FIFA World Cup Great Moments: Pelé Lifting His 3rd World Cup Before Turning 30
Pelé scored the first goal of the 1970 World Cup final against Italy.
Sridhar KrishnanUPDATED 19 Nov 2022 11:21 pm
Pelé is one of the two most popular names in football history, the other being Diego Maradona. Pelé, though, had won his first World Cup even before Maradona was born. The Brazilian was only 17 when he accomplished this feat in 1958. In all, he won three World Cups (1958, 1962, 1970) and remains the only player to do so.
Pelé’s most iconic moment came in the 1970 World Cup wherein Brazil and Italy, both former champions, met in a final for the first time. Like Brazil, Italy were in the hunt for their third major trophy. Brazil had already eliminated the defending champions England in the quarterfinals and were seen as favourites. In fact, the 1970 team is rated as Brazil’s best ever.
Playing under the intense Mexican sun in Aztec Stadium, Pelé drew first blood with a header off a cross from Rivellino (one of Maradona’s idols, incidentally). The Brazil No. 10 then celebrated by jumping into the arms of compatriot Jairzinho, a moment that would be in numerous montages over the years.
Italy would equalise in the 37th minute, courtesy negligent defending from Brazil.
Though Italy dominated the second half, Brazil made the most of their chances, scoring three more goals to register an unprecedented record of winning the World Cup thrice.
One of those goals was a classic by captain Carlos Alberto, the result of a mesmerising, ducking and weaving move involving the cream of the Brazil team – chiefly Clodoaldo, Jairzinho and Pele. It is often called the best team goal in history.
Brazil manager Mario Zagallo went down in history as the first man to win the World Cup as a player (1958, 1962) and a manager (1970).
It was also the only second instance in the tournament when no player received a red card, the other time being the 1950 World Cup.