Mexico 70: Sunday 7th June 1970 and two big names collide, West Germany cruise and Mexico create history

Mexico 70 1970 World Cup England vs Brazil

Welcome back to our day-by-day account of Mexico 70, the 1970 World Cup. If you have missed any of this fantastic series so far you can catch up here. Every single day, Pete Spencer will be telling you the story of the Greatest Show on Earth.


Sunday 7th June 1970

Right from when the draw was made almost five months before, this was the day everyone had been waiting for. It was the day when the winners of the last three World Cups met each other. England and Brazil had met twice in World Cups before, playing out a goalless draw in 1958 and then a 3-1 Brazilian win in Chile 1962. Interestingly, Pelé didn’t play in either match. But he would certainly be up for this one.

All the matches on this day completed the second round of matches in each group, giving teams a chance to put one foot in the knockout stage or perhaps a second chance at getting their tournament going.


Estadio Azteca, Mexico City, 103,058

MEXICO (1) 4 (Valdivia 45, 46, Fragoso 58, Basaguren 83)


MEXICO: Calderón; Vantolrá, Peña, Guzmán, Pérez; Munguia, González; Borja (López Salgado)(Basaguren), Padilla, Valdivia, Fragoso

EL SALVADOR: Magaña; Rivas, Mariona, Osorio, Cortés (Monge); Quintanilla, Vásquez, Cabezas, Rodriguez; Martinez, Aparicio (Méndez)

Two CONCACAF rivals met each other at the Azteca. Mexico had only lost once to their opponents and that came all the way back in 1954. Manager, Raúl Cárdenas made four changes from the side which drew 0-0 with the Soviet Union on the opening day. Whereas Hernán Carrasco made just the one change from his side which was well beaten by Belgium.

The first half was tight with the home crowd becoming increasingly nervous. When would they be able cheer a goal?

The best chance of the half fell to Pipo Rodriguez when a shot from outside the area hit the post with the keeper well-beaten. ‘Pipo’ would later return to the World Cup stage when he coached El Salvador to the 1982 Finals in Spain. As the half went on the home side had plenty of shots, with Borja, González and Padilla all going close. Borja really should’ve scored when firing over from about seven yards out.

Then right at the end of the half, it all exploded.

There is a bit of confusion over whether El Salvador were awarded a throw-in or a free-kick. Either way, a Mexican player took it quickly and with the El Salvador players still waiting for the referee’s whistle Valdivia scored.

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The El Salvador players were incensed. They surrounded the referee in the centre circle, refusing to accept the officials’ desire to restart the game. The captain, Salvador Mariona, was the most animated and in the end, he kicked the ball into the stands. The referee eventually blew for halftime without adding any time for stoppages.

Mexico then doubled their lead soon after the break when Valdivia was allowed to run into the area unchallenged, and he slid it past Magaña. Just before the hour, Fragoso made it 3-0 after a cross to the far post was headed down by López for him to knock it past the keeper.

López had come on for Borja at the start of the second half, and he became the first substitute to be substituted in a World Cup match when Basaguren replaced him. Eight minutes later Basaguren made it 4-0 after the keeper made a terrible error wide on the edge of the area and the Mexican passed it into the empty net.

Basaguren became the first substitute to score in a World Cup match.

Mexico were now top of the group. A draw in their final game against Belgium would be enough to see them through to the knockout stages for the first time. El Salvador were still angry about the first Mexican goal but no one was talking about compensating them.

1 Mexico 2 1 1 0 4 0 4 3
2 USSR 2 1 1 0 4 1 3 3
3 Belgium 2 1 0 1 4 4 0 2
4 El Salvador 2 0 0 2 0 7 -7 0

Matches remaining

10th Soviet Union v El Salvador

11th June Mexico v Belgium


Estadio Luis Dosal, Toluca, 9,624

SWEDEN (0) 1 (Turesson 53)

ISRAEL (0) 1 (Spiegler 56)

SWEDEN: SG Larsson; Selander, Axelsson, Olsson, Grip; Svensson, B Larsson, Nordahl; Turesson, Kindvall, Persson (Pálsson)

ISRAEL: Vissoker; Bar, Primo, Vollach (Shuruk), Rosen; Schwager, Rosenthal, Shum; Spiegler, Spiegel, Feigenbaum

Sweden and Israel were definitely the underdogs in Group Two and having both lost their opening match, the pressure was on them to win this one. After Uruguay and Italy drew the day before, this meant whoever won this one would be in with a chance of going through.

Sweden boss, Orvar Bergmark dropped keeper Ronnie Hellström after his clanger for Italy’s only goal on Wednesday. The teams had met three times in the previous two years with the Swedes winning all three.

Hellström says in Andrew Downie’s book;

“Everyone had only focused on that damn game with Italy. There was no plan for whatever might happen if we lost to Italy.”

They were confident they knew what the Israelis offered so they didn’t really concentrate on the threat they presented. For Israel, they knew the friendly results counted for nothing if they could beat the Swedes in the World Cup.

A real niggly game, one which was synonymous with the football of its time. The first half was goalless then eight minutes into the second half the game suddenly came to life. Right-back Hans Selander got clear down the right of the area and squared the ball where Sweden had three in the six-yard box. Tom Turesson was completely free, and with the keeper beaten, he calmly passed it into the net for the opening goal.

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Sweden now had their opponents where they wanted them, but instead of going for the second to kill the game, they sat back.

Israeli skipper, Mordechai Spiegler was by far their most dangerous player. He soon combined with Spiegel with a one-two which saw him get into the area. Larsson, in the Sweden goal, came out to grab the ball at Spiegler’s feet. But for a moment he spilled the ball and Spiegler tried to kick it clear. The keeper then performed a move which wouldn’t have been out of place in the artistic section of the gymnastics at the Olympics. Writhing about in apparent agony. Clearly, the referee wasn’t having any of it and just told him to get on with it.

Three minutes later the Swedes wished he had punished Spiegler as the number 10 fired a beauty from outside the area and it flew past Larsson for the equaliser.

“It’s a pity that football is not like basketball, because I scored from a distance, it should be three goals, like three points!”, Spiegler said in Andrew Downie’s book.

A 1-1 draw was no good to either side, really.  Both would now have to win their last game by a two-goal margin, and that looked highly unlikely.

The Swedish squad really weren’t having a good time of it. Their camp was miles from anywhere and they weren’t playing well. Hellström particularly wasn’t in a good place, mentally. The team tried to pick him up after the Italy game but then the papers arrived from back home and he soon discovered the whole country blamed him alone for the defeat. You just couldn’t imagine them picking themselves up to take on Uruguay in three days’ time.

1 Uruguay 2 1 1 0 2 0 2 3
2 Italy 2 1 1 0 1 0 1 3
3 Sweden 2 0 1 1 1 2 -1 1
4 Israel 2 0 1 1 1 3 -2 1

Matches remaining

10th June Sweden v Uruguay

11th June Italy v Israel


Estadio Jalisco, Guadalajara, 66,843

BRAZIL (0) 1 (Jairzinho 59)


BRAZIL: Félix; Carlos Alberto, Piazza, Brito, Everaldo; Jairzinho, Clodoaldo, Rivellino, Paulo Cézar; Pelé, Tostão (Roberto)

ENGLAND: Banks; Wright, Labone, Moore, Cooper; Ball, Mullery, R Charlton (Bell), Peters; Hurst, Lee (Astle)

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This was the big one. The biggest game in world football since Uruguay v Brazil in 1950? Or possibly Hungary v Brazil in 1954. Either way the whole world was talking about it and had been since the draw was made in February. Both teams knew the winner of this was likely to win the group and therefore have an easier route to the Final.

Since winning the World Cup at Wembley, England had lost just four times including a defeat to Brazil in Rio 12 months before this game. England fielded just two changes from the side which conceded two late goals to lose 1-2 in the Marcaña. Brazil made five.

Brazil was a far more determined side than the one which arrived in England four years earlier. In their quest to win the World Cup for a third successive year, they were lacklustre and uncertain. Losing Pelé so early in the tournament didn’t help as their opponents decided the best way to beat them was to kick them out. Literally.

Four years later Pelé was back, more determined than ever in what was going to be his last foray on the world stage. Garrincha may have retired but Jairzinho was a much more experienced and menacing prospect than he had been in England. Rivelino and Gerson had looked the perfect combination in midfield, but Zagallo decided to rest Gerson, who had an injured thigh. Paulo Cesar, a winger came in to replace him. To counter this Ramsey replaced Newton with Tommy Wright at right-back. England knew they were going to have to work hard to break them down.

1958 World Cup winner, Mario Zagallo was back as coach. He’d given Clodoaldo a crucial role just in front of the defence, which made Brazil a far tougher prospect to beat. Clodoaldo had made his debut in that England match in 1969 and was winning his ninth cap and yet to taste defeat in a Brazilian jersey.

Bobby Moore would later say this was the best game of football he ever played in. Many would comment this was his best performance on a football pitch.

The opening stages were cagey on another very hot day in Guadalajara. The game was a classic in terms of a fascinating tussle between England’s efficient, structured play and Brazil’s more expansive, free-flowing style. But today was a day for Brazil to be tight defensively. Clearly fearing the attacking prowess of Charlton, Hurst and Peters, they were deliberate to begin with.

Tottenham’s Alan Mullery had been given the job of marking the greatest player in the world. In typical 70’s football style, he ‘stuck one on him early’. Pelé went to react and ‘Mullers’ told him in no uncertain terms it wouldn’t be a good move to rile him. But Pelé had dealt with the likes of Mullery all his life. Still, the England man did a good job of nullifying the threat.

Then in the 13th minute came one of the most famous moments in World Cup history. That save.

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Carlos Alberto played the ball up the right wing to Jairzinho. It was a beautiful pass with the outside of his right foot. He bent it inside Terry Cooper with just enough weight to allow Jairzinho one touch before he reached the bye-line. The ball took a slight bobble as he was about to hit it, so his cross had plenty of elevation to get to the far post. Pelé, renowned for his jumping ability, got up highest and thundered a header towards goal. There are those who have said they heard him shout ‘goal’ as he met it cleanly. As it seemed to be a certain goal, Gordon Banks managed not only to get his hand to it to scoop it away from goal but had enough strength in the save to turn it behind for a corner. The ball had beaten him yet somehow he reached back and saved it. Astonishing.

Despite the heat, both teams produced plenty of chances. Many of them from outside the area, but England were certainly giving Brazil a game. Lee had the best chance when his header was saved at point-blank range by Felix. Thinking the ball had bounced loose from the keeper, Lee went in to try and get another shot in but succeeded in kicking Felix. This incensed the Brazilians. Carlos Alberto decided to dish out his own sense of justice a few minutes later when he blatantly checked the Manchester City forward’s run towards the box.

Goalless at half-time, Brazil appeared to try some mind games at the start of the second half when they kept England waiting on the pitch for several minutes in the searing heat before emerging from the tunnel.

England had so much to contend with in this game, some of it of their own making. The locals were very much willing Brazil to win. When England turned up in Mexico with their own water and their own bus, they didn’t endear themselves to the locals. These were locals who still remembered what Ramsey had said about Argentina at the last World Cup. But what England didn’t know was how Brazil had got one over on them before they arrived at the stadium. One of the coaching staff found out there was only electricity in one of the changing rooms, so he and a few others convinced security staff to let them in the night before and claim their space.

The heat was a real factor too. At half-time, some of the non-playing members of the squad were hacking at large chunks of ice to put them in towels for players to wear in an attempt to cool themselves. Banks even took some in a polythene bag out with him for the second half. But ten minutes in he discovered the ball to be full of tepid water.

In the second half Banks pulled off another great save after Rivellino skipped his way several tackles before unleashing a fierce strike from just outside the area.

Eventually, the pressure from the South Americans told. Gerson and Tostao combined on the left of the area. Tostao turned back and crossed to Pelé in the area. He controlled it and then passed to Jairzinho who ran up and lashed it into the roof of the net. Brazil led 1-0.

Alf Ramsey shuffled his pack and brought on Colin Bell and Jeff Astle for Bobby Charlton and Francis Lee. Five minutes later Astle had the chance to become a hero.

A cross into the box from England’s left was miss-kicked by Brito and the ball fell to Astle around the penalty spot. He had just the keeper to beat but his shot went agonisingly wide.

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The second half was when Moore really showed his class. His ability to read the game and time his tackle whilst not going to ground or lunging in was a real factor. One particular moment was when Jairzinho was rampaging towards the England goal. Moore, backpedalling, just waited and waited and waited before timing his challenge perfectly to steal the ball from the Brazil number seven. Crucially he’d stayed on his feet so was able to take the ball forward to launch another England attack.

Both teams had chances to add to the score but in the end, Jairzinho’s goal was the difference. Alan Ball’s drive from just outside the area on the left hit the bar, but it went for a corner rather than come back for one of the England forwards to turn in. Brazil knew how crucial this win would be. It was likely they’d win the group now and their passage to the Final would be far easier than England’s. The winners of the group would get to stay in Guadalajara, at sea level. Finish second and it was a trip to altitude. Neither side relished that, especially with little time to acclimatise.

At the end of a pulsating match, many believed we would see a repeat of this game in the Final in a fortnight’s time.

1 Brazil 2 2 0 0 5 1 4 4
2 Romania 2 1 0 1 2 2 0 2
3 England 2 1 0 1 1 1 0 2
4 Czechoslovakia 2 0 0 2 2 6 -4 0

Matches remaining

10th June Brazil v Romania

11th June England v Czechoslovakia


Estadio Nou Camp, León 12,710

WEST GERMANY (2) 5 (Libuda 20, Müller 27, 52 pen, 88, Seeler 67)

BULGARIA (1) 2 (Nikodimov12, Kolev 89)

WEST GERMANY: Maier; Vogts, Schnellinger, Fichtel, Höttges; Beckenbauer (Weber), Overath; Seeler, Müller, Löhr (Grabowski)

BULGARIA: Simeonov; Gaydarski, Zhechev, Kolev, Penev; Gaganelov (Shalamanov), Nikodimov, Dermendzhiev (Mitkov), Asparuhov; Marashliev, Bonev

After Peru made it two wins from two the day before, West Germany knew victory here would decide the two qualifiers from Group Four with a game in hand. Bulgaria had lead 2-0 against Peru before losing, so they needed a result here to stay in the competition.

West Germany had been lacklustre against Morocco and were rather fortunate to come away with a win. Coach Helmut Schön made changes. He dispensed with a sweeper at the back and went with two wide men up front.

Reinhard Libuda came in on the right, Hannes Löhr on the left. Libuda had made his debut back in 1963 but had faded from the national side before the 1966 World Cup. He returned in 1967 and now back at Schalke, he was enjoying his second run in the team. Löhr was one of two players from Köln and had come on as sub against Morocco. The two to miss out were Haller and Held, who’d both played in the World Cup Final four years before.

Schön decision to bring in Libuda proved correct early on as he was a constant threat down the right. Beckenbauer and Müller was also dangerous and should’ve put the Germans in front. But it was Bulgaria who broke the deadlock with their first chance of the match. Fichtel brought down Bonev about 25 yards out. The free-kick was played left to Nikodimov who hit it first time, low and past Maier for the opening goal.

Libuda was again a threat just four minutes later. He sped down the right again and hit a ball across the six-yard box once he reached the bye-line. The ball was gathered by the keeper, but he fumbled it and as it bounced towards the goal line Penev got back and kicked it off the line. The Germans claimed it and the officials agreed with them. Replays show it didn’t cross the line but the Germans were presumably still feeling they were owed one from four years earlier.

Seven minutes later Libuda was involved again. He beat Zhechev down near the bye-line and this time his cross into the six-yard box was turned in by Müller to give them the lead.

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Seven minutes into the second half and West Germany increased their lead. Müller had a shot saved by Simeonov. Then soon after Libuda was again causing problems in the area, twisting and turning and eventually brought down. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Müller took it and scored his second of the game.

The Germans were relentless now, clearly believing goal difference could be important in determining the group winners. Beckenbauer was increasingly active in many of the attacks.

The fourth goal wasn’t long in coming. Müller crossed from the left to find Seeler at the far post and he turned it in. The game was all over as a contest. The closing stages consisted of West Germany trying to help Müller reach his hat-trick.

With just a couple of minutes to go, they achieved it. A typical bullet header from Müller from around the penalty spot gave the Germans their fifth.

All that remained was a stunning strike from well outside the area from Kolev to give Bulgaria something to remember. But they were well beaten in the end.

West Germany now had the slim extra goal advantage over Peru, who they’d meet next. However, the rules to separate teams in equal points was based on goal difference and then the drawing of lots. This meant a draw between the Germans and Peru would see them toss a coin to find out who would top the group. Fine margins. For Bulgaria, they only had a consolation match against Morocco knowing both would be on the flight home immediately after the game.

1 West Germany 2 2 0 0 7 3 4 4
2 Peru 2 2 0 0 6 2 4 4
3 Bulgaria 2 0 0 2 4 8 -4 0
4 Morocco 2 0 0 2 1 5 -4 0

Matches remaining

10th June West Germany v Peru

11th June Bulgaria v Morocco

Join us tomorrow for matchday six…