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Updated on July 3rd 2021, 11:03:04 am

Garrincha: Brazil’s Unsung Hero of the 1962 World Cup

Garrincha was a Brazilian footballer who played as a right-winger in the professional league. In Brazil, Garrincha is very popular, with many older fans believing he is better than Pele.

Garrincha was a Brazilian footballer who played as a right-winger in the professional league. He is widely recognised as one of the best players of all time, and others consider him to be the best dribbler of all time. In Brazil, Garrincha is very popular, with many older fans believing he is better than Pele. He was born with physical limitations that made it seem like he'd never walk, but he went on to become a national hero and one of the greatest football players the world has ever seen. His spine was deformed at birth, and his right leg was bent outwards, while his left leg was six cm shorter and curved inwards. Doctors initially predicted that he would never be able to walk properly, much less play football.


When Garrincha signed for Botafogo in 1953, he was already married and a father. Garrincha smoothly passed the ball between the legs of Brazil international Nilton Santos, who instantly convinced the club to offer him a professional contract. Within nine years after his professional debut, he would have played over 600 games for the club and scored close to 250 goals. Between 1955 and 1966, Garrincha appeared in 50 international matches for Brazil, including starting in 1958, 1962, and 1966 World Cups. With him on the field, Brazil only lost one match, against Hungary in the 1966 World Cup.


Garrincha was a key figure in Brazil's World Cup victories in 1958 and 1962. When Pele was injured in 1962, Garrincha took over as captain and led Brazil to a World Cup triumph with a dominant performance throughout the tournament. He also made history by becoming the first player to win the Golden Ball, Golden Boot, and World Cup all in the same tournament. In addition, he was chosen to the World Cup All-Star Teams in both the 1958 and 1962 World Cups. He was chosen to the FIFA World Cup All-Time Team in 1994. Let’s check out why he was the unsung hero of the 1962 World Cup.


Brazil, along with Czechoslovakia, Spain, Yugoslavia, and the Soviet Union, arrived in Chile as favourites for the 1962 World Cup. Brazil, like in 1958, was placed in the death group alongside two of the favourites, Czechoslovakia and Spain. Pele's goal in Brazil's opening group game against Mexico was one of the best he scored in the greatest show on earth, gliding past at least five Mexican defenders to produce an incredible strike. Pele, on the other hand, was injured and had to sit out the rest of the competition. Brazil's final group game against the Soviet Union took place on June 15th, and the Soviets were expected to be a tough opponent for the Brazilians.


Garrincha had beaten Kuznetsov three times and hit the post in the first 30 seconds of the game. Pele hit the bar a minute later. Brazil would go on to win the World Cup and write a new chapter in their country's history by winning the game 2-0. Garrincha was perplexed after the game as to why the Soviets were so upset, and he was utterly uninformed of the tournament's format, supposing that there was still a second leg to play. The gods seemed to have created dribbling just for Garrincha in the crucial match against Spain, the quarter-final match against England, and the semi-final match against a notorious Chile side, he started running from the right, past defenders, and continued until he reached an acute angle near the goal post. When he came to a halt, he would reclaim the ball and resume dribbling. This time, instead of on the right side, he'll play attacking midfield or centre forward. The rest of the players were in awe as they watched a genius in action.


Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano described Garrincha this way: "In the entire history of football, no one made more people happy. When he was out there, the pitch was a circus ring, the ball a tamed animal, the match a party invitation. Garrincha nurtured his pet, the ball, and together they created such mischief that people almost died laughing. He jumped over it, it gambolled around him, hid itself away, skipped off and made him run after it. And on the way, his opponents ran into each other."


He was man-marked in the final against Czechoslovakia, but he would still be difficult to handle. It was confirmed when Zito scored the third goal that Brazil would become the first team since Italy after World War II to win the World Cup twice in a row, and it would not have been possible without the angel from Rio, Garrincha.