70 Days to 2014 FIFA World Cup

Thursday, April 03, 2014
At the 1970 FIFA World Cup Brazil faced Italy in the final match. The match settled in Mexico City at the Estadio Azteca.

But more was at stake on 21 June 1970 than 'just' the honor of winning the FIFA World Cup...

FIFA had previously decided that the first country to win the tournament three times or more would be given permanent possession of the trophy, and for the first time in history, both teams were double past winners. Italy having won in 1934 and 1938 and Brazil having won in 1958 and 1962. Which meant that both teams were playing for keeps.

Known simply as one of the greatest teams ever, the squad Brazil sent to the 1970 World Cup still lingers in the minds of soccer fans around the world. With players like Rivelino, Gérson and Pelé this was one of the strongest World Cup teams in history.

The match
After just 18 minutes Brazil struck as Rivelino made a perfect cross to Pelé who scored on a header. Boninsegna equalized for the Italians 37 minutes into the first half. 1-1 half time.
In the 66th minute Gérson scored with a powerful kick. Just 5 minutes later Gérson placed a perfect long kick right in the forehead of Pelé who headed the ball right into the path of onrushing Jairzinho - Brazil was playing futuristic football. Pelé played a superb match and capped it with an amazing assist followed by a canon of a kick from Carlos Alberto. Alberto's goal is considered one of the best in World Cup history.

The 1970 Brazil team remain a bridge from the old soccer world into the new. As the first team to win a World Cup broadcast in color internationally, their status was immortalized immediately.

With this third win after their 1958 and 1962 World Cup victories, Brazil became the World's most successful national football team at that time, surpassing both Italy and Uruguay, who each had two championship wins. Brazil also earned the right to retain the Jules Rimet Trophy permanently.

The Jules Rimet Trophy
The Jules Rimet Trophy was the original prize for winning the Football World Cup. At first named "Victory", but generally known simply as the World Cup or Coupe du Monde. In 1946 it was officially renamed to honour the FIFA President Jules Rimet who in 1929 passed a vote to initiate the competition.

The first team to be awarded the trophy was Uruguay - winners of the 1930 World Cup.

During the 2nd World War, the trophy was held by 1938 winners Italy. Ottorino Barassi, the Italian vice-president of FIFA and president of FIGC, secretly transported the trophy from a bank in Rome and hid it in a shoe-box under his bed during the war to prevent the Nazis from taking it.

On 20 March 1966, four months before the 1966 FIFA World Cup in England, the trophy was stolen during a public exhibition at Westminster Central Hall. Just seven days later the trophy was found wrapped in newspaper at the bottom of a suburban garden hedge in Upper Norwood, South London, by a dog named Pickles.

As a security measure, The Football Association secretly manufactured a replica of the trophy for use in exhibitions rather than the original. This replica was used on many occasions up until 1970 when the original trophy had to be handed back to FIFA. Since FIFA had denied the FA permission to create a replica, the replica had to also disappear from public view and was for many years kept under its creator's bed. The replica of the trophy was eventually sold at an auction in 1997 for £254,500, purchased by none other than FIFA. The auction price was several times the reserve price of £20,000–£30,000 and was led by speculation that the auctioned trophy was not the replica trophy but the original itself. FIFA, however, tested and confirmed that the auctioned trophy was indeed a replica.

When Brazil won the tournament for the third time in 1970, they were handed the real trophy for keeps. It was put on display at the Brazilian Football Confederation headquarters in Rio de Janeiro in a cabinet with a front of bullet-proof glass. Unfortunately on 20 December 1983, the wooden rear of the cabinet was pried open with a crowbar and the cup was stolen again. Even though four men were tried and convicted for the crime - the trophy has never been recovered. It is widely believed to have been melted into gold bars and sold away.
The Confederation commissioned a replica of their own. This replica was presented to the Brazilian president in 1984.

The FIFA World Cup Trophy
At the 1974 FIFA World Cup a replacement trophy was commissioned. Sculptors in seven countries submitted 53 design suggestions. Italian artist Silvio Gazzaniga was awarded the commission.

The first man to lift the FIFA World Cup trophy was West German captain Franz Beckenbauer at the 1974 FIFA World Cup.

The name of the country who wins each tournament is engraved in the bottom side of the trophy, and therefore is not visible when the trophy is standing upright. The text states the year in figures and the name of the winning nation in it's national language. As of 2010, ten winners have been engraved on the base. It is not known whether FIFA will retire the trophy after all of the name plaques at the base are filled in.

The original FIFA World Cup Trophy cannot be won outright anymore, as the new regulations state that it shall remain FIFA's own possession. Instead, the FIFA World Cup winners are awarded a replica which they get to keep as a permanent reminder of their great triumph.

Who will have their name engraved in the trophy this summer and receive a replica for their triumph? I would be lying if I told you I am not rooting for Brazil to collect their 3rd replica of the FIFA World Cup trophy as they win their 6th World Cup tournament.
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