Commentary

World Cup Retro 1962: Five names to have at your fingertips

Here are five names to have at your fingertips about the seventh World Cup, hosted by Chile and won by Brazil.



Carlos Dittborn. FIFA had by now decided to alternate venues between Europe and South America. Chile was a controversial choice because of a devastating earthquake and a 1960 drought that ravaged the nation’s economy. Chile’s soccer federation president Carlos Dittborn pleaded, “We must have the World Cup, because we have nothing else.”

Milutin Soskic. The U.S. national team goalkeeper coach from 1993 to 2006, Milutin Soskic conceded only one goal in Yugoslavia’s four games on the way to the semifinals, where it fell, 3-1, to Czechoslovakia before finishing fourth, its best World Cup showing besides 1930 when it finished third. “Two of our best players were afraid to fly, so they did not come,” Soskic said. “Maybe with them, we could have won it.”

Previous Editions of "Five Names":
Uruguay 1930 | Italy 1934 | France 1938 |
Brazil 1950 | Switzerland 1954 | Sweden 1958

The Battle of Santiago. An Italian journalist had written a series of articles sharply criticizing the host nation and insulting its people -- which triggered the Chilean press to denigrate the Italian players. Before the two teams met, Italian players tried to defuse the tension and threw roses to Chilean fans, who threw them back and shouted threats. English referee Ken Aston, whom the Italians claimed ignored the Chilean provocation, later said he wanted to call the game off at halftime but believed that would set off a riot. One Italian suffered a broken nose and two were ejected as Chile won, 2-0.

Tancredo Neves. With Pele sidelined for the rest of the tournament after suffering a pulled muscle in Brazil’s second game, a scoreless tie with Czechoslovakia, Garrincha carried the team. He scored twice in a 3-1 quarterfinal win over England and twice in a 4-2 semifinal victory over Chile. But Garrincha was ejected during the semi for retaliating to numerous assaults. He was also hit in the head with a bottle as he exited. FIFA did not suspend him for the final, though one doesn’t know whether a telegram to FIFA from Brazil President Tancredo Neves influenced the decision.

Vava. Brazil beat Czechoslovakia, 3-1, in the final to join Uruguay and Italy as two-time champions. Vava, who scored Brazil’s final goal against the Czechs, had scored twice in the 1958 final victory over Sweden. He is, along with Pele, Paul Breitner and Zinedine Zidane, one of four men to score in two World Cup finals.

The 1962 World Cup final highlights:

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