This, perhaps, is the most beautiful World Cup match in history.
The stars of the early 80′s were well into their 30′s now - Socrates, Platini, Junior, Giresse, Zico, Tigana – and approaching the end of their international careers. But they gave it one final try. One last attempt to conquer the World Cup with their artful approach to football.
The result was a game of football as pleasing to the eye as it was dramatic. If you’re going to watch one classic match, make it this one.
In 1986, the disaster of the previous World Cup was still a fresh memory in the minds of most Brazilians. But coach Tele Santana was given a final chance to show that his attacking philosohies could lead to results. Most of his stars from the previous World Cup were a far cry removed from their 1982 form. Toninho Cerezo was injured. The careers of Falcao and Eder had taken a nose dive. Zico wasn’t fully fit and had to start from the bench.
But Socrates and Junior were still there. Edinho, veteran from the 1978 Cup, returned to the heart of defense. And strikers Careca and Mueller were certainly better than 1982′s Serginho.
Still, the team experienced a slow start to the tournament, with meagre 1-0 wins over Spain and Algeria. The next games against Poland and Northern-Ireland were more impressive and made it clear that Brazil was once more a favourite to claim the World Cup.
But so were France. They too, had played beautiful football in 1982, only to be defeated by a more effective side (West-Germany, in their case). Two years laters, the French won Euro 1984, guided by their Magic Square on midfield: Fernandez, Giresse, Tigana and Platini.
The team that took the field against Brazil was not entirely similar to the triumphant 1984 one, but the magic was there in all its splendor.
Carlos – Edinho, Josimar, Julio Cesar Branco – Elzo, Alemao, Junior, Socrates – Muller, Careca
Coach: Tele Santana
Bats – Amoros, Battiston, Bossis Tusseau – Fernandez, Platini, Giresse, Tigana – Rocheteau, Stopyra
Coach: Michel Hidalgo
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