Standing: 2.Djalma Santos, 4.Zito, 1.Gilmar, 5.Zozimo, 6.Nilton Santos, 3.Jose Mauro and Casihing (doctor)
Squatting: Americo (masseur), 7.Garrincha, 8.Didi, 19.Vava, 20.Amarildo and 21.Mario Zagallo
Not shown: 9.Coutinho, 10.Pele, 11.Pepe, 12.Jair Marinho, 13.Bellini, 14.Jurandir, 15.Altair, 16.Zequinha, 17.Mengalvio, 18.Jair, 22.Castilho
What can you say about an attacking lineup featuring Pele and Garrincha, two of the greatest footballers of all time? In later interviews, Mario Zagallo explains: “[Pele] was complete, he kicked the ball with both feet, headed the ball very well and was calm in front of the enemy goal… We also had Garrincha… so unpredictable even to us his teammates, but also an undeniable key to victory. Of course there was a great team surrounding him, nothing was achieved by individuals alone.”
Mario Zagallo was one of the more experienced players in Brazil’s 1962 squad. Zagallo with Didi formed the backbone of the team. The prolific scoring of Garrincha, Vava and Pele relied strongly on Zagallo and Didi’s direction in midfield.
Djalma Santos was the star player in Brazil’s defense. He was the starting fullback for Brazil in four consecutive World Cups. Djalma was known not only for his consistent defensive work, but also for his dangerous attacking raids down the right flank. Nelson Santos, famous for his superb tactical anticipation played on the left side.
Goalkeeper Gilmar had incredible reflexes and quickness. He rejected the Brazilian tradition of dramatic diving saves and played with safety in mind. On his international debut in 1953 versus Bolivia, Gilmar saved a penalty. By the time he retired in 1969, he had saved 13 penalties in 100 international caps.
1954 – 1958
Four years after being knocked out by Hungary, Brazil reinvented itself to win the 1958 World Cup in Sweden. Prior to the tournament, coach Vicente Feola listened to suggestions by team leaders Bellini, Didi and Nilton Santos. They agreed to replace Sani and Altafini with the promising Zito and Vava. Feola also decided to give a chance to the unruly Garrincha and the unknown 17-year-old kid called Pele. Both Pele and Garrincha had no international experience at the time. Fortunately, the recipe was successful and the young squad swept through the competition scoring 16 goals in 6 games. Brazil won the World Cup final with a 5-2 victory over the host Sweden.
1958 – 1962
Brazil’s charming style was a crowd favorite at the 1962 World Cup in Chile. The team adopted the 4-3-3 formation and started off the tournament with a 2-0 victory over Mexico with goals from Pele and Zagallo. Pele was injured early in the tournament so Amarildo took his place. Even without Pele, the team marched on beating Spain, England and Chile to advance to the final. Brazil played with the typical Latin flair and Garrincha was the shining star of the tournament. He scored four goals that were pivotal for his country’s success. In the final, Brazil met tournament surprise Czechkoslovakia. The Europeans started the match with open, attacking football. Masopust scored early in the first half. After a mistake by the Czech goalkeeper Willy Schrojf, Brazil equalized and eventually turned the scoreboard around to 3-1. Garrincha played well, considering that he had a fever and was continually being marked by two defenders.
1963 – 1966
In preparation for the 1966 World Cup, 43 footballers were called in the Brazilian squad. Before the team went off, two of the best players – goalkeeper Valdir and forward Servílio were cut.
Brazil began the tournament with a 2-0 victory over Bulgaria and two beautiful goals from Pele and Garrincha. The Bulgarians resorted to violence taking Pele out. Pele missed the following game against Hungary and his country lost by 3-1. Pele returned in Brazil’s third match against Portugal with a bandage on his knee. Portuguese defender Moralis took him out again after a brutal challenge. Without their star player, Brazil lost by 3-1. Brazil’s golden generation had reached its sunset.