Brazil vs Italy, World Cup 1978 Third Place Match

Eight years after Brazil beat Italy to claim top honours at the World Cup 1970, the two sides met again in the “small final” of 1978. From a team etched into history only one player, Rivellino, was left. Italy too, had seen a generational shift with a golden future looming on the horizon. It is a testament to both footballing nations that even while re-building, they could still be considering two of the top four sides in the world.

Overseeing their respective country’s efforts in Argentina were Enzo Bearzot and Claudio Coutinho. During their playing days the coaches had earned one cap between them. Bearzot had featured for the Azzurri in a 1955 defeat to Hungary. After hanging up his boots, Bearzot learnt the managerial craft under Nereo Rocco at Torino, would take charge of Italy’s Under 23 side and assist Ferruccio Valcareggi’s coaching staff at the World Cup 1974. Soon after Italy’s dismal showing in West Germany Bearzot got the nod to select and prepare the Squadra for Argentina.

Brazil under Cláudio Coutinho

While Bearzot, for nearly two decades, had donned the jerseys of such notable clubs as Inter, Torino, and Catania, Cláudio Coutinho’s resume read much different. For one, he lacked the playing background. Coutinho was more theoretician than practitioner, having graduated from the Brazilian Army’s School of Physical Education. In the lead up to the World Cup 1970 he was tasked to oversee the conditioning and fitness training of the Brazilian team. Several appointments in Peru and France followed, until, in 1976, Flamengo offered him the first opportunity to cut his teeth as a head coach.

When Admiral Heleno Nunes, in his position as President of the Brazilian Football Confederation, was in need of a replacement for Osvaldo Brandão, Coutinho provided the perfect blend of military background and coaching knowledge. Continue reading

Rôning Out Of Luck, Or: Confed Cup Final 1999, Mexico vs Brazil (Bonus)

International trophies hardly come any less prestigious than the Confederations Cup. Then again in August 1999 more than 100.000 spectators gathered in the Aztec Stadium of Mexico City to watch their Mexican side take on the holders Brazil. At stake: the 1999 Confed Cup.

We re-watched the match and talked about it. First though comes a quick historic overview of the precursor tournaments as well as a recap of the ’99 edition. In the aftermath we discuss the necessity (or lack thereof) of the Confed Cup in today’s game.

The minutes if you want to jump around:

  • 0:02:30 Continental Cup history (Mundialito, Artemio Franchi Trophy, King Fahd Cup)
  • 0:08:30 Confed Cup 97, European reluctance to participate
  • 0:16:00 Mexico hosting 99, participants, group results
  • 0:20:30 Semi-finals (Mexico vs USA, Brazil vs Saudi Arabia), 3rd place play-off (USA vs Saudi Arabia)
  • 0:24:00 Final preliminaries, referee team, kits, line-ups
  • 0:39:30 Mexico kicks off, early handbags, penalty shout
  • 0:45:00 First blood to Mexico, Blanco denied the second shortly afer
  • 0:54:00 Blanco & Abundis combine for the 2:0, Brazil wake up
  • 0:58:15 Ronaldinho earns a penalty, Serginho converts; Rôni comes on, equalizes
  • 1:05:00 Mexico rally around Blanco, Zepeda & Blanco score in quick succession
  • 1:09:15 Brazil cut one back from kick-off, but can’t mount a real challenge for the 4:4
  • 1:20:00 Awards, recommendation
  • 1:26:00 Germany at the Confed Cup 99
  • 1:31:45 Do we still need the Confed Cup?

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The (almost) complete match can be found here: