Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The second part of reasoning is more complex and I will try to argue that the 1970s was time of positive change, of big hopes for the game and its development. Especially in the beginning of the decade everything looked very bright. From structure to media coverage, every aspect of the game and of public perception were on the road to improvement, ending the ‘romantic period’ of the sport. The new period seemingly promised professionalism without canceling the romantic elements, which make the game so attractive. I will attempt to take a look and discuss the whole pyramid of world football. The very top is, of course, the World Cup. The finals in Mexico 1970 were great success. First of all, geography expanded – a country outside of the ‘strongholds’ (Europe and South America) proved capable of hosting finals. The organization was praised, the games were interesting, the atmosphere was friendly, the stadiums comfortable, the attendance was strong. Television expanded coverage and the tournament was seen in places which earlier World Cups did not reach. But the most important part was maturity and stability: finally every continent had qualification formula, which was followed uninterrupted. One has to remember that until 1958 no tournament got 16 teams and some countries were invited to participate. This was no longer the case, especially after Africa and Asia managed to establish preliminary tournaments during the 1960s. The structure was finally running smoothly. As a whole the finals were strong: dynamic and interesting football was performed, exciting to watch. Brazil and Italy reached the final and Brazil won 4-1 – in a way, a symbolic victory of attacking football after of stiff decade, dominated by defensive tactics. The 1960s World Cup finals were characterized by ugliness: brutal tackling and fights tarnished the tournaments in 1962 and 1966, but violence on the pitch was absent in 1970. Read and yellow cards were introduced, which brought order and clarity for officials, players, and fans. Brazil won with exciting squad, which many consider the best Brazilian team of all time. There was no controversies during the whole tournament – perhaps the only tournament when everybody agreed that the best performing teams advanced by pure gamesmanship. Tactical variety existed, present to the very final and although attacking football won, other tactical schemes were still going strong. New stars emerged, promising fun in the future.
Brazil bows to the public before the beginning of the final match.
Third time World Champions.
Standing: Carlos Alberto- captain, Felix, Piazza, Brito, Clodoaldo and Marco Antonio;First row: Jairzinho, Gérson, Tostão, Pelé and Rivelino.
Mario Zagallo became the first man World Champion as a player and as a coach. According to the rules, the country winning three times the old World Cup was to keep it forever. A new cup was introduced in 1974.