‘Little Bird’ inspires Brazil to defend title
On June 17 in history: Brazil defends title against Czechoslovakia in Santiago, Chile, in 1962. Italy beats West Germany in ‘Game of the Century’ in Mexico City in 1970.
Brazil defeated Czechoslovakia 3-1 in the 1962 final to successfully defend the trophy. However, its title defense exhibited little of the flair that marked the victory in Sweden, partly because Pele suffered a tournament-ending thigh injury in a group match against Czechoslovakia. Garrincha, or “Little Bird,” took on the mantle of inspiring his team. He was voted player of the tournament and was joint top-scorer with five others with 4. For many, the 1962 tournament will always be remembered for the “Battle of Santiago” when host Chile and Italy played out a group game that is often described as the most violent football match in World Cup finals history.
The 1970 semifinal at Azteca Stadium between Italy and West Germany is often referred to as “The Game of the Century.” Tied at one apiece at the end of normal time, Franz Beckenbauer, arm in a sling following an earlier injury, strived hard to inspire his team to victory. But the attacking prowess of the likes of Luigi Riva and Gianni Rivera proved too much for the Germans and Italy scraped home 4-3 to meet free-flowing Brazil in the final.