History of Football: FIFA World Cup - 1970

The tenth FIFA football World Cup tournament took place in Mexico – the first to be held in Central America and outside of either Europe or South America – from 31st May to 21st June 1970.

The tournament was dominated by attacking football, especially from Brazil’s ‘beautiful game.’ Jairzinho scored for Brazil in all six of their games including the final, and Pelé picked up his third World Cup winner’s medal – the first man in football history to play in three World Cup-winning teams – at this, his last international football tournament.

This World Cup was broadcast in colour for the first time, and the term ‘group of death’ was also first used here by the Mexican media when describing Group 3 of the competition consisting of England, Brazil, Czechoslovakia and Romania.

Teams level on points at the end of the group stage were separated by goal difference (replacing the previous playoffs and goal average) and the Fair Play Award was also introduced for the first time.
The red and yellow card system was another first in the 1970 finals – though no players were sent-off – and substitutes were also introduced for the first time (two per team). The first ever substitute in World Cup finals was Anatoly Puzach, playing for the Soviet Union, who replaced Serebrannikov in the 1970 opening match against Mexico on 31 May 1970.

Brazil’s Mario Zagallo became the first man to win a World Cup as a player (1958 and 1962) and here as a manager.

The final was held at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City on 21st June 1970 in front of a crowd of 107,412. Brazil beat Italy 4.1 to win their third World Cup after triumphs in 1958 and 1962. As a result, they were allowed to keep the original Jules Rimet Trophy on a permanent basis. Brazil’s scorers were Pelé (who became only the second player after his compatriot, Vavá, to score in two different World Cup finals – having previously scored in the 1958 final), Gérson, Jairzinho and Carlos Alberto Torres; Roberto Boninsegna scored for Italy.

This was the first World Cup final that Italy had lost having won their own previous two World Cup Finals in 1934 and 1938.

The Golden Boot (‘adidas Golden Shoe’ since 1982) award for most goals scored in the tournament was won by Gerd Müller of West Germany with 10 goals – the third highest total in a single World Cup tournament.

Winners: Brazil

Runners-up: Italy

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