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From Sweden 1958 to Mexico 1970 – The Hamden Journal

From Sweden 1958 to Mexico 1970

Pele won three World Cups with Brazil (PA) (PA Archive)

Pele has died at the age of 82.

The Brazilian was arguably the greatest player to grace the World Cup finals, winning football’s biggest prize three times.

Here, the PA news agency takes a tournament-by-tournament look at his career in the sport’s biggest event.

Sweden 1958

Pele missed the first two matches through injury before making his World Cup debut against the Soviet Union.

His first goal came in the 1-0 quarter-final win over Wales and he scored a hat-trick in the semi-final against France.

Aged 17 years and 239 days, Pele became the youngest player to appear in a World Cup final and scored twice – the first with a flick over a defender and volley into the corner of the net – as Brazil beat hosts Sweden 5-2.

Chile 1962

By now Pele had star billing but, while Brazil retained the trophy, their talisman missed most of the tournament through injury.

He set up one goal and scored a memorable second, surging past four defenders, in the first game against Mexico but tore a thigh muscle against Czechoslovakia which brought a premature end to his World Cup.

Instead Garrincha inspired Brazil to glory as they beat the Czechs 3-1 in the final.

England 1966

Brazil travelled to England with high hopes of a hat-trick of triumphs but Pele was singled out for some brutal treatment in the first match against Bulgaria.

He found the net with a free-kick, becoming the first man to score in three successive tournaments.

Pele missed the subsequent defeat to Hungary as a result of his injuries but was brought back to face Portugal, who dished out some more horror tackles as Brazil were effectively kicked out of the tournament.

Mexico 1970

Pele had vowed never to play in the World Cup again but changed his mind and was rewarded with a third winners’ medal.

He almost scored from the halfway line against Czechoslovakia and brought an unforgettable save from Gordon Banks against England as Brazil swept all aside, culminating in a 4-1 mauling of Italy in the final.

Pele’s perfectly-weighted pass to Carlos Alberto for Brazil’s fourth goal rounded off one of the all-time great moves, executed by arguably the finest team in World Cup history.