There is, quite simply, no bigger fixture in the international game than when Italy and Brazil cross swords. In the latest issue of Soccer Italia, Giancarlo Rinaldi looks back at their most epic World Cup encounters.
In the eyes of the world, it was the match which clinched the coronation of a side still hailed by many as the finest national team ever to play the game. To this day, the footage carries the ability to thrill and captivate in equal measure. And yet, every great performance requires another team to be on the receiving end.
From an Italian standpoint, that 1970 World Cup Final showdown is tinged with regret and an aroma of what-might-have been. It is difficult, of course, to argue with such a convincing scoreline. But anyone who loves the Azzurri can’t help but wonder about the impact that La Partita Del Secolo – The Game of the Century – and La Staffetta – The Relay – had on that match.
Ferruccio Valcareggi’s side had just three days to recover from an encounter still regarded as one of the best ever served up at international football’s showpiece event. A plaque at the Azteca Stadium commemorates that epic 4-3 triumph over West Germany which went to energy-sapping extra time. The emotional toll of a game which flowed back and forward in such dramatic fashion would be almost impossible to overstate.