Before Spain 1982, Brazil remained on a 19-game unbeaten streak, with 46 goals scored and ten conceded. A series that included ten straight victories in which, in seven days, the Brazilians beat England in London, France in Paris and West Germany in Stuttgart.
The Careca package
If Careca did not play a single match for Brazil before 1982, the 21-year-old sensation is the essential star striker of the national team when Telê Santana calls his group for Spain 1982, he who was holder in three of Brazil’s last four friendlies. But three days before the kickoff of the tournament, the Guarani player was hit in the thigh in training and must forfeit.
Brazil enjoyed a nine-day break between their last first group stage game against New Zealand and their first second group stage game against Argentina.
Brazil 2-1 USSR
Brazil 4-1 Scotland
Brazil 4-0 New Zealand
Argentina 1-3 Brazil
Italy 3-2 Brazil
“As soon as he arrived, things changed drastically,” said Falcão of Telê Santana’s appointment as manager. “It became a lot more fun to play with the Selection. He wanted us to play instinctively and not systematically. He was pushing the full-backs to attack. He did not want axial midfielders which are confined to stopping the adversaries; he wanted them to know how to make good use of the ball. He gave us the freedom to try anything we wanted to try. He always asked us to do the show. “
Telê is famous for having said this sentence: “I would rather lose by playing a good game than to win by playing badly.” Brazil may not have won Spain 1982, but this team has become one of the most admired in history.
When he arrived at the World Cup, Éder is known as “the Vespasiano bomb” or “the cannon” because of his superb strike force. In Spain, Éder lived up to his reputation as he unleashed a powerful volley against the Soviet Union and made the crossbar tremble against Argentina, which earned him a new nickname: Exocet, after the French missile. But the left-back also belies his nicknames by scoring one of the most delicate goals in tournament history: a flick against Scotland.
Mozart on grass, extraordinary composer, “the eighth king of Rome”, the precursor of Andrea Pirlo and Xavi… Falcão remains one of the most intelligent circles and one of the best passers-by in history. In Spain, he scored three goals in five matches, including the superb first equalizer in the 3-2 loss to Italy.
Apparently, making a player who would surely have been one of the best No. 10 in history to evolve to the position of No. 6 is not cheating in 1982. Júnior – fighter, leader and ball maestro – is exceptional in Spain. He scored a magnificent goal against Argentina after a one-two with Zico and spearheaded many splendid offensives led by the Selection.
Here is another player with astronomical qualities who could have played anywhere on the field. Whether in the colors red and black of Flamengo or in yellow, with Brazil, Leandro and Júnior have formed one of the most sensational hinges in football history.
Absolutely one of a kind, whether in appearance, personality or playing, the “doctor” embodied elegance. Measuring 1m93, the blindfolded playmaker sliced through the defenses with surgical precision thanks to his deep passes. He hypnotized his opponents with his feints and knew how to use heels like no one else. He also knew how to hit the target with his right foot, regardless of his position on the pitch. Rinat Dasayev probably still remembers it.
God among the gods, right in the middle of what has arguably been the best midfielder in history (at least the most fascinating), Zico is in top form on Iberian lands. Like Johan Cruyff in Germany 1974, his performances would have deserved the top of the podium.
Zico finished the tournament with eight cumulative goals and assists (four and four), more than any other player. Behind him: Pierre Littbarski and Paolo Rossi (seven each).
“Brazil in 1982 was the most wonderful national team to ever exist. Júnior, Falcão, Sócrates, Éder, Zico… a great gathering of phenomenal talent. They were an extraordinary team.” – Pep Guardiola
“Maradona was a big one, but Zico was sensational. You couldn’t even get close enough to foul him.” – Graeme Souness, about the most difficult opponent he has faced
“Brazil had an incredible team. There were wonderful players, who seemed to be playing telepathically. They were so creative, they knew how to improvise and they had a great manager, Telê.” – Cesar Luis Menotti
“Their touch on the ball, the one-two, the dribbles… Their elegance was inconceivable. They never scored a normal goal. I don’t know if they were the best team in history, but no one has ever reproduced it. this game.” – Alan Rough
“In all my years in football as a player, as a coach and as a journalist, I have never seen a team, no matter how good their game, not receive any form of criticism. There was always something to complain about. But nobody, I mean nobody, said bad things about us. It’s because we were really playing football that was extremely beautiful to see. ” – Hawk