From: firstname.lastname@example.org (augusto) Subject: WC 1974 history : from a Brazilian perspective Date: Sat, March 1, 1997 [information on WC74, Brazil, and Zagalo's coaching methods and selection of certain players] From all I've gathered, Zagallo has never quite had such thing as a method. He just lists the players he thinks are the best based on immediate evidence and then expects them to take care of the rest, without making them work much on strategy level or rehearse stuff. Being from Rio, and with the world titles he's got as well as the ones with Botafogo, he is prefectly at home with the Rio located Brazilian association and unthreatened in the post. He enjoys a strong support and tolerance from the local media that no one else would have after the recent Olympics "fiasco". You know the story of WC70 : he got a team prepared by Saldanha and almost blew it if it weren't for Gerson and Pele's skillful interference to impose the presence of Tostao among other things. The team was just too good and ready in 1970, and he had better leave it untouched. After the WC70 peak, it was a natural thing for Brazilian soccer to experience some decline. After all, almost all 70's starters gradually quit from playing, for age or injury reasons. So without Pele', Gerson, Tostao, Carlos Alberto, Clodoaldo, etc. there was again a need to build a team, the kind of task Saldanha had fully met in the pre-70 qualifyings. Saldanha was a guy of strong personality, temper and determination and managed to pass a bit of that to the players who then got tagged as "Saldanha's beasts". One of the most remarkable things he did was announcing the main eleven in his first day in charge, to demonstrate reversely what had been the major sin of Vicente Feola in England 66. Feola had listed more than FORTY players in a long period of preparation, and formed 4 different teams in a naive attempt to spot the better ones. Result : no one was confident under such competing situation and when he finally defined the eleven, there just wasn't enough time for these to play together and get acquainted. A total mess. And Brazil had Pele', Garrincha and plenty top-players to form a good team. But no team, just players went to England. Well, the third world title in 1970 definitely went up to many people's head, including Zagalo's. Deceived by having won the inexpressive mini-Copa in Uruguay in 72 he stubbornly kept posing as "tri-champion" and rejecting all warnings. So he failed to work in a way which would somehow compensate for the many changes and important absences that were happening. Instead, he blindly deposited hopes on individual skills of Rivelino, Paulo Cesar Caju', and others with virtually no concern to tactical issues and to establish a playing pattern. Besides, he had no command over the sudden narcisism of Jairzinho, who decided he no longer wanted to play as the right-winger of WC70. Worse than that, he was over-confident and arrogant, to the point of neglecting the innovating approach of the Dutch who were taking Europe by storm in the years past 70. To the point of once in a TV interview referring to Holland as "mediocre" and adding that the Dutch were the ones to worry about Brazil and not the contrary. He did something similar recently about Nigeria. So, soccer changed a lot from 70 to 74, and Zagalo failed to realize it in spite of chances and warnings. Even worse, the Brazilian players were not aware of the news either. Rivelino and others, talented but lazy, got helpless and extremely irritated to find out they were not finding enough timing or space for their individual abilities. European teams were presenting a much tougher soccer, with pressure individual marking. If it serves as consolation to Brazilians, Argentina and Uruguay also got whipped badly in 74. Brazil had Leao; Nelinho, Luis Pereira,Marinho Peres, Marinho Chagas; Piazza, Rivelino, Paulo Cesar Lima "Caju"; Valdomiro, Jairzinho, Leivinha. First hints of frustration came early in the two nil-nil ties against Yugoslavia and Scotland (first time Brazil ever failed to score in two consecutive WC matches, yet lucky not to lose), until the inevitable crash against the "clockwork orange". Before the game, Zagalo boldly and daringly stated that Paulo Cesar Caju' would neutralize Cruyff. But who was P.C.Caju' to neutralize anybody? And even if he did, the Dutch weren't one-man dependant. Holland was just overwhelming tatically : everyone constantly changing positioning, defense forcing offside, block merging to turn a defense action into immediate atack, plus the skill and intelligence of Cruyff. I recently heard ex-Argentinian defender Perfumo remembering how in 74 he urged mates to take their time in a way not to lose by too large a score against the Dutch. Holland x Brazil was an extremely tense game, with the Brazilians easily irritated by the Dutch strong physical approach and pressure marking. Without knowing how to deal with that kind of thing, many players would react violently and then get in trouble. The Ducth noticed that weakness and made clever use of it, in a game infested by off-the-ball scenes. Germany had an excellent team and deserved the title, despite the fact that the beauty of the cup was clearly on Holland's side. They were humble, competent and clever enough to admit the dutch's power and in this way managed to find a way to neutralize the favorites. Beckenbauer, Breitner, Sepp Maier, Overath, Gerd Muller, plenty names of respect, more easily remembered than many Dutch individual players. I relate Germany's win a bit with WC54. In 54, the big sensation was the legendary Hungary of Ferenc Puskas, which whipped the Germans in the beginning of the cup. The Germans though took very seriously the lesson and to everyone's surprise paid it back in the final. In 74, they got beaten by Eastern Germany in the beginning rounds, which helped concentrate attentions on the Dutch. It has been said, without known confirmation, that coach Helmut Schoen actually orientated the team "not to win" against the East Germans and thus avoid a premature confrontation with Holland. Whether true or not, that gossip is part of soccer "history". Sepp Maier; Vogts, Breitner, Schwarzenbeck, Bonhof; Beckenbauer, Hoennes, Overath; Grabowski, Gerd Muller, Holzenbein. It took extraordinary dedication and competence for this team to resist the tremendous pressure of the "Dutch Carrousel": Jongbloed; Suurbier, Haan, Rijsbergen, Krol, Jansen, Van Hanegem, Neeskens, Rep, Rensenbrink, Johan Cruyff. Goals: Neeskens( penalty, 2), Breitner ( penalty, 25), Gerd Muller (near the end of second half ). John Taylor was the referee. Poland was also a highlight in 74, with the team which was the same as the Olympic one. Bald head Lato, Deyna, and amazing goal keeper Tommazewsky left their stamp there. Were 3rd place, beating Zagalo's Brazil by 1x0. The WC74 changed the usual system of quarter-of-finals, by having a second phase played in two groups of four teams, with the winner of each advancing to the final. One group had West Germany, Poland,Sweden and Yugoslavia, the other had Brazil, East germany, Argentina and The Netherlands (Holland). The remaining eight countries were : Chile, Australia,Uruguay, Bulgaria, Scotland, Zaire, Italy, Haiti. The U.S.S.R. didn't make it to 74 because of refusing to play against Chile, for political reasons. ---------------------------------------------------------- From: email@example.com (vadim florentij lvovich) Subject: Re: WC 1974 history : from a brazilian perspective Date: March 1, 1997 >The team was just too good and ready in 1970, and he had better leave it >untouched. That was agreat team except for Felix. If you think that Valdir Perez was a joke, believe me, Felix was a joke as well. For Saldahna it was a long and painful choice to get even a semi-decent goalkeeper. Another potential trouble was second central defender (the only strong choice was Hercules Brito), and eventually Piazza was picked (he was more defensive midfielder than stopper). Pretty much the same troubles were faced by Santana in 82 (Perez and Luisihno plus Sergihno), but Zagalo got more lucky in 70' - his mighty attack swept everything before him. For Santana there was no one to score third goal against Italy. >Feola had listed more than FORTY players Plus Feola recalled from all sorts of "international retirement" everyone he only could. I think if he could enlist Leonidas da Silva, he would have gladly done it. As a result half of his team was 37 years old. >So he failed to work in a way which would somehow compensate for the >many changes and important absences that were happening. And his attack did not work at all. 6 goals in 7 games. 3 by Rivelino, 2 by Jair, and one by Valdomiro. BTW, Valdomiro was a pretty decent forward while playing in Inter where he had a very good understanding with Falcao. But, as you mentioned, due to Jair's narcissism (he decided that he is the greatest striker in the world and must play wherever he feels like it) club centerforward Valdomiro played something like right winger. Perhaps, the best players overall were quite surprisingly concentrated in defense, esp. Francisco Marihno Chagas, and Luis Pereira, plus, of course, goalkeeper Leao. But in the decisive game against Holland right back Za Maria commited two crucial tactical errors, and Luis Pereira got himself sent off. >Germany had an excellent team and deserved the title, despite the fact >that the beauty of the cup was clearly on Holland's side. Yes, but Holland also had a certain cigar shop owner pretending to stand in their goal. He was bad, he was very bad. And he did not get better in 78 either. To continue about Brazil I can add the following. After Zagalo, Coutigno took over. He prepared an extremely defensive oriented team for 78. He was the first one in the history of Brazilian national team who used: a) two defensive midfielders (A.C.Cerezo and J. Batista simultaneously) b) 5 (five) defenders in the game against Spain. Overall, his approach was quite similar to that of Lazaroni in WC90. Tons of defenders and strong reliance in the attack on flash of individual brilliance of 2-3 attackers, namely Reinaldo who was 20 years old. Overall, Cutigno was luckier than Lazaroni. When things went bad (after game against Spain) he had the guts to field more attackers. He also had more genuinely cretive players than Lazaroni, whose obsession with Valdo was a joke. Despite all the ups and downs, like the bad shape of some players, Rivelino's age, and the complete inability of Reinaldo to pass the ball (he resembled a lot, IMO, Ronaldihno in his ability to dribble the ball through the whole defense, but Ronaldihno also can pass, and Reinaldo could not), he still had enough offensive power to crash Peru and Poland and had a decent shot for a WC. Well, junta made sure that this would not have happened, but this is another story. With all uncertainty Brazil dominated the game against Argentina, created more chances, but Fillol stopped the shots of Dynamite Roberto and Zico. In defence Brazil had expereinced goalkeeper Leao, free-kick specialist Nelihno, reliable Edihno and Oscar, and flashy sweeper Amaral known for his offensive rushes through the center and adventuristic defensive decisions (well, in that department they were on par with Leao - Leao was also quite adventuristic and brilliant). It appered that there was somewhat a problem with left defender - they tried Rodriguez Neto and Edihno (genuine central defender), and my question is why Fransisco Marihno was not in the team?