Every so often, a national team comes along that embeds itself in a nation’s psyche.
It can flood a country with hope. It can cause its inhabitants to temporarily forget about their day-to-day woes. Stories of famous victories are passed down through generations.
For nations less blessed with football talent and pedigree, these teams come along perhaps once in a generation. For others, such as five-time World Cup winner Brazil, they come along a little more regularly.
But despite the numerous great teams to have pulled on the famous yellow shirt, there is one in particular that still shines brightest.
The all-conquering side at Mexico 1970 featured Pele, Jairzinho, Gerson, Tostão, Rivellino and Carlos Alberto, Brazil’s ‘Eternal Captain’ and scorer of arguably the greatest goal in World Cup finals history.
It was the last goal scored at that World Cup – the fourth in a 4-1 hammering of Italy in the final – and one that epitomized the Joga Bonito (Play Beautifully) mantra that Brazil had long been synonymous with.
Nine of the 10 outfield players had some role in the goal’s creation, ending with Pele’s pass into the path of the onrushing Alberto, who thumped the ball into the bottom corner.