcome France 2-1 before surrendering top spot in the section by losing 1-0 to Italy. Yet Menotti, who had omitted the 17-year-old Diego Maradona from his squad, would eventually earn the optimum reward for a philosophy of skilful, attacking football embodied by graceful little midfielder Osvaldo Ardiles.
African first, Scottish slalomThe opening phase witnessed a first African victory in the FIFA World Cup – debutants Tunisia beating Mexico 3-1 – while fellow newcomers Iran gained a point against Scotland. The only British representatives, Scotland recovered to defeat the Netherlands 3-2 in their final group fixture in Cordoba. Archie Gemmill conjured up a magical goal after a slaloming run around three defenders yet the Scots still departed early, the Dutch squeezing through on goal difference.
If Scotland's campaign was marred by Willie Johnston's failed doping test, this was a tournament touched by a bigger controversy, taking place as it did against the backcloth of Argentinian leader General Jorge Videla's oppressive military regime. There were other upsets: Brazil's players were unhappy when Welsh referee Clive Thomas blew for full time an instant before Zico's header crossed the line in a 1-1 first-round draw with Sweden; off the pitch, Argentina attacker Leopoldo Luque opted to play on despite the death of his brother in a car crash.
Arguably the best team to head home early were France, who caught the eye for more than the unfamiliar green-and-white striped shirts – loaned to them by local club Kimberley – which they wore against Hungary after a mix-up over kits. The 21-year-old Michel Platini, in particular, served notice of his impressive ability, striking his first goal on the world stage against Argentina.
As in 1974, the last eight teams split up into two sections and from Group A, it was the Netherlands who advanced to the final. Coached by the Austrian Ernst Happel, a former European champion with Feyenoord, they were missing Johan Cruyff – their long-time inspiration had chosen to miss the finals – and Wim van Hanagem, a last-minute withdrawal, yet only Kempes delivered more goals than Dutch forward Rensenbrink and after they had beaten Austria and held holders West Germany, the Oranje came from behind to overcome Italy in their final, decisive group match. Ernie Brandt scored at both ends before Arie Haan's long-range drive sent the Dutch through. On the same day, Hans Krankl fired Austria to a first victory for 47 years over the eliminated West Germans.
Brazil outgunnedEnzo Bearzot's Italy earned experience here that would serve them well four years later in Spain – and striker Paolo Rossi's three goals offered a hint of things to come from him – but they were denied bronze by the tournament's one unbeaten team, Brazil. The South Americans boasted a striker named Roberto Dinamite – not to mention a full-back, Nelinho, capable of outrageous, swerving strikes – but they had to settle for third place after being outgunned by arch-rivals Argentina in Group B.
After playing out a bad-tempered stalemate, the South American pair went into their deciding fixtures with three points each, and Brazil's subsequent 3-1 victory over Poland left Menotti's men needing to beat Peru by a four-goal margin later that day to reach the Final. With Teofilo Cubillas prominent, the Peruvians had beaten Scotland and held the Dutch in the first round but now they were already eliminated and Argentina ran riot, recording a 6-0 win. Among the scorers were Kempes – whose scoring touch had returned with the team's second-round relocation to his home city of Rosario – and Luque with two apiece.
Events that night ensured that in future, final group matches would kick off at the same time. The immediate consequence, however, was an Argentina-Netherlands Final on 25 June 1978. "Tulips in the Pampas?" asked French newspaper L'Equipe on the eve of the game. Instead it was tears once again for the team in orange as Albiceleste captain Daniel Passarella became the first Argentinian to hold aloft football's most famous prize.

Germany 1974





Teams: 16
When: 13 June 1974 to 07 July 1974
Final: 07 July 1974
Matches: 38
Goals: 97 (average 2.6 per match)
Attendance: 1768152 (average 46530)
Winner: Germany FR
Runners-Up: Netherlands
Third: Poland
Fourth: Brazil
Golden Shoe: Grzegorz LATO (POL)
West Germany were champions on home soil - and as in 1954 their victory came at the expense of a team widely considered the world's finest. Johan Cruyff's Netherlands were favourites before the Final but the hosts, beaten earlier in their competition by their East German neighbours, recovered from a first-minute Dutch goal to win. It was also a memorable tournament for Poland whom Gregorz Lato fired to third place.


This was the tournament of Total Football, a showcase for the majestic talents of Johan Cruyff and Franz Beckenbauer, who shone in the spotlight vacated by Pele, leading their respective Dutch and West German sides through to a Final showdown in Munich on 7 July 1974. As against Ferenc Puskas's Magnificent Magyars 20 years earlier, it was West Germany who emerged triumphant, coming from behind to claim their second world crown at the expense of the favourites.
It was a Final that began in sensational fashion. The Netherlands, who had scored 14 goals and conceded just one in six games previously, went in front before the Germans had even touched the ball. Cruyff, the waif-like wizard in the No14 shirt, set off on a dribble from the centre circle, stopped only by a foul from Uli Hoeness in the penalty box. The first spot-kick in a FIFA World Cup™ final. With little over a minute on the clock, Johan Neeskens made it 1-0.
The Dutch were toying with their rivals like a cat with a mouse but on 25 minutes the Germans, their pride piqued, regained parity as Paul Breitner converted another penalty after Bernd Hoelzenbein had gone down under Wim Jansen's challenge. With Berti Vogts managing to contain Cruyff, Gerd Muller, Golden Shoe winner four years earlier, then ensured West Germany's name would be the first etched on to the new FIFA World Cup Trophy when, two minutes before the break, he turned on a Rainer Bonhof cross and shot low past Jan Jongbloed.The solid-gold statuette that West Germany captain Beckenbauer held aloft, a replacement for the Jules Rimet Cup that Brazil had retained after 1970, was not the only novelty of Germany 1974. There was a new FIFA President in the Brazilian João Havelange, who had taken the place of Englishman Sir Stanley Rous. Moreover, there was a change of format, a second stage comprising two groups of four replacing the traditional knockout route of quarter-finals and semi-finals.
East Germany upset the neighboursEngland and Russia were prominent absentees – the former failing to qualify for the first time, the latter refusing to travel to a play-off in Chile on political grounds. Of the newcomers, East Germany made the biggest impact, upsetting their western neighbours 1-0 in Hamburg in the first round. Jurgen Sparwasser's 77th-minute strike meant the East Germans advanced as group winners, above Helmut Schoen's hosts.
Zaire – the first finalists from sub-Saharan Africa – provided the funniest moment when, in their game against Brazil, defender Ilunga Mwepu ran out of the defensive wall and booted the ball away, before an opposition player had even touched it. Meanwhile, Haiti – who had profited from hosting the final qualifying round in the North, Central American and Caribbean Zone – took a surprise lead against Italy in their opening match before succumbing 3-1, the first of three reverses for a team hampered by the subsequent loss of Ernst Jean-Joseph after a failed doping test.
West Germany made a shaky start, internal disagreements over bonuses giving way to unconvincing displays in the first round, where they earned jeers from their own supporters during a 3-0 win over Australia. Yet the defeat by East Germany did the reigning European champions a favour for they avoided facing the Netherlands, Argentina and Brazil in the second stage. Instead they overcame Yugoslavia and Sweden before winning their decisive final pool match against Poland. Muller got the only goal on a rain-drenched Frankfurt pitch though Sepp Maier's saves at the other end proved equally decisive against the tournament's surprise package.
Lato wins Golden ShoeThe Poles had raised eyebrows by eliminating England in qualifying but now they found a new level. With the midfield drive of Kazimierz Deyna and scoring threat of Grzegorz Lato – the seven-goal Golden Shoe winner – and Andrzej Szarmach, who hit five, they beat Argentina and Italy in the first round before then getting the better of the Swedes and Yugoslavians. They deservedly took third place at Brazil's expense.
The Brazilians were a shadow of the side that had triumphed in Mexico. They edged past Scotland – the tournament's only unbeaten side, ironically – on goal difference in the first round and despite defeating Argentina in the South Americans' first-ever FIFA World Cup meeting, they were denied a final place by a 2-0 loss to the Netherlands, Neeskens and Cruyff each scoring a fine goal.
This was the first FIFA World Cup since 1938 for the Oranje but, having also swept aside Argentina 4-0, they were now favourites to go on and win it. With the brains of coach Rinus Michels and brilliance of Cruyff, who had together brought glory to Ajax before departing for Barcelona, they would have made worthy winners. Yet West Germany had their own visionary in Beckenbauer, the man who revolutionised the libero's role, and their ability to rise to the occasion told when it mattered most.

Mexico 1970




Teams: 16
When: 31 May 1970 to 21 June 1970
Final: 21 June 1970
Matches: 32
Goals: 95 (average 3.0 per match)
Attendance: 1603975 (average 50124)
Winner: Brazil
Runners-Up: Italy
Third: Germany FR
Fourth: Uruguay
Golden Shoe: Gerd MUELLER (GER)
For the first time the FIFA World Cup™ was broadcast in colour and nothing could match the brilliance of Brazil's yellow shirts. With Pele rejuvenated and Jairzinho scoring in every game, Mario Zagallo's men were unstoppable – they beat Italy handsomely in the Final and, with this third triumph, retained the Jules Rimet Cup. If Brazil's tournament, others brought plenty to the party – not least ten-goal German marksman Gerd Muller.

For the first time the FIFA World Cup™ was broadcast in colour around the globe and tens of millions watched spellbound as Brazil brought added brilliance to the spectacle with a glorious exhibition of attacking football that deservedly earned them a third world crown. The Brazilians' 4-1 Final triumph over Italy gave them the right to keep the Jules Rimet Cup and provided the perfect farewell for Pele on his final appearance on the world stage.
Pele had threatened not to return after his bitter experience in England - where he was literally kicked out of the 1966 tournament - but he returned and took his place in a team rich in forward talent. The front five of Jairzinho, Pele, Gerson, Tostao and Rivelino were all No10s in their own right and together they created an irresistible attacking momentum. Nothing captured the beauty of their football better than their fourth goal in the Final at the cavernous Azteca Stadium, Pele teeing up his captain Carlos Alberto to conclude a seven-man move by arrowing a first-time shot past Enrico Albertosi and into the far corner.
There had been fears before the finals about the conditions facing the players - intense heat and high altitude - and these worries were exacerbated by the decision to stage matches at midday to suit European television schedules. It was not the only sign that times were changing: there were now two substitutes allowed per team, red and yellow cards for the referees, and an adidas ball, the white-and-black checked Telstar.
Banks' wonder saveThe highlight of the first round was the meeting of holders England and champions-elect Brazil. It featured the most famous save in FIFA World Cup history, Gordon Banks somehow stopping Pele's goal-bound header by pawing the ball out from the bottom corner and back up over the crossbar. Brazil won 1-0 through a goal by Jairzinho, who made history by scoring in every round, but this proved their stiffest test. England captain Bobby Moore, in particular, produced a career-defining performance that belied his pre-tournament difficulties, having been detained by the Colombian authorities in Bogota after he was falsely accused of stealing a bracelet.
There were promising showings by newcomers Israel – who qualified after Korea DPR refused to play them and duly held Italy 0-0 in their opening match - and also Morocco. The North Africans led against West Germany before eventually succumbing to Gerd Muller's late decider, the first of ten goals for the Golden Shoe winner.
Muller then registered successive hat-tricks against Bulgaria and Peru, before his extra-time strike decided a dramatic quarter-final against England. The West Germans trailed 2-0 with 23 minutes remaining in Leon before Franz Beckenbauer and Uwe Seeler brought them level. Ironically Geoff Hurst, scorer of a controversial goal against West Germany in the Final four years earlier, then had an effort disallowed before Muller's match-winning volley. England would bemoan the absence of goalkeeper Banks, taken ill beforehand, but for Helmut Schoen's men this first competitive win over the English was the sweetest possible revenge for 1966.
Semi-final thrillerThe Mannschaft's never-say-die spirit then helped produce an epic semi-final against Italy, which witnessed the highest-scoring additional period in the tournament's history. Karl-Heinz Schnellinger's 90th-minute equaliser forced extra time at 1-1, precipitating a flood of five goals, including another two for Muller, before Italy prevailed 4-3, European Footballer of the Year Gianni Rivera netting the winner against opponents whose captain Beckenbauer played on with a dislocated shoulder.
While West Germany would take third place, European champions Italy, who had earlier eliminated hosts Mexico, were now through to a first Final since 1938. But despite a defensive excellence personified by Giacinto Facchetti and the scoring touch of Gigi Riva, they were clear underdogs.
Brazil had dazzled en route to the Final. Mario Zagallo may have replaced Joao Saldanha as coach only three months earlier but his squad spent that time preparing intensively. After defeating Czechoslovakia, England and Romania, they reached the semi-finals by bettering a Peru side coached by the Brazilian Didi, a team-mate of Zagallo's in 1958 and 1962. The Peruvians had qualified for the finals at Argentina's expense and boasted exciting young striker Teofilo Cubillas but they could not contain the Seleção, going down 4-2.
Pele dummyBrazil then exorcised the demons of their 1950 Final defeat with a semi-final success against Uruguay. Trailing 1-0, they hit back through Clodoaldo, Jairzinho and Rivelino although more memorable was a moment of audacity by Pele that encapsulated his unique genius. Reaching Jairzinho's pass ahead of goalkeeper Ladislao Mazurkiewicz, he let the ball run past him. Mazurkiewicz's momentum left him stranded but Pele ran beyond the custodian, picked up the loose ball and shot narrowly wide.
It was Pele, seeking his third winner's medal, whose powerful header opened the scoring in the Final and although Roberto Boninsegna equalised, there was only going to be one outcome: Gerson, Jairzinho and Carlos Alberto struck in the second period and Brazil were champions. Even Rome's Messaggero newspaper had to admit the Azzurri "were beaten by the best footballers in the world".

England 1966





Teams: 16
When: 11 July 1966 to 30 July 1966
Final: 30 July 1966
Matches: 32
Goals: 89 (average 2.8 per match)
Attendance: 1635000 (average 51093)
Winner: England
Runners-Up: Germany FR
Third: Portugal
Fourth: Soviet Union
Golden Shoe: EUSEBIO (POR)


The country that invented football, England, finally found a formula for success on the world stage. Alf Ramsey's 'Wingless wonders' overcame Final opponents West Germany thanks to Geoff Hurst's historic hat-trick, though the debate over whether his middle strike crossed the line continues to this day. Eusebio was another scoring hero, his nine goals – four of them against Italy's surprise conquerors, Korea DPR – taking Portugal to third place.


England, the country that invented football, reached the summit of the global game on home soil in 1966 after defeating West Germany in one of the most exciting, and controversial, of all FIFA World Cup™ Finals.
Geoff Hurst was the hero of England's 4-2 Wembley triumph after completing a unique Final hat-trick with two extra-time goals, although doubts over the legitimacy of his second strike – which cannoned down off the underside of the crossbar and was adjudged by assistant referee Tofik Bakhramov to have landed behind the goalline – remain to this day.
It was not the only controversy of a tournament which the main South American contenders departed complaining bitterly and which featured other notable subplots in Korea DPR's sensational elimination of Italy and a memorable show of scoring power by Portugal's Eusebio, the nine-goal winner of the Golden Shoe.
Ramsey's visionFor England, the 1966 showpiece offered the opportunity to finally make their mark on the FIFA World Cup. Having come to the party late, their debut at the 1950 finals had brought embarrassment with defeat by the United States. Alf Ramsey, a defender in that 1950 team, became manager in 1963 with the aim of taking England into the modern age – which, for a start, meant no more team selection by committee. Ramsey championed unfashionable, hard-working players and his rejection of the 4-2-4 system in favour of 4-4-2 earned his side the sobriquet 'Wingless wonders'.
Key to their prospects were the two Bobbys, stylish central defender Moore and goalscoring midfielder Charlton, but they made an uninspiring start in a goalless Opening Match against Uruguay. Indeed the biggest talking point of their first-round campaign was a foul by Nobby Stiles on France's Jacques Simon which led some Football Association officials to request that Ramsey drop the tigerish midfielder – a request he ignored.
There was a false start from the organisers too with the theft of the Jules Rimet Cup. Stolen from an exhibition, it was found by a dog named Pickles under the hedge of a suburban garden in south-east London. Pickles was not the only furry hero of these finals for the FIFA World Cup had its first mascot, a lion called World Cup Willie.
It was in the north of England that the event really caught the imagination in the first round. In Liverpool, Brazil opened the defence of their crown with a 2-0 win over Bulgaria, Pele and Garrincha both scoring – and becoming, in the process, the first players to find the net in three successive FIFA World Cups. Yet that was as good as it would get for the holders.
A victim of some tough Bulgarian tackling, Pele missed Brazil's subsequent 3-1 loss to a Hungary team who, inspired by Florian Albert, delivered the South Americans' first defeat on the world stage since 1954. Although he returned for their third match against Portugal, Pele's threat was neutered by a cynical challenge by Morais and Otto Gloria's Portuguese took full advantage, Eusebio scoring twice in a 3-1 victory. It was the third straight win for the tournament newcomers yet Eusebio, the reigning European Footballer of the Year, had only just begun.
Koreans provide surpriseNext up for Portugal were the North Koreans, the finals' surprise package. They had qualified by beating Australia after the other Asian and African nations withdrew, protesting the decision to allow only one qualifier from their continents. A revelation with their skilful, fast-flowing football, they stunned Italy in their concluding group match, Pak Doo Ik's solitary goal at Ayresome Park catapulting them into the quarter-finals and sending the Azzurri home to a barrage of rotten tomatoes.
In a remarkable quarter-final at Goodison Park, the North Koreans threatened another upset by sweeping into a 3-0 lead inside 25 minutes. Yet remarkably they finished 5-3 losers after Eusebio dragged Portugal up off the floor, turning the game around almost singlehandedly with a virtuoso display that had brought him four goals by the hour mark.
Portugal eventually had to settle for third place after succumbing to two Bobby Charlton efforts in a semi-final against England where Eusebio, despite a late spot-kick, struggled to escape the shackles of Stiles. The hosts had previously won a bad-tempered quarter-final against Argentina – Hurst justifying his selection ahead of Jimmy Greaves by heading the only goal after Argentina captain Antonio Rattin's dismissal – and now only West Germany stood between them and the prize.
Helmut Schoen's side featured the 20-year-old Franz Beckenbauer, scorer of four goals en route to the Final – including two on his tournament debut in a 5-0 humbling of Switzerland. After Uwe Seeler's late winner against Spain had secured them first place in their group, the Mannschaft subsequently overcame Uruguay and Soviet Union sides both reduced to nine men by red cards. Helmut Haller and Beckenbauer beat the great Soviet goalkeeper Lev Yashin in their 2-1 semi-final success and it was Haller who would open the scoring in the Final.
Yet 30 July 1966 proved England's day. Although Wolfgang Weber silenced Wembley with an 89th-minute equaliser just when the hosts, leading through goals by Hurst and Martin Peters, seemingly had the game won, Ramsey's men came again, driven on by their youngest player, indefatigable midfielder Alan Ball. Hurst, who had registered only one international goal prior to the finals, netted twice more in extra time and it finally was all over.

Chile 1962



Teams: 16
When: 30 May 1962 to 17 June 1962
Final: 17 June 1962
Matches: 32
Goals: 89 (average 2.8 per match)
Attendance: 899074 (average 28096)
Winner: Brazil
Runners-Up: Czechoslovakia
Third: Chile
Fourth: Yugoslavia
Golden Shoe: Florian ALBERT (HUN),
Valentin IVANOV (URS),
Drazen JERKOVIC (YUG),
Leonel SANCHEZ (CHI),
VAVA (BRA),
GARRINCHA (BRA)

Brazil were worthy winners, beating Czechoslovakia in the Final to retain their crown in a tournament that showcased the sublime skills of Garrincha. With Pele injured, Garrincha ensured his colleague's absence was not felt, inspiring the Seleção to victory and finishing joint-top scorer in the process. This FIFA World Cup featured plenty else, including new 4-3-3 tactics and the infamous 'Battle of Santiago' between hosts Chile and Italy.

Garrincha was the inspiration for a Brazil side that flew across the Andes and mounted a successful defence of the Jules Rimet Cup in Chile in 1962. Amarildo, Zito and Vava scored the goals that defeated Czechoslovakia in the Final but there was no question who was the real hero of the Seleção's second FIFA World Cup™ triumph. "The most extraordinary right winger football has known" was French newspaper L'Equipe's description of Garrincha, the so-called 'Little bird' who was, at 25, at the very height of his powers.
Brazil's squad featured nine of their 1958 world champions, albeit under the guidance of a new coach in Aymore Moreira. Brother of Zeze, the man in charge in Switzerland in 1954, he took the reins after Vincente Feola stood down because of ill health. Moreira adopted a 4-3-3 formation and the holders opened with a 2-0 win over Mexico, Mario Zagallo and Pele scoring. It proved Pele's final contribution of note as early in Brazil's second game against Czechoslovakia, the 21-year-old pulled up with an injury to his left thigh. His tournament was over but with the magical dribbling skills and matchwinning prowess of Garrincha, and prominent contributions from Zagallo – a future world champion as a coach in 1970 – and Pele's replacement Amarildo, the Brazilians were able to shrug aside the absence of their injured No10.'Battle of Santiago'Chile had won the right to host the FIFA World Cup ahead of neighbours Argentina. Despite the host country having suffered the century's biggest earthquake two years earlier, on 30 May 1962 the finals opened with matches at the four venues of Santiago, Vina Del Mar, Rancagua and Arica. Santiago's new Estadio Nacional stood against the beautiful backcloth of the snow-capped Andes yet it staged one of the ugliest matches in the tournament's history in the first round, when Chile faced Italy. There were red cards for Italy's Giorgio Ferrini and Mario David and red mist all around. David's dismissal followed a neck-high kick aimed at Leonel Sanchez in retaliation for a punch by the Chilean, son of a boxer, who had earlier broken the nose of Umberto Maschio, one of Italy's naturalised South Americans. "The most stupid, appalling, disgusting and disgraceful exhibition of football" was the BBC's verdict. For the record, Chile won 2-0.Spain, like Italy, were early casualties. With Helenio Herrera, soon to conquer Europe with Inter Milan, at the helm and a host of stars from Real Madrid, including Ferenc Puskas – now appearing in Spanish rather than Hungarian red – they entered their final pool fixture against Brazil needing a positive result to reach the last eight. Amarildo shows the wayIt proved arguably the game of the round (albeit with fewer thrills than Colombia's fightback from three down to hold the Soviet Union 4-4). Puskas set up Adelardo Rodriguez to score and with Brazil bemused by Herrera's catenaccio tactics, Spanish hopes grew. Yet two late goals by Amarildo – the second with four minutes remaining – brought defeat and raised questions over why Alfredo Di Stefano, struggling with injury yet also seemingly at odds with his coach, had not featured once.
This was the first FIFA World Cup without play-offs to decide who should progress when a section's second and third-placed teams finished tied on points. Hence England advanced ahead of Argentina on goal average. They had defeated the Albiceleste 3-1 but lost by the same score to Brazil in the quarter-finals. England forward Jimmy Greaves halted a stray dog's incursion on to the field but there was no stopping Garrincha: after heading in the first, his half-saved free-kick set up Vava's second, before he settled matters with a swerving strike from distance.Brazil then defeated the hosts 4-2 in the semi-finals, Garrincha and Vava each netting twice to subdue opponents roared on by 80,000 fans. Chile, who would finish third, had earlier overcome the Soviets in one of several quarter-final surprises. Repeated interventions from goalkeeper Vilem Schroif and his goal frame helped Czechoslovakia beat Hungary, while it was third time lucky for Yugoslavia as they defeated the West Germany team who had ousted them at this stage in 1954 and 1958. The disappointed Germans' response? The introduction the next year of the professional Bundesliga.Masopust openerYugoslavia's luck ran out against semi-final opponents Czechoslovakia, Schroif starring again before two late Adolf Scherer strikes secured a 3-1 win. Rudolf Vytlacil's side had held Brazil to a first-round stalemate but were now clear underdogs, their prospects hardly helped by Garrincha's availability to play despite his sending-off in the semi-final. Yet, reappearing in the Final after a 24-year absence, they took a 15th-minute lead through Josef Masopust, their inspirational midfielder who would end the year with the Ballon D'Or. He timed perfectly his forward run to collect a Scherer pass and score. The lead was short-lived, however, Schroif beaten by Amarildo at his near post. Amarildo was not finished there, for with the scores level approaching the 70th minute, his turn and cross set up Zito to head Brazil in front. A Schroif spill then allowed Vava to seal the victory and join Garrincha and four others – Chile's Sanchez, Hungary's Florian Albert, Soviet Union's Valentin Ivanov and Yugoslavia's Drazen Jerkovic – at the top of the scoring table. With four goals each, all had a claim to the Golden Shoe. But the big prize was indisputably Brazil's again.

Sweden 1958





Teams: 16
When: 08 June 1958 to 29 June 1958
Final: 29 June 1958
Matches: 35
Goals: 126 (average 3.6 per match)
Attendance: 919580 (average 26273)
Winner: Brazil
Runners-Up: Sweden
Third: France
Fourth: Germany FR
Golden Shoe: Just FONTAINE (FRA)
Brazil's love affair with the FIFA World Cup™ began in earnest as they won the world title for the first time. A 17-year-old Pele introduced his prodigious skills to the world in Sweden, epitomising the Brazilians' attacking flair and scoring six goals – two of them in the Final against the hosts. Third-placed France caught the eye too with Just Fontaine striking a record 13 goals.


The long, sun-kissed days of a Swedish summer provided a golden backdrop to Brazil's first FIFA World Cup™ triumph in 1958, the year that a 17-year-old called Pele announced his presence to football fans around the globe.
With a newfound tactical organisation and two supreme attacking talents in Pele and Garrincha, Brazil beat Sweden 5-2 in the Final at the Rasunda Stadium to become the first team to capture the trophy on a different continent. The Brazilians were not the only heroes: France forward Just Fontaine set a record that stands to this day by scoring 13 times in six matches to help his country claim third place. Not bad for a player only starting because of an injury to first-choice Rene Bliard.
Under coach Vincente Feola, Brazil had left no stone unturned in readying themselves for the challenge of finally conquering the world. After three months' intensive preparations, they toured Europe in advance of the finals and arrived in Sweden with an extensive entourage that included a psychologist. Lining up in an innovative 4-2-4 system, Brazil did not call on either Pele or Garrincha until their final group game against the Soviet Union. Then, with Pele joining Vava in the attack and Garrincha taking up position on the flank, they won 2-0 to secure first place. Brazil had taken flight and Pele's first FIFA World Cup goal followed soon after in the quarter-final victory over Wales.
Hosts Sweden went into the finals boosted by the decision to allow professional footballers to play in the national team: this spelt the return of Italian-based exiles, notably Gunnar Gren and Nils Liedholm, stars of the team who had won the 1948 Olympic Football Tournament, and young goalscoring winger Kurt Hamrin. Yet their preparations were nothing like Brazil's – indeed Bengt Gustavsson, another of the Italian contingent, joined the squad just three days before their opening game.
Swedish cheerThe spirit was strong in Englishman George Raynor's Sweden squad but expectations low; after topping their group, some players packed their suitcases prior to the quarter-final against the Soviet Union. Yet they beat the Soviets and then overcame West Germany 3-1 in a Gothenburg semi-final. Sepp Herberger's German team featured the six-goal Uwe Rahn and Uwe Seeler, making the first five of his record 21 consecutive FIFA World Cup appearances. They were unhappy losers, upset by the flag-waving Swedish cheerleaders who – contrary to previous practice – maintained a chorus of support at pitchside throughout the match.
For the first time the FIFA World Cup received international television coverage, albeit not in eastern Europe because the system there was incompatible – a pity for the Soviet Union who were one of three new names alongside Wales and a Northern Ireland team who had qualified at the expense of Italy. With England and Scotland also present all four British home nations were involved for the first and so far only time. English hopes had been dented by the loss of several key players in the Munich air crash that February and though they held Brazil to a goalless draw – the first in the tournament's history – they lost a play-off for a quarter-final place with the Soviets, after finishing level on points.
Wales and Northern Ireland won their own first-round play-offs against Hungary and Czechoslovakia respectively. The Welsh had qualified for Sweden fortuitously – runners-up in their group, they were the lucky losers drawn to contest a play-off against Israel, whose own opponents had all withdrawn for political reasons. They took this lifeline and, despite the absence of the injured John Charles, went on to run Brazil close in the last eight before Pele's deflected goal.
Free-scoring French Having disposed of a Hungary side shorn of exiled stars like Ferenc Puskas and Sandor Kocsis, Northern Ireland went down to France in the quarter-finals. With Fontaine feeding off the creative brilliance of fellow forward Raymond Kopa, a newly crowned European champion with Real Madrid and that year's European Footballer of the Year, Les Bleus outscored even Brazil with 23 goals.
France's semi-final against Brazil proved the game of the tournament. Although Fontaine equalised Vava's early opener, a second Brazil goal from Didi ensured the South Americans a half-time lead. After the break Pele took over, his hat-trick inflicting a 5-2 defeat on rivals reduced to ten men by an injury to defender Bob Jonquet.
Brazil, now sporting hastily-acquired blue shirts to avoid a clash with the home team, struck another five in the Final, shrugging aside the setback of Liedholm's early opener for the Swedes. Vava and Pele – with two apiece – and Mario Zagallo, later a world champion as coach, all found the net. None was better than their third, Pele lobbing a defender before volleying the dropping ball past goalkeeper Karl Svensson. Brazil had already won the hearts of the home nation with their off-field friendliness and now they celebrated by parading a Swedish flag around the pitch. They also received the congratulations of King Gustav IV – royal approval for a victory sealed by a tearful teenager they would soon also call 'The King'.

Switzerland 1954



Teams: 16
When: 16 June 1954 to 04 July 1954
Final: 04 July 1954
Matches: 26
Goals: 140 (average 5.4 per match)
Attendance: 889500 (average 34211)
Winner: Germany FR
Runners-Up: Hungary
Third: Austria
Fourth: Uruguay
Golden Shoe: Sandor KOCSIS (HUN)
West Germany were surprise winners of the 1954 FIFA World Cup™, coming from two goals down to defeat Hungary in a Final forever remembered as the 'Miracle of Berne'. Hungary were unbeaten in 31 matches and scored 25 goals en route to the Final – eight of them against the Germans in the first round. Yet it was Fritz Walter, not Ferenc Puskas who picked up the Jules Rimet Cup.

Surpassing the shock of Uruguay's triumph four years earlier, West Germany became world champions in Switzerland by ending the proud 31-match unbeaten record of Hungary's 'Magical Magyars' in a Final forever remembered as the Miracle of Berne.
In the shadow of the Alps this was a mountain-sized upset, the Germans retrieving a two-goal deficit to record a 3-2 victory over opponents who had beaten them 8-3 just a fortnight before. Jules Rimet, the outgoing FIFA President, handed the eponymous trophy to Fritz Walter and the football world absorbed an important new lesson: never, ever, write off the Germans.
'The Galloping Major'Hungary went into the 1954 finals with the unofficial title of best team in the world. Olympic champions in 1952, they had recorded 23 wins and four draws during the preceding four years – their most celebrated victory a 6-3 humbling of England in November 1953 whereby they became the first foreign visitors to triumph at Wembley. The brightest star in the Hungarian firmament was Ferenc Puskas, the 'Galloping Major' with the fearsome left foot from the army team of Honved. Gusztav Sebes's side featured a rich seam of talent – notably Puskas's fellow forwards Sandor Kocsis and Nandor Hidegkuti, and midfielder Josef Bozsik – and played a brand of fluid attacking football that was ahead of its time, Hidegkuti dropping deep behind Puskas and Kocsis in a prototype of the 4-2-4 formation. Hungary warmed up by routing England 7-1 in Budapest and they notched 17 goals in their two first-round victories, 9-0 against Korea DPR and 8-3 over West Germany. Yet this latter result proved less instructive than it may have initially appeared.
The tournament's format was such that the two seeded teams in each group played only the two non-seeds, and vice versa. Hence Sepp Herberger, the Mannschaft coach, went into the Hungary game knowing his side could lose and still progress in second place by winning a play-off against the section's other seeds, Turkey, whom they had already beaten 4-1. Herberger thus made seven changes, saw his charges lose heavily, yet then guided a much-strengthened lineup to a 7-2 play-off win against Turkey that took them into the quarter-finals.
Flood of goalsGiven that this pool alone produced 41 goals, it is little surprise the Swiss showpiece became the highest-scoring FIFA World Cup™, with 140 goals in 26 matches at an average of over five per game. A tournament record of 12 hit the net in one match alone, the quarter-final between Switzerland and Austria where the hosts led 3-0 inside 19 minutes, conceded five during a ten-minute spell before the break and ended up losing 7-5. Despite the goal rush, however, newcomers Korea Republic and Scotland both registered blanks as they finished bottom of their respective groups.Scotland had lost 7-0 to Uruguay and the holders achieved a British double by eliminating England in the last eight. Both teams featured a 39-year-old – Obdulio Varela appearing for the South Americans, Stanley Matthews for England – but despite the latter's promptings, Uruguay prevailed 4-2 with both Varela and star forward Juan Schiaffino, a scorer in the 1950 Final, featuring among the goals.Uruguay's next opponents would be the winners of the Hungary-Brazil quarter-final. The Brazilians were sporting their famous yellow shirts – the product of a newspaper competition to design a new kit – for the first time in Switzerland but their hopes ended in a stormy contest subsequently dubbed the 'Battle of Berne'. Golden Shoe winner Kocsis struck two of his 11 goals in Hungary's 4-2 win but the match was marred by red cards for Bozsik and the Brazil pair Nilton Santos and Humberto, not to mention a post-match brawl in the changing rooms. Two extra-time headers from Kocsis then helped Hungary record an identical result against Uruguay in a classic semi-final. The Celeste, victorious at their two previous FIFA World Cups, recovered from 2-0 down through a double from Juan Holberg before finally succumbing to a first defeat on the world stage. While the Hungarians had faced two draining duels, West Germany progressed smoothly to the Final, defeating Yugoslavia 2-0 and then dismissing neighbours Austria 6-1, with Kaiserslautern-based brothers Fritz and Ottmar Walter both scoring twice.
'Fritz Walter weather'So to the Final at a rain-soaked Wankdorf Stadium on 4 July 1954. The weather was a positive portent for a German side whose skipper, goalscoring midfielder Walter, was known to struggle in the heat following a war-time bout of malaria. Indeed these were the precise conditions German sports fans knew as 'Fritz Walter weather'.By contrast Hungary had doubts over the fitness of Puskas, absent from their last two matches after a kick on the ankle by Werner Liebrich when the teams last met. Though not fully fit, Puskas opened the scoring after six minutes and within 120 seconds, the favourites led 2-0 after goalkeeper Toni Turek spilled the ball at Zoltan Czibor's feet. Yet by the 18th minute, West Germany were level, Morlock's far-post finish followed by Rahn turning the ball in from Fritz Walter's corner. The rain came down, the tension rose and only the woodwork denied Hidegkuti. But with six minutes remaining, Rahn gathered the ball on the edge of the box and drove a left-foot shot into the far corner. There remained time for Puskas's reply to be ruled out by a linesman before the final whistle confirmed the unthinkable: Hungary were beaten and a new world power born.
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Brazil 1950



Teams: 13
When: 24 June 1950 to 16 July 1950
Final: 16 July 1950
Matches: 22
Goals: 88 (average 4.0 per match)
Attendance: 1043500 (average 47431)
Winner: Uruguay
Runners-Up: Brazil
Third: Sweden
Fourth: Spain
Golden Shoe: ADEMIR (BRA)


Brazil built the planet's biggest football stadium as a breathtaking stage for the 1950 finals but their hopes of consecrating the cavernous, three-tiered sporting cathedral of the Maracana with a first world title were shattered in one of the competition's great surprises.In a FIFA World Cup™ that concluded with a four-team mini-league, the hosts met Uruguay in a deciding fixture which proved a final in all but name. Needing only to draw, Brazil led through Friaca's 47th-minute strike before Uruguay turned the game on its head via goals from Juan Schiaffino and Alcides Ghigghia. A deathly hush descended on the Maracana as some 200,000 voices fell silent and Brazil's little neighbour to the south celebrated a second world crown. Uruguay, winners of the inaugural FIFA World Cup, had played only one match – beating Bolivia 8-0 – to reach the final stage yet for the third game running Ivan Lopez's charges had shown their resolve by coming from behind to record a triumph which inspired a new noun in Spanish, Maracanazo, still used today to signify a defeat for a Brazilian team by foreign rivals at the famed stadium.This was the first FIFA World Cup since the end of the second world war. Throughout that conflict the prized trophy had laid hidden in a shoebox under the bed of the Italian FIFA vice-president, Dr Ottorino Barassi. Now, with peace restored, it was renamed the Jules Rimet Cup to celebrate the event's survival.Thirteen finalistsThat there were only 13 teams in Brazil was down to the absence of countries from eastern Europe and a series of high-profile withdrawals, notably from Argentina and France – the latter in objection to an itinerary that would have involved a 3,500km journey between fixtures.
While England were present for the first time after winning the British Home Championship, Scotland – who earned the right to travel after finishing second – declined the opportunity, as did another qualified team, Turkey. India, meanwhile, said no because FIFA would not let them play in bare feet. Uruguay were among five South American participants who had not played a single qualifier between them.The tournament featured an unusual first-round format with the 13 sides split into two groups of four, another group of three and a fourth section comprising just Uruguay and Bolivia. If the Maracana was a monument to Brazilian ambition, there were high hopes that Flavio Costa's hosts would match its wow factor on the field and they opened the finals with a 4-0 win over Mexico.
A subsequent 2-2 draw with Switzerland left them needing victory in their final pool game against Yugoslavia and the South American champions enjoyed a stroke of fortune when opposition forward Rajko Mitic hurt his head as he walked up the stairs to the Maracana pitch. He was still receiving treatment when Ademir gave Brazil an early lead, later doubled by Zizinho.
While Brazil progressed, holders Italy bowed out after succumbing 3-2 to Sweden. The Scandinavian amateurs had lost key trio Gunnar Gren, Gunnar Nordahl and Nils Liedholm to Serie A after their 1948 Olympic triumph yet George Raynor's men still had enough to better the Italians, stripped of the core of their squad by the previous year's Superga air crash, which claimed the lives of 19 Torino players. US shock EnglandRaynor, whose Sweden team finished third, was the only Englishman with anything to smile about given the humiliation suffered by England's footballers on their first finals appearance. The game's founders had arrived ill-prepared and they paid the price in Belo Horizonte where they suffered a 1-0 defeat by the United States. Coached by Scotsman Bill Jeffrey, the Americans had led Spain for much of their curtain-raiser before shipping three late goals but now, with a helping hand from Lady Luck, they held on to the advantage given them by Haitian-born Joe Gaetjens' first-half goal.Back in England newspapers thought the result a typing error and changed it to 10-1. The reality was that England – whose team included Alf Ramsey, future architect of their 1966 triumph – were bound for an embarrassingly early exit, duly confirmed by a 1-0 reverse against Spain, Zarra the scorer.So to the final round where Brazil made a flying start by thrashing Sweden 7-1 with four goals from Ademir, the tournament's eight-goal leading marksman. A subsequent 6-1 rout of Spain left the Brazilians with one hand on the trophy going into the decider against a Uruguay side who had needed to retrieve half-time deficits to hold Sweden 2-2 and overcome Spain 3-2. Although Uruguay had won one of the countries' three friendly meetings two months before, such was the prevailing confidence in Brazil that the front-page headline in Sao Paulo's Gazeta Esportiva before the match read: "Tomorrow we will beat Uruguay!" The mayor of Rio proclaimed Brazil world champions prior to kick-off and few souls in a crowd officially estimated at 174,000 – but more likely to have reached 200,000 – would have anticipated otherwise.Brazil took an expected lead as star attackers Zizinho and Ademir fashioned an opening for Friaca. But Uruguay, driven forward by captain Obdulio Varela, equalised in the 66th minute when Gigghia beat Bigode down the right and centred for Schiaffino to score. Then, with eleven minutes remaining, came the unthinkable: Gigghia burst past Bigode again and beat Barbosa at his near post to leave the Celeste in dreamland – and Brazil in despair.

Francec 1938


1938 FIFA World Cup France ™ Pozzo the mastermind as Italy retain their crownWith war clouds gathering over Europe, the third FIFA World Cup™ took place against a bleak backdrop yet football – not least the flamboyantly skilful brand practised by Brazil – provided a shaft of sunshine for the French crowds during a 15-day festival from which Italy, the strongest and most consistent side, emerged as worthy winners.

Together with coach Vittorio Pozzo, there were four survivors in Italy's squad from their 1934 triumph and two of them, midfielders Giuseppe Meazza and Giovanni Ferrari, figured prominently alongside star striker Silvio Piola, scorer of two goals in the 4-2 Final win over Hungary that ensured the Azzurri became the first team to successfully defend the trophy.

The 1938 finals proved the last major international sporting event before war broke out the following year. Civil war was already raging in Spain, precluding the participation of one of France's neighbours, while Austria's annexation by Germany reduced the number of finalists from 16 to 15. Instead a number of Austrian players appeared in the German team. Argentina and Uruguay chose to stay away, the former after failing in their bid to host the tournament. Yet Brazil travelled to Europe for the first time and together with Poland they delivered one of the most exciting of all FIFA World Cup games in a first-round contest in rain-sodden Strasbourg.

Leonidas scores seven
Brazil forward Leonidas struck a hat-trick as the South Americans triumphed 6-5 after extra time, though spare a thought for Poland's Ernest Wilimowski. He became the first man to net four goals in a FIFA World Cup match, helping his team recover from 3-1 to 3-3 before then forcing extra time at 4-4 – and yet still finished on the losing side. For Leonidas, by contrast, this was merely the start. The 'Rubber Man', as he was known in Brazil for his acrobatic skills, would end up as seven-goal top scorer.

The first round featured the only appearances on the world stage of the Dutch East Indies – hammered 6-0 by Hungary – and a Cuban outfit who stunned Romania, holding them 3-3 before winning a replay 2-1. On target for Cuba in both matches was Socorro - which, meaning 'help!' in Spanish, may well have been the shout from the shell-shocked Cubans during their subsequent 8-0 drubbing by Sweden.

Another highlight of the opening week was Switzerland's defeat of Germany. After an initial 1-1 draw, the Swiss overhauled a two-goal deficit in a 4-2 replay victory. Germany were coached by Sepp Herberger – who would guide them to the title in Switzerland 16 years later – but it was the man on the opposing bench, Austrian Karl Rappan, who attracted the attention here for his use of a sweeping defender in the so-called 'verrou', or Swiss bolt, system, an early forerunner of 'catenaccio'.

Given the political climate, the presence of the Germany and Italy teams drew anti-fascist demonstrations but while the former headed home early, Pozzo's Azzurri went from strength to strength, seemingly galvanised by a desire to disprove the suggestion that their 1934 success had been solely down to home advantage.

Italy oust hosts
After overcoming Norway with an extra-time Piola effort, the 1936 Olympic gold medallists ousted France in a quarter-final played before 59,000 spectators at an enlarged Stade Colombes outside Paris. The first two FIFA World Cups had gone the way of the host nation but not this time, Piola winning the match with two goals for a team sporting black shirts at the behest of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.

That was not the only controversy of the quarter-finals, the Bordeaux encounter between Brazil and Czechoslovakia producing mayhem with three red cards and two fractured limbs marring the teams' 1-1 draw. Czechoslovakia goalkeeper Frantisek Planika suffered a broken arm and forward Oldrich Nejedly – the competition's top scorer four years previously – a broken leg, in his case after equalising Leonidas's opening goal.

Leonidas was one of only two Brazil players retained for the replay and he claimed the equaliser in a 2-1 win that took the South Americans to their first semi-final. Yet his coach, Ademar Pimenta, left him out of the last-four showdown with Italy in Marseille – a costly error of judgement as the Azzurri prevailed 2-1 in a disappointingly low-key contest. When Ademir returned for the bronze-medal match he duly struck twice against Sweden, the concluding exploit of a player nicknamed the 'Black Diamond' by the European crowds – a moniker soon to be stamped on the chocolate bar he endorsed on his return to Brazil.

The other semi-final pitted Hungary against Sweden. The Scandinavians were seeking to mark King Gustav V's 80th birthday with a famous victory but instead it was the Hungarians, the competition's most prolific scorers, who celebrated at the Parc des Princes after Gyulla Zsengeller's treble set up a 5-1 win.

That was as good as it got for Alfred Schaffer's Hungary for they were second-best throughout a Final dominated by Italy stalwarts Ferrari and Meazza, the "artisans de la victoire" as L'Auto newspaper described them the next day. Although Hungary's Pal Titkos needed only 120 seconds to equalise Gino Colausi's sixth-minute opener, Italy had built a 3-1 lead by the break with Piola then Colausi again on target, and Meazza the creator of all three. Gyorgy Sarosi gave Hungary hope with a 70th-minute strike but the quick, powerful, prolific Piola extinguished it, his second strike ensuring back-to-back world crowns for the Azzurri.