WORLD CUP : history—1970

The ninth FIFA World Cup also became a major TV spectacle and to fit in with television company requests, some matches kicked off at 12 noon. This was an unpopular decision with many players and managers because of the intense heat in Mexico at that time of day.

There was none of the violence throughout the tournament that had plagued the two previous competitions. The World Cup passed without a single player being sent off, equalling the 1950 FIFA World Cup record. For the first time substitutes were allowed, as well as yellow and red cards being introduced.

Pele returned after vowing never to play in another FIFA World Cup and Brazil won the Jules Rimet trophy outright with a near-perfect team including Clodoaldo, Gerson, Rivelino, Tostao, Jairzinho, Pele and Carlos Alberto. In the final, Brazil dazzled and danced to a memorable 4-1 win over Italy with Jairzinho becoming the only player to have scored in every match. Italy had beaten West Germany 4-3 in an astonishing semi-final, the only match in FIFA World Cup history to have produced five goals in extra time.

Pele, in tears, was carried triumphantly on his teammates’ shoulders. He had not only won his third medal, but also played his last match in a FIFA World Cup.