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In this series of Flashbacks we present teams, players and happenings that people remember from the history of the World Cup. This month we present...

Falcao worked tirelessly in midfield for Brazil. He was the only European based player in the Brazilian squad. He scored 3 goals in the 1982 World Cup. Here against Argentina.

Socrates was Brazil's midfield general. With his vision, accurate passes and heel-kicks, he controlled all games Brazil played.

Zico was the greatest star of them all. He was 29 and at the peak of his career. He hoped that this World Cup would be "his" just as the one in 1970 had been Pelé's.

Socrates 76   Bal 33
Eder 89    
Zico 34   Narey 18
Oscar 48    
Eder 64    
Falcao 86    
Zico 29,31    
Falcao 55    
Serginho 70    

Zico 12   Diaz 89
Serginho 67    
Junior 72    
Socrates 12   Rossi 5,22,76
Falcao 68    

Brazil's 1982 squad + other squads
More info on the 1982 World Cup


BRAZIL 1982 - The team of Dreams

By Jan Alsos

     The Brazilian team arrived in Spain as big favourites to win the World Cup. Venezuela and Bolivia were no match in the qualification. Brazil won all the four matches home and away. The team looked to have hit top form right in time for the World Cup. In the months leading up to the finals, they had beaten West Germany twice, host nation Spain once, and in the last warm-up match only a few weeks before the World Cup, they thrashed the Republic of Ireland 7-0! Many people believed this team was even better than the one who won the World Cup twelve years earlier, the team with Pelé & company of 1970. 

     Now in 1982, they were in a pretty tough group based in the south of Spain in Seville and Malaga. Brazil, however, would play all their first round matches in Seville. Their opponents were the powerful Soviet Union, an exciting Scottish team with the likes of Dalglish, Souness, Strachan and Hansen. The group was completed with newcomers New Zealand who had travelled all over the world just to qualify, playing in China, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to mention a few countries.

     Brazil kicked-off their 1982 campaign against the Soviet Union in the Sanchez Pizjuan stadium in Seville on June 14th. It was an evening game and almost 70.000 people packed the stadium to watch the masters of samba soccer. Coach Tele Santana fielded this team: Waldir Perez - Leandro, Oscar, Luisinho, Junior - Socrates, Dirceu, Falcao, Eder - Zico and Serginho. The Brazilian fans dominated on the terraces with their drums, big banners and flags, but they were all silenced when the Soviets took the lead after 33 minutes. Andrej Bal fired a poor shot from long range straight at goalkeeper Perez, but an unbelievable mistake let the ball slip through his arms and into the net. It was the kind of goalkeeping Brazil didn't need in order to win the World Cup.

     That mistake from Waldir Perez did not break down the Brazilian morale, and deep into the second half they were rewarded with an equalizer. And what an equalizer! Socrates, the captain, picked up the ball 25 yards out and got rid of two Russians before firing a powerful shot into the top corner past Dasaev. It was one of the greatest goals in the tournament. A minute from time as the Soviets tried to hold on to the point they hoped for, substitute Paulo Isidoro played the ball to Falcao who let the ball go through his legs. Eder was coming from behind chipped up the ball for himself to thunder it home with his left foot. Dasaev, arguably the greatest goalkeeper in the world at that time, barely moved as the ball flew into the net with awesome power. Brazil secured the points and got off to the start they had hoped for.

     Four days later at the Benito Villamarin stadium, the smaller of the stadiums in Seville, Brazil played Scotland. Brazil lined up with the same team as against the Soviet Union with one exception. Cerezo replaced Dirceu. The Scots had beaten New Zealand 5-2 and were not forced to win to stay in the tournament. That was may be the main reason to why this game became so entertaining. Scotland pushed forward from the start and did not pull ten men back in defence. Full-back David Narey popped up unmarked in the central defence to strike a well placed shot past Perez to give Scotland the lead after 18 minutes. The Scottish lead lasted only fifteen minutes, then Zico curled a trademark free-kick around the wall past goalkeeper Alan Rough to equalize.

     Brazil turned on the style in the second half. Oscar headed home a corner three minutes after the interval and from then on it was only one team on the field. Scotland, who perhaps had their best team ever, could not stop the Brazilians from outplaying them. In the 64th minute, Eder showed there was more to his left foot than thunderous long range shooting. He received the ball at the corner of the penalty area and chipped the ball over the keeper into the top corner at the far post. A real beauty. The scoreline was completed when Falcao fired a shot from 25 yards in off the post four minutes from time. It was a memorable match and the 47.000 crowd inside the stadium knew as well as soccerfans world wide, that this team would be very hard to beat later in the tournament.

     Brazil had already won the group and qualified to the second phase group C based in Barcelona. Their last first round game against New Zealand meant a farewell to the people in Seville, and even though this match meant nothing for Brazil, coach Santana rested none of his stars. Brazil started the game with the same players that beat Scotland. The New Zealanders had let in eight goals in their two previous games and many people believed Brazil would outscore Hungary who had beaten El Salvador 10-1 a week earlier. A new scoring record was never within reach, but Brazil put on yet another exhilarating display of attacking football. It took almost half an hour before the first goal and yet again it was a beauty. Zico, the greatest Brazilian player since Pelé, scored with a spectacular bicycle-kick from a Leandro cross. The same players combined again two minutes later which saw Zico score his second goal with a well-placed low shot in the corner. Brazil scored two more goals in the second half through Falcao and Serginho. Both after nice teamwork. Serginho had come in to the team only because Careca was injured and ruled out before the World Cup, now he played a part in what looked to be a potential World Cup winning team.

     In Barcelona, Brazil would meet the runners-up in first round group A and C. They hoped and expected that the teams would be Poland and Belgium. Instead they were joined by Italy and Argentina who both had started slowly and only managed to take second place in their groups. Brazil, Argentina and Italy all in the same second phase group. The group of death for sure. The Sarria stadium, home of Español, was the venue for all the matches in this group. It could only hold about 45.000 spectators and the organizing committee desperately tried to move the matches to the Nou Camp where the matches with Poland, Belgium and the Soviet Union would be played, but it was too late to switch grounds. The hosts had a schedule to follow.

     Brazil played Argentina, the defending world champions, on July 2nd. They had in their team Diego Maradona, the new star of world football. Argentina had not looked like world champions so far and did not in this game either. After twelve minutes Brazil were awarded a free-kick 35 yards away from goal. Eder struck with a thunderous shot that swerved both ways before hitting the crossbar. Zico was on hand to tap in the rebound from two yards out. Socrates, the Brazilian captain, was excellent in this game controlling midfield with his elegant touches, but he couldn't help Brazil to more goals before the interval. Brazil doubled their lead instead halfway through the second half. Zico played Falcao onside on the right and his cross found tall forward Serginho on the far post who scored with ease. Argentina, who had lost their first match 2-1 to Italy, had nothing more to offer in this game. In the 72nd minute, another brilliant move involving five players, enabled Zico to send a beautiful through pass to full-back Junior who came forward to score past goalkeeper Fillol. The world champions had been outplayed and Maradona lost his temper minutes from time when he kicked Brazilian substitute Batista in the groin. Mexican referee Vazquez had no other option than to send him off. Argentina scored a consolation goal right on full time when Diaz struck a fine shot past Perez after the Brazilians had been careless in defence.

     With this 3-1 victory over their South American neighbours, it meant that Brazil only needed a draw to reach the semifinals as Italy had only beaten Argentina 2-1. This decisive match between Brazil and Italy turned out to be one of the best in World Cup history. Played in broiling mid-day sun, the hottest day in Barcelona for decades, Brazil lined up with their usual team: Waldir Perez - Leandro, Oscar, Luisinho, Junior - Cerezo, Socrates, Falcao, Eder - Zico and Serginho. Italy had in their team Paolo Rossi. A man who hadn't scored in any of the previous four World Cup games. He got a cracking start to this game when he headed Italy in front after barely five minutes. Poor marking allowed Cabrini to cross and the skinny forward to finish it off. Brazil didn't panic, they had been behind to the Soviet Union and Scotland and still won. It took only seven minutes for the equalizer to come. Socrates, the tall doctor, received the ball from Zico who wrongfooted iron-man Gentile. Socrates placed the ball with surgical precision in the small gap between the post and goalkeeper Zoff's left leg.

     With Brazil back on track at 1-1, they started looking for more goals just as they had done in all their previous games. There was no thought of playing safe and be satisfied with this draw that would have taken them to the semifinal. Instead more defensive errors followed. Cerezo played the ball straight to an unguarded Paolo Rossi who raced clear and beat Waldir Perez after 25 minutes. Brazil had several chances to level the score again before half time, but wasted them all. The Italians held the lead until 22 minutes from the end. Junior did a fine job on the left, played the ball low to Falcao at the 18 yard line, he found space for himself to blast the ball home past Dino Zoff. Falcao, who played for Italian club Roma at the time, thought he had scored the decisive goal.

     Fifteen minutes from the end, Brazil again had to pay heavily for a defensive error. This time it was Junior who marked the near post at a corner. He forgot to run out when the corner was cleared away, when the ball came back into the penalty area again, Junior was still at his goalpost playing Rossi onside to complete his hat-trick. Brazil desperately tried to equalize for a third time, but found no way past Zoff. A last minute header from Oscar was beautifully saved by Zoff on the goalline. Time ran out and referee Klein of Israel blew the final whistle. The champions of romantic football were out of the World Cup.

     Socrates said after the defeat to Italy: "We will be back in four years and win the World Cup". That didn't happen even though several of the keyplayers from '82 also appeared in Mexico 1986. Falcao, Zico, Socrates, Junior and Oscar all made the squad for Mexico, but they were all 32 years or older and failed to live up to the standard of 1982. Oscar didn't even play a single minute in 1986.

     Whenever people talk about great teams of previous World Cups, this Brazilian team of 1982 always seems to be mentioned. They failed to reach the semifinals, but won the hearts of millions of soccerfans world-wide. The memory of their football will linger. It is the Team of Dreams.



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