Wednesday, 25 June 2014

1982 World Cup: Brazil's Goals 15 to 1

Brazil 1982. The mere mention of that country and year combo brings back a host of memories for anyone lucky enough to have lived through the experience first time round. It pains me to say that they were just before my time, that I caught the football bug one year too late, and that my first exposure to football was of the slightly less vintage Arsenal 1983 team (trust me, it wasn't pretty).

So after passing on my affliction to my 7-year-old son, I decided to sit him down and show him every goal that Brazil scored at the 1982 World Cup. And then I decided to rank them 15 to 1. You may disagree with my final chart countdown, although I promise not to be too bothered. After all, I got to sit through numerous YouTube clips of this fabulous team. There are worse ways to spend your time.

15. Oscar v Scotland

Oh Scotland. To be outdone by Brazilian magic is one thing, but to concede a goal that might not have been out of place at Somerset Park or Palmerston Park (Google them), must have had Scottish fans tearing out their hair. John Motson described Oscar's near post header from Junior's corner as "...a real British goal for you, if you like," and he was right. What Alan Hansen made of Graeme Souness' tracking of Oscar is unknown, but at least it wasn't as bad as this.

14. Serginho v New Zealand

Many sporting stars find themselves tagged with a prefix, but not all them wanted or deserved. The "much maligned" Serginho probably wasn't as bad as he was made out to be - Rob Smyth puts forward a case for the defence here - but he ultimately paid the price of being the sore thumb that stuck out in comparison amongst the delicate piano playing fingers that were Zico, Eder, Socrates and Falcao. At number 14 on my list is Serginho's Linekeresque effort against New Zealand, a poacher's finish after a lovely ball by Junior and sublime touch by Zico.

13. Falcao v New Zealand

Admittedly the New Zealand keeper may have done better with Falcao's finish, but the joy of this goal comes from the superb first-time ball played through by Zico. I never did get to see Brazil's number ten in his prime, and after watching numerous clips for this piece, I'm starting to think that life isn't fair. Thank goodness for YouTube though.

12. Serginho v Argentina

Serginho started and ended the crucial second goal against Argentina in the second round group match. Notable for a delightful cross field ball via the outside of Eder's left foot, Zico's ball to the onrushing Falcao was also a treat, Serginho left with the simple task of nodding in at the back post. The 1982 Brazilian team made most things look easy (apart from defending perhaps), with this goal a fitting example of how simple the game can be.

11. Zico v New Zealand

A fine breakaway goal. I know Socrates had an acre of space, but he still had to select the right option, as did Leandro who received the ball after overlapping on Brazil's right. As often happened with this team though, both players chose wisely, Leandro's cross passed into the net (via the post) by Zico, who had originally fed Socrates in his own half. "So easy," said John Motson, as Brazil continued to thrill everyone with their exhibition of football.

10. Zico v Argentina

Another great assist, but not in the conventional manner. Eder's bending thunderbolt of a free-kick from about 35 yards was actually tipped on to the bar by Argentinian keeper Fillol, before Zico narrowly beat Serginho to the rebound. An article on described it as the greatest free-kick of all time that never went in, and it is hard to disagree (suggestions welcome though). Perversely, I actually think the moment was made better because Eder's shot didn't cross the line, the unbelievable free-kick, great save, and crossbar combining to leave you astounded at the speed and precision of it all.

9. Falcao v Scotland

Surely Scotland had suffered enough as the end of their Brazilian nightmare neared? But no, there was more to come. Falcao's rasping finish from outside the box - again in off the post - capped a fine comeback and provided the icing on the cake during a performance of stunning artistry. Many a player may have taken a touch after Socrates' lay-off, some may have tried to do what Falcao actually did, yet few could have matched the power and accuracy of the Roma man.

8. Socrates v Italy

Brazil needed a quick response after Paolo Rossi had given Italy the lead, and Zico and Socrates were the men for the job. Zico's Cruyff turn flummoxed the rash that was Claudio Gentile, and his return pass to Socrates was inch perfect as the bearded genius made his way into the Italian box. Dino Zoff may have been beaten at his near post, but we'll give the plaudits to Socrates for giving the 40-year-old the eyes.

7. Junior v Argentina

"That was pure gold," exclaimed Helm after Junior's clincher against Argentina. Zico's through ball behind the Argentinian defence makes this goal so special, a moment of vision that highlights just how gifted the Brazilian was. Definitely a case of the foreplay beating the climax, as Junior raced through and celebrated in the joyous manner that this goal merited.

6. Falcao v Italy

Brazil were again forced to find a leveller in their classic Italian encounter - after Rossi had accepted Toninho Cerezo's gift-wrapped square pass - and what a way to get it. When Falcao received the ball on the right, he still had a lot to do. He may not have been closed down effectively, much to Zoff's frustration, yet Falcao shimmied his way across the D, before unleashing a scorcher that swerved past the Italian keeper before he had a chance to contemplate getting in the way of it. And the celebration wasn't too shoddy either. No Marco Tardelli, but you can't have it all.

5. Zico v Scotland

Jimmy Hill may have described David Narey's wonderful strike as a "toe-poke" but regardless of this, it certainly woke up the Brazilians. Zico's equaliser from a trademark Brazilian free-kick ended any Scottish dreams, and left the hapless Alan Rough (another unwanted prefix) in his usual position of standing still after being outfoxed by a South American at a World Cup. Zico's curling effort was so precise that it clipped the post before going in, a postage stamp goal which would contribute to Scotland being home before the postcards, in the words of Tommy Docherty.

4. Zico v New Zealand

Zico's thunderous, acrobatic volley, in Motson's words, was the sort of goal you would try and score with your mates at school, but would often end in bruises alone. Ever heard the expression along the lines of "If a Brazilian had scored that goal, then we would be raving about it"? Well, this was scored by a Brazilian, and people were raving about it. Zico's bicycle kick from Leandro's cross rightly sits in my top four, and shows the quality of the three that have topped it.

3. Eder v Scotland

Poor Alan Rough. There was very little the Scottish keeper could do when beaten for a third time on the evening, apart from look skywards and follow the ball in bewilderment as Eder's delicious chip drifted into the net. The Brazilian may have been known as The Cannon, but for this goal he displayed his graceful side. A quite beautiful goal.

2. Socrates v Soviet Union

Brazil's defensive frailties were plain for all to see, as five times they had to come from behind during the 1982 World Cup (succeeding on four occasions - Rossi's third in their final match was one too many). The first example came in Brazil's opening match against the USSR, Waldir Peres' farcical mistake so bad that even a clown would have blushed at having made such a blooper. To break down a resolute Soviet defence, Brazil needed something spectacular. Step forward Socrates.

Cutting in from the left, twice Socrates dropped his shoulder, before letting fly with a shot that rose into Dasayev's top right hand corner. The excellent keeper managed to get his hand to Socrates' strike, but it was simply too good, too powerful, and too accurate to keep out. A goal described by David Miller in the Daily Express as "fearsome, soaring, unstoppable". A contender for the goal of the tournament, but in my opinion, it wasn't even the best goal in this match.

1. Eder v Soviet Union

Sheer fantasy football. If this goal had been scored with Brazil winning 4-0, you may have put it down to showboating, yet Eder's winner was delivered with just two minutes left in a breathtaking tussle. Brazil were constantly probing, knocking the ball about in an attempt to find an opening, until Junior decided to put one in the mixer towards Serginho. Falling to substitute Isidoro on the right, Brazil could begin again, a pass inside played to Falcao. And this is where the fun really begins.

Falcao's dummy through his legs, saw Eder collect the ball at pace just outside the box. Flicking the ball up with his left foot, Eder then volleyed a dipping shot past the unsighted Dasayev, a training ground goal scored in the cut and thrust of a World Cup match.

It's moments like Eder's wonder strike that make you realise what a wonderful sport football can be, when a ball is placed at the right feet. Yes, we all secretly love the odd Massing incident, but players like Eder, Zico, Socrates, and Falcao give us a reminder that we can see the beautiful game from time to time. Best team never to win the World Cup? I'd say so.


  1. Great article.. Apart from that it was not cerezo who set up zico's 2nd against new zealand , it was leandro again.. Im just nit picking !!!
    Great team - just a shame they were so over confident and careless against italy.. They gave the game away..
    They would be joint 1st first with brazil 70 ( infact they would probably be number 1) in a list of greatest world cup teams if they had won it.. Which they should have done..
    As paolo Rossi says " that was the greatest team we ( the italian team ) had ever seen, nobody ,including us thought we would win, but brazil sinned by their assumption and we ( well i ) just took advantage of their mistakes.. But if i was brazilian i would also have cried on the 5th of july 1982 "...

    1. Thanks for your kind comments. I've corrected the Leandro/Cerezo bit for Zico's second against New Zealand. Cheers for pointing it out to me.

  2. How can you not rate Socrates goal against Italy last? Dino Zoff should have saved it 9 times out of 9.