“Soccer Saturday” Pele the greatest player of all time?

“Soccer Saturday” Pele the greatest player of all time?

Here is an article by Gi discussing Pele:

Pele as can be expected came back to play with Brazil in the 1962 World Cup which was played in Chile. This time however Pele was much more known to the fans as well as opposing players; who were not really all that eager to see him score another six goals or perhaps more in this world cup. Brazil were defending champions with basically the same players which won the world cup in 58 and who despite the passage of four years were still relatively young. All of which making it easy to see why a second world cup for Brazil in as many tournaments was not out of the realms of realistic possibilities. Specially since there were no other teams which were really strong enough to challenge them. Germany going through a rebuilding period while Italy still did not have the sort of team which could aspire to recapture their glory days of the 30s. Uruguay pretty much being but a shadow of their former selves.

The world cup known as Chile 62 however become a very defensive affair as teams were no longer willing to score as many as three goals or more in loosing efforts as had been the case in Switzerland 54 and Sweden 58. Teams became more eager to hold on to their leads once they had them and not risk them by going forward for more goals. This making most teams play with four defenders and only three forwards where before it had been with two defenders and five forwards.

Brazil for its part got off to what looking back might have been considered a good start in beating Mexico by 2-0 with Pele scoring Brazil’s first goal yet despite this victory; Brazil was severely criticized with much of the blame falling not only on their performance but on Pele. This despite Pele’s having scored one of Brazil’s two goals. This perhaps allowing Pele to see for himself what Mazola had experienced four years earlier when despite having scored two goals in Brazil’s first match; still had people saying he should not be on Brazil’s team. It being a case that Brazilian fans in those days were used to seeing Brazil beat Mexico by much more goals than only two. Brazil, after all had beaten Mexico by 5-0 in Brazil 50 and by 4-0 in Switzerland 54. All of which standing to their reason that a defending world champion should be able to beat Mexico, once again by at least as wide a margin as their teams in the past had done if not by a wider one.

Brazil’s next game came against Czechoslovakia. This a match which ended in a 0-0 draw and with even more criticism aimed at Brazil by their fans and media back home. It was also in this match that Pele left the field injured not to return for the rest of the tournament. Pele had not even been touched by any of Czechoslovakia’s players yet despite this managed to do damage on himself which would take him out of the remainder of the world cup.

For my part, I being skeptical about almost everything, wonder if Pele’s injury was such that he could not have played Brazil’s next game against Spain. Pele after all had not broken anything and had not even been fouled. Was it perhaps an attempt to try another player? Pele had not really played all that well in Brazil’s first two matches or such it was perceived by the fans and the media back home. So I often wonder if perhaps Brazil’s trainer did not exaggerate the gravity of Pele’s injury in order to try another player in his place like he had done with Pele in Mazola’s place four years earlier. It being Amarildo who took Pele’s place against Spain in a game which though not an absolute must win game for Brazil; was one in which they would have to do better than they had in their first two matches. This if perhaps not to qualify, at least to demonstrate to their fans that they were still a team capable of producing great football.

The game started with Spain taking a 1-0 lead when Adelardo scored 35 minutes in to the game. Spain would even take a 1-0 lead in to the second half. This something which had not happened in a very long that that Brazil ended the first half behind on the scoreboard. Brazil at this point even finding themselves in danger of being eliminated in the first round. This being the case that Spain with a win would have had four points which would have put them first in the group. Brazil with a loss would have had three points which would leave them depending on what Mexico (who was already out of the competition) could do against Czechoslovakia. Naturally a Czech victory or even a tie would have left Brazil out had they lost.

All however proved to be academic, as Brazil came back in the second half to win the game by two goals to one with both goals being scored by Amarildo; who just happened to be the man playing in Pele’s place. Obviously Pele’s replacement was doing his duty so I wonder if Pele would have been able to return to the starting team even if he had been healthy or if his injury was such that it was the real reason he was kept out of the starting lineup.

Amarildo had played well against Spain, this there was no doubts about and specially in a world cup in which defensive play was the order of the day unlike it had been in the last two previous world cups. Spain, in fact having a strong team back then which two years later went on to win the European nations cup.

Brazil went on to win their next two matches with relative ease. First against England by 3-1. This in a game which Garrincha scored two truly amazing goals. First one off a header and the next one of a free kick which could not have been better placed. Brazil’s other goal being scored by Vava, who continued where he left off in Sweden 58. Brazil’s next win came in the semifinals against the home team, Chile whom they defeated by a score of 4-2 with once again; Garrincha and Vava doing the scoring for Brazil. It being Garrincha who scored Brazil’s first two while Vava scored Brazil’s third and fourth.

Brazil was clearly playing well and was in top form and all without Pele. It was a case of this team being of such a high quality that even the absence of Pele did not disturb anything. Apparently Amarildo had been more than capable of filling the void left by Pele while the rest by just keeping up their level allowed Brazil to easily get in to the final. Of course, one could always say that this world cup did not really have very strong teams and those which were in fact solid such as the Soviet Union (winner of the 1960 European Championship) and Hungary did not really live up to expectations; apart the fact that Brazil did not have to face them anyway. Brazil was in the finals however and to their credit deservedly so and all without the man who many would later call the best player of all time.

In the finals Brazil met Czechoslovakia for the second time in the tournament yet unlike in their first match; this one could not end in a draw. Czechoslovakia, for its part like Sweden four years earlier also scored the first goal though not as early in the match as Sweden. Czechoslovakia in fact having to wait till the 15th minute of the game when Masopust slipped past Brazil’s defense to give his team a 1-0 lead. Brazil however being the solid team they were did not take long to reply. Brazil in fact having to wait but two minutes till Amarildo (Pele’s replacement) scored to level matters at one a piece. Amarildo, scoring a brilliant goal from a very tight angle which perhaps Czechoslovakia’s goalkeeper; Schroijf should have saved yet the score none the less was tied at one all.

Czechoslovakia for what concerned them, were playing well and went in to the half time break tied at one though it is my opinion that they perhaps celebrated too much after scoring. This allowing Brazil to get back in to the game after only two minutes of having gone down by a goal to nil. Czechoslovakia had its chances in the first period and had it not been for their lack of concentration after scoring and Schroijf’s error perhaps would have gone in to the half time break with a one goal lead or perhaps a two goal lead. This if they had continued with the solid play which had gotten them to the final in the first place.

Brazil however regrouped at the half and came out strong with Zito scoring his first world cup goal and Brazil’s second in the final to put them up by 2-1. Brazil perhaps was not dominating as strongly as they had in 58 yet were definitely in the drivers seat. It being in the 78th minute of the game that Garrincha sent up a high ball which in all honesty should not have given Czech goalkeeper, Schroijf any problems what so ever yet he somehow managed to drop it. The ball falling straight in to the path of the ever opportunistic Vava, who scored his first goal of the match and Brazil’s third to make the score 3-1; which is how it would end.

This last goal making Vava the first player to score in two finals. Brazil had won the world cup and became just the second team, after Italy to win two in a row and to a certain extent Pele had picked up his second world cup win though in all truth, as I have clearly pointed out; he hardly played. Naturally, to many at the time this did not really matter as Pele was a man who at the age of 21 had already won two world cups even if the second one was just for being on the team and little else. This perhaps making it possible for Argentina to say that Pasarella won two world cups with Argentina, who as a matter of fact only played in their first game against South Korea but I ask is this enough to say he is a double world champion? I would go one step further and ask if Brazil had beaten France in 98 then could Ronaldo claim to have won three world cups as well since he was on their world cup winning team in 94 though did not play at all? This being a matter of interpretation of course.

As an added comment, I would like to say that I feel it is sad that Amarildo did not really get the credit he earned for his performance in Chile 62. It being Amarildo, who to a certain extent with his two goals against Spain saved Brazil from the humiliation of being eliminated in the first round. Amarildo even scoring in the final when Brazil was loosing by 1-0 yet despite his efforts which were important in Brazil’s second world cup win, is rarely if ever mentioned amongst the great players of all time though he undoubtedly was.

My name is Gianni Truvianni, author of many an article to be found on the internet along with the book “New York’s Opera Society”. My works also include the books “What Should Not Matter”, “Love Your Sister” and several others which still remain unpublished though I am presently looking to change this.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6221508

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