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This blog reflects on soccer qua football all over the world. The blog has a specific investment in attractive, attacking football and, as such, focuses on Brazil, the most emphatic historical exponent of the beautiful game.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Brazil v. Romania: A Brief World Cup History

World Cup 1970
June 10, 1970
Guadalajara Stadium
Brazil 3 - Romania 2

Brazil and Romania have played just once in the World Cup, namely, in 1970 in Mexico in the group stages. Pele swore that he would never play in the World Cup again after Portugal’s Morais had fouled him out of the tournament in 1966. But the selection of Mario Zagallo as coach changed matters and Pele returned to the World Cup as the world’s best player. Brazil typically played with four attackers in the form of Jairzinho, Gerson, Tostao and Rivelino, with Pele in a deeper role in the number 10 jersey. For the Romania match, Zagallo chose to rest Gerson and Rivelino. In the 20th minute, Pele was fouled on one of his runs through midfield toward the box. The King stepped back from the dead ball with all of the arrogance and entitlement due to the world’s best football player. Pele scored by curling in a free kick around the left corner of the wall to give Brazil a 1-0 lead. Two minutes later, Paulo Cesar burst down the left flank and beat his marker to cross to Jairzinho, who opportunistically deflected the ball into the box to make it 2-0 Brazil. But Romania were not going to lie down easily. Dumitrache collected a deep midfield pass with his back to goal. He then promptly turned and beat two lackadaisical Brazilian defenders to make it 2-1. Brazil effectively put the match away twenty minutes into the second half after Carlos Alberto’s cross from the right flank was deflected by Tostao’s heel to the onrushing Pele, who found the left corner of the net. The score was now 3-1, in Brazil's favor. Romania's Dembrowski scored in the 83rd minute to render the final minutes tense as Brazil held on for victory and a place in the quarterfinals against Peru.

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