It was a dramatic time in world history, many riots or happenings were going on in an era of awakening and protest against governments all around the world. The Beatles were in the head of the now legendary explosion of talent the world saw and enjoyed along with other great rock bands of the time. But in football history it was Brazil the National Team that ruled the world with a fantastic Pelé at the very top of his game.
The Day Portugal Hunted Down Pelé
It was a dramatic time in world history. Riots were taking place in an era of awakening and protest against governments all around the world. The Beatles were at the head of an explosion of talent which the world enjoyed along with other great rock bands of the time. However in football history it was the Brazilian National Team that ruled the world with a fantastic Pelé at the very top of his game.
His team had been the second back-to-back Champions in the history of the sport (right behind Italy's 1934 and 1938 titles), and Pelé was the main reason despite his club's stubbornness that never gave him a chance to shine in European football. He had been the best player of the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, where he scored a fantastic goal in the final at only 17 years of age and by 1962 the whole world knew who Pelé was. In the Chile WC, Brazil won their second Championship in a row but Pelé only managed to score one goal against Mexico and played only two games due to a muscular groin injury.
Despite Pelé's absence, Brazil won the second Jules Rimet Cup in a row thanks to 'Garrincha', whose insane dribbling made Brazil fans almost completely forget their main star was MIA. By the 1966 World Cup in England, Pelé was determined to help his country win the third in a row but along came Eusebio and Portugal to stop Brazil; especially Pelé; very violently in a World Cup that would be remembered as one of the most harsh in history due to all the fouls and unnecessary roughness.
'O'Rei' was coming from an injury before the World Cup started and managed to play the first game against Bulgaria where they won 2-0 but Pelé had been taken down many times and couldn't play in a loss against Hungary 3 to 1. By the third and last game Pelé did not want to miss the face to face duel against Eusebio's Portugal, where the 'Black Panther' was at the very top of his game and had the best year of his career.
Pelé started this game with only one good leg not caring if he was injured or not, but Portugal's defense were out for blood and would stop the world's best player at any cost. It even seemed like the referee was out to get the Brazilian super star by letting the game flow despite all the fouls on Pelé. And finally after many kicks and strong challenges, it was Morais who committed a double foul just outside the box which the referee didn't even call. It ended Pele's World Cup and he saw his dream crumble as he was taken off the pitch by two of Brazil's medics.
Portugal eliminated Brazil in the Group stage of the World Cup but they lost against the host and eventual champion England in the semifinals. In an interesting contrast of Pelé's worst nightmare, Portuguese striker Eusebio finished as the top scorer of the tournament with 9 goals and gave the best performances of his career with Portugal.
But Pelé got his personal satisfaction four years later in Mexico 1970, where he leaded Brazil to their third World Championship playing what will always be remembered as the most fantastic football ever played in a World Cup.