Mexico 70: Sunday 14th June 1970 and surprise package Peru try to stop Brazil

Mexico 70 1970 World Cup Brazil vs Peru

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 14th June 1970

The third Quarter-Final was between Brazil and Peru. Peru had been the surprise package, having to deal with the devastating news of an earthquake back home on the eve of the tournament. They’d played some exciting football but would they have enough to stop the Brazilian juggernaut?

Brazil had been awesome in their matches, including beating the defending champions, England. But the second half against Romania suggested they were prone to overconfidence.


Estadio Jalisco, Guadalajara, 54,233

BRAZIL (2) 4 (Rivellino 11, Tostão 15, 52, Jairzinho 75)

PERU (1) 2 (Gallardo 28, Cubillas 70)

BRAZIL: Félix; Carlos Alberton, Piazza, Brito, Marco Antonio; Jairzinho (Roberto), Clodoaldo, Gérson (Paulo Cezar), Rivellino; Tostão, Pelé

PERU: Rubiños; Campos, Fernández, Chumpitaz, Fuentes; Mifflin, Challe; Baylón (Sotil), León (Reyes), Cubillas, Gallardo

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The meeting between these two was a fascinating prospect. Not just that they were from the same continent. Nor just that Brazil was everyone’s favourite to win the trophy, but the sympathy vote had moved to Peru given the pressure they were under. Much of the interest centred around Brazil coming face to face with one of its finest sons, Didi.

Pelé and Brazil’s coach, Mário Zagallo were Didi’s teammates when Brazil last lifted the World Cup in 1962. Didi, who was also in the team that won Brazil’s first World Cup in 1958, had turned Peru into an entertaining, attacking unit. But history was against them.

In 19 meetings between the two they’d only ever won one and avoided defeat three times.

Pelé is quoted in Andrew Downie’s book

“We were more worried about Didi than we were about the Peru team. It was strange picturing Didi sitting across the field when we finally met; I wondered how he would feel seeing his old friends and teammates facing him instead of sitting beside them.”

Didi made three changes from the side which lost to West Germany with defenders Gonzalez and de la Torre moving to the bench. Eloy Campos came in at right-back, having started the opening game against Bulgaria. José Fernández was in for the first time in the tournament. Julio Baylón came into attack on the right with Hugo Sotil dropping to the bench. Baylón had also played against Bulgaria.

Eight of the Peru side were in the team which were 2-0 up inside the opening eight minutes of a friendly at the Maracaña, 15 months earlier. Pelé got Brazil back into it, but the game was remembered for a mass brawl. Gérson went in hard on de la Torre. His teammate, Enrique Casaretto retaliated and soon players were pushing and shoving. The pushes turned into punches and kicks with Pelé very much involved. Brazil ended up winning 3-2 but the bad feeling remained.

Zagallo brought back Gérson after he’d sat out the England and Romania games with a troubled thigh injury. Rivellino also returned having missed the Romania game, with Paulo Cezar missing out. Everaldo was replaced in defence by Marco Antonio.

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One important selection Zagallo had made for this tournament was that of Tostão. Generally considered an attacking midfield player, he’d been top goalscorer in qualifying. But that was under a different coach, João Saldanha. Saldanha had a lot of faith in the player, but Zagallo didn’t really know him.

Tostão’s career was almost ended at the end of 1969 when he suffered a detached retina after a ball hit him in the face against Corinthians. Thankfully the surgery was a success.

Initially, Zagallo intended to use him as Pelé’s reserve. But in the warm-up games, Tostão performed so well he was to be used in a forward role. He’d made some important contributions in this campaign, not least the ball to Pelé for Jairzinho’s goal against England.

This had given Brazil a route to the Final, possibly only against South American opposition. Tough opponents but familiar, nonetheless.

Pelé almost opened the scoring after just three minutes. Gérson found him with a good ball to the edge of the area. Pelé controlled it on his chest then his knee and then side-footed it past the keeper. But the ball bounced off the post and across the goalmouth. Pelé chased it and facing away from goal he backheeled it to where Tostão was coming in. The Cruzeiro striker put it just wide with defenders closing in.

Then in the 11th minute, Jairzinho crossed left-footed from the right. Campos tried to control it on his chest but slipped and Tostão played it back to Rivellino.

Rivellino was known to have a fierce shot on him. He was a dead-ball specialist. Tostão’s quick thinking to lay it off for him paid dividends as the Brazil number 11 fired it in past the keeper’s right hand.

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Four minutes later Tostão looked to be in with a chance of testing the keeper but a last-minute tackle took it out for a corner. Tostão took it and played it short to Rivellino. He then ran one way round the defender, allowing Rivellino to knock it the other side of him and Tostão was away. Into the area and from a tight angle he fired it inside the keeper’s near post. 2-0 to Brazil.

They were rampant, in total command and somehow Peru needed to keep hold of the ball to stop this becoming a rout.

Two minutes later Brazil had the ball in the net again. A free-kick in a central position about 30 yards, gave Rivellino the opportunity to show off his skills. He gave himself a long run-up and fired the ball, leaving the keeper stranded. But unfortunately for the adoring watching public, the referee decided to keep Peru in the game by ruling it out.

Peru finally had a chance when a series of one-twos allowed Pedro Pablo Léon to get into the box but his shot was saved by Félix.

Then they really did get back into it. Alberto Gallardo on the left wing, beat Carlos Alberto and from a very tight angle managed to squeeze it past Félix on his near post.

10 minutes before the break, Pelé almost made it three. He shot from just outside the area was spilt by Rubiños and it bounced onto the post, allowing the grateful keeper to collect it before it crossed the line.

In the second half Brazil were equally dominant, just passing through the Peruvians as their fluid formation allowed players to attack from anywhere.

It wasn’t long before the pressure told. Jairzinho brought the ball forward in that tempting, languid style always with the ball looking like it was attached to his foot by string. As he induced a lunge from a defender, he slipped it through to Pelé. He tried to chip it to Tostão, and as the keeper came out, Chumpitaz diverted it away from Rubiños and Tostão fired it in from close range.

Tostão had been excellent throughout and was now on a hat-trick.

Peru hadn’t given up. A real feature of their play was the close control and short passing between the front players. Several times Cubillas, Léon and Gallardo exchanged one-twos on the edge of the area only for a desperate block to foil them. With 20 minutes to go one such move saw the ball bounce up off Marco Antonio and Cubillas volleyed it in to restore the gap to just one goal again.

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Five minutes later it was all over as a contest. Jairzinho, who would often switch flanks, knocked it back to Rivellino on the left. Jair then made a run forward and of course, Rivellino found him. He rounded the keeper and for the third time in the game, a goal was scored from a tight angle.

Jairzinho kept his record of scoring in every game of the tournament.

Brazil were through to the Semi-Finals where they were to meet Uruguay, in a repeat of the final match of the 1950 World Cup.

Join us tomorrow for the last of the quarter-finals!