World Cup favourites Brazil thundered a warning to the other 15 countries competing in Mexico with a brilliant 4-1 over Czechoslovakia today (Wednesday).
World Cup favourites Brazil thundered a warning to the other 15 countries competing in Mexico with a brilliant 4-1 over Czechoslovakia today (Wednesday). Though conceding an early first-half goal, Brazil had drawn level through Rivelino by the interval and swept to victory with second-half goals by Jair (2) and the peerless Pele.
The Group Three game in Guadalajara's Jalisco stadium opened at a tremendous pace, with both sides mounting lighting attacks. Brazil created the first clear scoring chance -- and thousand-goal ace Pele shot over the bar when put through by Rivelino.
Just as Brazil seemed to be winning first half supremacy, the Czechs struck back to snatch a shock lead after 12 minutes. Ladislav Petras won control on the edge on the penalty box, rounded a defender and scored at close range.
Twelve minutes later, Brazil had drawn level. Pele was beginning to tantalize the Czech defence with some incomparable attacking moves. In the 24th minute, he was pulled down just outside the Czech penalty area. From the free-kick, Rivelino slammed the ball past the Czech wall of defence and into the corner of the net.
Pele started the demoralisation of the Czechs 15 minutes into the second half with a goal stamped with individual genius. He met a high centre, brought the ball under control and scored on the turn.
Czechoslovakia wilted under the continuing Brazilian pressure. Jair completed the rout. His first goal came from a high upfield lob which he chested down, then rounded the Czech keeper and stabbed the ball into the net. He completed the scoring by weaving past two defenders before hitting home an angled shot.
Brazil played with an authority which recalled their successful team in the 1958 and 1962 World Cup competitions. Their victory keeps them on level terms with the current cup holders, England, who won their opening Group Three game 24 hours earlier.