A global phenomenon was probably born in 1958, both with the team and the player. But starting the 1960s, defense would begin ruling the day. But the Cup continued, and after one superstar player succumbed to injury, his teammate had his moment in the sun. Just like Just Fontaine four years before, this player – Garrincha – came from the depths of obscurity to stardom, but just as quickly, his spotlight faded. Chile would also come into its own, although not necessarily for the right reasons.
(The 1962 FIFA World Cup logo. Photo courtesy of http://www.worldcupbrazil.net)
1962 FIFA World Cup
May 30-June 17
Runner Up: Czechoslovakia
Third Place: Chile
Fourth Place: Yugoslavia
Leading scorer(s): Flórián Albert (Hungary); Garrincha (Brazil); Valentin Ivanov (Soviet Union); Drazan Jerkovic (Yugoslavia); Leonel Sanchez (Chile); Garrincha (Brazil) – 4 goals apiece
CONMEBOL (the South American football confederation) was threatening to boycott the World Cup altogether if the Cup were not returned to South America, following two consecutive times being hosted by Europe. FIFA relented, and for a while, Argentina held the inside track. Chile was asked to enter largely as a way to have a competing bid. But at the nominations process in Helsinki in 1952 (Helsinki was hosting the Summer Olympics at the time), several Chilean executives began pitching their country as an alternative. They argued that Argentina didn’t have the infrastructure and history to be a viable host. Led by chairmen Carlos Dittborn and Juan Pinto Duran, the Chilean bid ended up winning 32 votes to 11 in a shocking upset.
Even then, it almost didn’t happen. On May 22, 1960, the town of Valdivia was hit with a 9.5 magnitude earthquake. It remains the most powerful earthquake ever recorded by the Richter scale. The Chilean delegation appealed to FIFA to let them keep hosting duties, because they argued they had nothing left. FIFA complied.
(Here is a picture of some of the rubble left over from the 1960 Valdivia earthquake, the largest one in recorded history. Photo courtesy of Encyclopedia Britannica.)
Still, several would-be host cities, including Valdivia, Concepcion, Talca, and Talcahuano, were so badly damaged that they couldn’t maintain their stadiums. Two others withdrew for financial reasons. In the end, only four cities would host the games: Viña del Mar, Rancagua, Arica, and the capital city of Santiago. The show went on.
The format retained the previous Cup’s format: 16 teams, with the host and defending champions automatically qualifying. Teams earned two points for a win and one point for a draw. But a new change was coming – for the first time, goal average would determine who advanced. No more tiebreaker games in the group stage. As a result, teams began focusing on defense. Many fans never forgave FIFA for this.
Two teams secured qualification for the first time. In South America, Colombia finally broke through after a win and a draw in a two-leg playoff with Peru. With Chile qualifying automatically as host and Brazil as defending champions, South America had only two other spots available. Argentina beat Ecuador easily, 11-3 on aggregate. Following a 1-1 draw between Bolivia and Uruguay, it would be the Uruguayans qualifying with a 2-1 win at home in Montevideo.
The other first-time team to qualify did so in a major upset. France had finished in third place in Sweden ’58, but had to play a one-game playoff with an upstart team from Bulgaria in a neutral-site game in Milan, Italy. Shockingly, the Bulgarians knocked out France 1-0. The decisive goal was scored by midfielder Dimitar Yakimov (47′). He would score nine goals in 67 caps for Bulgaria, but he never had a bigger goal than this one. (I can’t find a good photo of him to post, unfortunately.)
Elsewhere in UEFA, West Germany won all four games over Northern Ireland to advance easily, and despite losing many of their stars from 1954, Hungary was primed for one last run. Mainstay Lajos Tichy scored (80′) in Budapest on October 22, 1961, to secure a 3-3 draw with The Netherlands, after falling behind 0-2 in the first fifteen minutes. Twelve years later, the Dutch would revolutionize the game on their own.
Like France, another top four finisher would be out. Belgium lost all four games in Group 1, and a one-game playoff between Switzerland and Sweden saw the Swiss win 2-1 in West Berlin, mere months after the building of the Berlin Wall. Charles Antenen was the one to put them through with a goal in the 76th minute.
(Charles Antenen sent Switzerland into the World Cup with the winning goal. Photo courtesy of Sports Buddha Temple of Football.)
Spain seemed to be a dominant team, getting Ferenc Puskás after he left Hungary. Also in that team was Alfredo di Stefano (although born in Buenos Aires), one of UEFA’s best players for Real Madrid. Sadly, Puskás was past his prime, and an injury forced di Stefano out, leaving him as arguably the best ever player who never got to play in the World Cup. And it was sad but true – di Stefano never officially played a game in the Cup.
(Despite his heroism for Real Madrid, Argentina and then for Spain, Alfredo di Stefano never played in the World Cup. Photo courtesy of Inside Spanish Football.)
The Soviet Union beat Turkey and Norway to sweep their way into the Cup; England won three and drew once to get in as well. The Soviets were led by the first true high-profile goalkeeper, Lev Yashin of club team Dynamo Moscow. Yashin was a two-pack-a-day chain smoker, originally played ice hockey, and was nicknamed “The Man in Black” because he refused to dress in any other color when on the pitch. But Yashin was a revolutionary. No longer would they be seen as buffoons or the last line of defense. Thanks to Yashin, some teams now featured the goalkeeper as their star player. How good was Yashin? One year after the World Cup, 1963, he became the only goalkeeper to ever win European Player of the Year.
(Lev Yashin of the Soviet Union became the World Cup’s first superstar goalkeeper. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.)
Group 7 had a five-team playoff, which Italy won over Israel 10-2 in a two-legged playoff. Czechoslovakia beat Scotland 4-2 in a playoff in Brussels, scoring twice in extra time. Spain and Yugoslavia advanced to playoffs with CAF (Africa) and AFC (Asia)teams, with Spain advancing over Morocco, and Yugoslavia over South Korea. After surviving their qualifying round, Mexico beat Paraguay in a playoff for the final spot.
Qualification was now set. But during the lead-up to the World Cup, two Italian journalists ventured into Santiago, and had nothing positive to say about it. In fact, hyperbole was on full force – I won’t post the comments, but look up the “Battle of Santiago” Wikipedia page for more information (slight spoiler alert). Whether by accident or design, the two were drawn together into Group 2.
The four teams in this group were Uruguay, Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and Colombia, with all games played in Arica. On May 30, The underdog Colombians actually took an early lead (19′) on a penalty kick by Francisco Zuluaga. They held that lead into halftime. But after Luis Cubilla tied it (56′), Uruguay got late goal with about fifteen minutes to go from Jose Sasia. Colombia was unable to come up with an equalizer. The next day, Yashin led the Soviets to a 2-0 victory over Yugoslavia. The Yugoslavians got back into it when they rallied from an early goal to beat Uruguay 3-1. The Soviet Union-Colombia game was a memorable one, ending in a 4-4 draw. It actually started off really poorly for the Colombians, falling behind 3-0 after only eleven minutes, including two goals from Valentin Ivanov in four minutes. German Aceros scored (21′) to put Colombia on the board, but Colombia still trailed 3-1 at the break. After Viktor Ponedelnik (56′) made it 4-1, many wrote the Colombians off. But they got back in it in spectacular fashion. Sixty-eight minutes in, Colombia won a corner kick. Midfielder Marcos Coll took the corner….and it went in untouched for a goal! It’s legal to score from a corner, but it’s very tough to do. Such a goal is known as a gol olimpico, or “Olympic goal.” Coll’s goal was the only time it ever happened in the World Cup. Coll himself only had eleven caps, but he scored five times in those eleven matches.
(Marcos Coll scores the only “gol olimpico” ever scored in the World Cup. Video courtesy of YouTube.)
The Soviets quickly fell apart, and even Yashin seemed to be off form. Colombia rallied to score two more times, and earned a hard-fought draw. The Soviets had choked away a three-goal lead twice, and were fortunate to still earn a point.
In the final matches, the Soviets managed to overcome that match, beating Uruguay 2-1 with Ivanov hitting the winner only one minute from time, allowing the USSR to win the group. Yugoslavia took second after beating Colombia 5-0. Unfortunately, any momentum for Colombia quickly evaporated. They wouldn’t return until 1990.
Hosts Chile beat Switzerland 3-1 in the opening game in Santiago, despite falling behind only six minutes in. One minute from halftime, Chile’s star player Leonel Sanchez equalized, and scored a second goal eleven minutes later. West Germany and Italy played to a scoreless draw, each earning a point.
June 2, 1962 was a notorious day in the World Cup. Following the bad blood between the Italians and Chileans in the build up, English referee Ken Aston was hoping for a calm game. He wouldn’t get it. In fact, it would be a match of carnage. Because many of the games were only on tape delay, BBC broadcaster David Coleman led in the highlights of the match with a piece of commentary that became legendary at Cups to come.
“Good evening. The game you are about to see is the most stupid, appalling, disgusting and disgraceful exhibition of football, possibly in the history of the game.”
In what became known as the “Battle of Santiago,” the first foul occurred within the first twelve seconds of the kickoff. Aston let several fouls go, before controversy came in the twelfth minute. Chile’s Honorino Landa, one day after his 20th birthday, was fouled hard by Giorgio Ferrini. Aston sent him off the field – except Ferrini refused to leave. It got so bad that the Carabineros, the Chilean national police, were forced to escort Ferrini off the field.
(Giorgio Ferrini is forcibly removed from the field by Chile’s police force. Photo courtesy of http://www.kenaston.org.)
Several minutes later, Landa punched an Italian player, but Aston ignored it this time. About twenty minutes later, Leonel Sanchez and Italy’s Mario David scuffled. Sanchez, the son of a champion amateur boxer, sucker-punched David in the face. Aston ignored it again. Italy was furious, particularly when David roundhouse kicked Sanchez in the head in retaliation and Aston sent him off. It was nil-nil at halftime.
Later in the match, Sanchez threw another punch that broke the nose of Italy’s Humberto Maschio. Again, Aston let it slide. While no other players were sent off, the two teams kicked, spit, and gouged each other for the rest of the match. Lost in the violence is the fact that Chile broke through twice through Jaime Ramirez (73′) and Jorge Toro (87′). Chile won 2-0, but even the scoreline is largely forgotten. Largely due to the language barrier, Aston couldn’t control the players. Driving back to the hotel later that day, he stopped at a traffic light. He realized that the color coding was perfect. Yellow meant slow down. Red meant stop. Although they wouldn’t be introduced until 1970, Aston had a moment of genius – yellow and red cards were born. No longer would a language barrier hold the referees back.
(Highlights of the infamous “Battle of Santiago” between Chile-Italy, including David Coleman’s lead-in. Video courtesy of YouTube.)
The following day, West Germany won 2-1 over Switzerland, eliminating the latter team from the knockout stages. The Germans won 2-0 over Chile and Italy beat 3-0 over Switzerland in the final group matches, including a goal from Bruno Mora less than sixty seconds in. Still, it wasn’t enough to get them through. West Germany won the group with five points, and Chile earned four to advance to the quarterfinals.
Brazil looked poised to keep their title. They won easily 2-0 over Mexico in the first match, Pelé scoring the second one after Mario Zagallo scoring the first. It was clear that without di Stefano, Spain was a beaten team. Czechoslovakia beat them 1-0 in the first game. In the second matches, Brazil and Czechoslovakia played to a scoreless draw. But Brazil paid a heavy price for it – Pelé was injured on a hard tackle and would be out for the rest of the Cup. Fortunately, another unheralded superstar was waiting in the wings. His name was Manuel Francisco dos Santos. But the fans knew him as Garrincha. Ironically, the nickname wasn’t considered a compliment; it meant “little wounded bird” in Portuguese. Garrincha was considered to have a learning disability, and almost died at birth due to a high fever. This left one leg shorter than the other, and they were also inverted in the wrong way. Still, this actually helped Garrincha’s dribbling skills. He would make his mark in the next match.
(Like Just Fontaine in 1958, Garrincha became the underdog everybody loved to root for. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.)
Spain had beaten Mexico 1-0 in their group game, and took an early lead on the Brazilians in the final group match (Adelardo 35′). Brazil used Pelé’s replacement Amarildo to score the equalizer (72′). Only four minutes from time, Garrincha dribbled and faked around several Spanish defenders, getting into the box. He crossed the ball into Amarildo, who hit it with his head. Goal! Garrincha’s perfect pass had set up the game winner. Brazil won 2-1 to win the group. Despite Mexico beating Czechoslovakia 3-1 (Mexico getting their first win in the World Cup), the losers still progressed, sending Spain and Mexico home.
(Garrincha makes a great pass to Amarildo, who scored the winner versus Spain. Video courtesy of YouTube.)
Argentina looked to finally solidify its destiny with a 1-0 victory over Bulgaria. The decisive blow came in the fourth minute. Hungary edged out England 2-1, with Flórián Albert scoring the winner (71′) for the Hungarians. In what would be the beginning of a classic and bitter rivalry, England then faced off against Argentina. This time, England won 3-1. The Three Lions opened the scoring with a Ron Flowers penalty (17′). Three minutes before halftime, Bobby Charlton scored one of his own. Known almost as much for his notorious comb-over as for his play, he’d be a stalwart for England four years later when they won the whole thing (and win the Ballon d’Or that same year). Another star, Jimmy Greaves, added a third in the second half. Argentina got one back in the final ten minutes, but it was too little, too late. It would prove to be crucial for England for their goal average.
(The balding Bobby Charlton scored to help England defeat Argentina to help them in the group stage. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.)
Hungary ran over Bulgaria in their game, 6-1. Albert had a hat trick, and by the time fifteen minutes had passed, Bulgaria trailed 4-0 (two of Albert’s goals came in the first six minutes). Lajos Tichy added two more of his own, before Georgi Sokolov (64′) managed one for Bulgaria, their first World Cup goal ever. But otherwise, it was a disaster for the Bulgarians.
Both of the final matches – Hungary-Argentina and England-Bulgaria – ended in scoreless draws. Now these games were becoming the norm. Bulgaria had their first point, and it was a crucial match for Argentina. They would miss out on the quarterfinals after that critical loss to England. The Three Lions were runner up and Hungary had its last great moment in the World Cup, taking the group.
The host Chileans faced off against USSR in Arica. Unfortunately, Lev Yashin had one bad game. Not even he was immune to them. Leonel Sanchez scored in the 11th minute to give Chile an early lead. The Soviets tied the score (26′) through Igor Chislenko. But three minutes later, Eladio Rojas scored the winner to send the hosts into the semifinals. Yashin’s heroics would have to wait.
If there was a great keeper in the tournament, it was Czechoslovakia’s Viliam Schrojf. He came up with several big saves for them in the quarterfinal against Hungary. Adolf Scherer’s goal (13′) sent Czechoslovakia through.
(Czechoslovakia advanced thanks to the superb play of goalkeeper Viliam Schrojf. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.)
(Highlights of the Czechoslovakia-Hungary quarterfinal. Video courtesy of YouTube.)
Garrincha scored two times against England, and another goal from another star, Vavá, helped Brazil advance with a 3-1 victory. Many consider it the finest game Garrincha ever played. The Yugoslavians upset West Germany when Petar Radakovic scored five minutes before time.
(Garrincha in action against England. Video courtesy of YouTube.)
The two South American countries faced off, Brazil and Chile in Santiago. Both Garrincha and Vavá had a brace, and despite a goal from Sanchez, the hosts would be forced to settle for the third place match, falling 4-2. Garrincha and Chile’s Landa were both sent off. However, in a controversial move, Brazil appealed to FIFA, and he was reinstated for the final.
(Highlights of the Brazil-Chile semifinal. Video courtesy of YouTube.)
In the other final in Viña del Mar between Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, the game ended scoreless in the first half. But just three minutes into the second half, Josef Kadraba made it 1-0 Czechoslovakia. Yugoslavia equalized the score (69′) through Dražan Jerković, but it wouldn’t be enough. But Scherer scored twice in the last ten minutes, including once from the penalty spot.
(Two goals from Adolf Scherer against Yugoslavia sent the Czechoslovakians into the finals. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.)
Third place game
The third place game took place on June 16 in Santiago. Although it was an exciting game, it looked like it would head to extra time. But in the final minute, Eladio Rojas scored the winner to give Chile a 1-0 victory. The hosts overcame tragedy to finish with bronze.
(Eladio Rojas scored the winner to give Chile third place. Photo courtesy of http://www.planetworldcup.com.)
(Highlights of the third place game. Video courtesy of YouTube.)
Santiago’s Estadio Nacional hosted the final one day later. Many weren’t sure whether Garrincha would make the most of his reprieve. Although Czechoslovakia kept him in check, they forgot the others. At first, it looked like the Brazilians would get off to another slow start. Midfielder Josef Masopust made it 0-1 for the Czechoslovakians (15′). But Brazil would rally. Two minutes later, Amarildo had tied the score, on a rare error by Schrojf. That 1-1 scoreline held up at scoreline. Both teams had their chances.
Ultimately, the Brazilians proved that even without Pelé, they had the best team. Zito scored in the 69th minute to give Brazil the lead for good. Nine minutes later, Vavá added the comfort goal to make it 3-1 Brazil after another uncharacteristic error by the goalkeeper, fumbling the ball and allowing a rebound. Neither team really had a chance again. Brazil had defended their title. And the little bird was singing a song of joy along with his teammates.
(Highlights of the 1962 final. Video courtesy of YouTube.)
(Vavá celebrates his insurance goal in the final. Photo courtesy of FIFA.)
(The victorious Brazilians line up before the final. Photo courtesy of http://www.worldcupbrazil.net.)
Czechoslovakia set an unwanted record – twice they made the final, and both times they scored first. Both times, they still lost the game (1934 to Italy and 1962 to Brazil).
Six players served as co-leading scorers with four goals.
This was the first time that the average number of goals was under 3 per game. It was listed at 2.78, and has never been above 3 since.
The semifinal matches were supposed to have been played in the opposite cities from which they were played, but FIFA switched the venues unexpectedly.
During the Brazil-England quarterfinal, a dog ran onto the pitch and urinated on England player Jimmy Greaves. Many believe Garrincha took the dog home with him, but it was given a good home.
Sadly, Garrincha didn’t live to see fifty years old. He died at age 49 (in 1983) due to cirrhosis of the liver, which had been destroyed by alcoholism. The stadium in the capital city of Brasilia is named after him.
Although they failed to make the knockout stages, Italy began the shift towards defensive football with their invention of catenaccio, or “door bolt” in Italian, in the 1950s. Catenaccio created the role of the libero/sweeper, and was often used in a 5-3-2 formation, perfected by Helenio Herrera and Inter Milan in the 1960s. Ironically, the man who is credited with it was Karl Rappan, an Austrian.
Brazil became the only South American team to repeat, the second overall, and last to date.
Brazil had done it without their star player. They looked invincible. And while Pelé would come back in ’66, he wouldn’t be able to carry his team. The team that invented the game was about to host it, and have arguably their moment of glory, that fifty years later remains the high water mark for the Three Lions.
References and Sources
Sports Buddha Temple of Football
Inside Spanish Football
World Cup’s 50 Greatest Moments (BBC 3 documentary)
World Cup Heaven and Hell: The Divine and Damned (ITV documentary)
Soccer’s Most Wanted: The Top 10 Book of Clumsy Keepers, Clever Crosses, and Outlandish Oddities (John Snyder)
Soccer’s Most Wanted II: The Top 10 Book of More Glorious Goals, Superb Saves, and Fantastic Free-Kicks (Jeff Carlisle)
¡Golazo! The Beautiful Game from the Aztecs to the World Cup: The Complete History of How Soccer Shaped Latin America (Andreas Campomar)
The ESPN World Cup Companion: Everything You Need to Know About the Planet’s Biggest Sports Event (David Hirshey, Roger Bennett)
The Mammoth Book of the World Cup (Nick Holt)