The Team: The 1970 Italian National Team that appeared at the World Cup in Mexico was a great team, but it would unfortunately face off against an even greater one, Pele’s Brazil, in the Final. The Italians sent some of their greatest players ever to the tournament, including Luigi Riva, Giacinto Faccheti, Sandro Mazzola, and Gianni Rivera.
Coach Ferrucio Valcareggi only selected one Juventus player (Giuseppe Furino) for the squad, but the rest of Serie A’s powerhouses all had multiple representatives on the team. Inter had the most players on the squad with six, but Cagliari, Torino, Milan, Napoli and Forentino all also sent more than one man to compete for the coveted trophy.
The Tournament: Italy actually played poorly during the group stage, but won their group with one win and two ties despite scoring only a single goal (they conceded none). After crushing the Mexican hosts 4-1, Italy faced off against West Germany in the semifinal, which it won 4-3 in extra time in what FIFA named the “Game of the Century”.
The Final pitted the Italians against a Brazilian side many experts have selected as the best World Cup team ever. In addition to Pele, Brazil featured Carlos Alberto, Gerson, Jairzinho and Rivelino. Pele scored early in the Final and Italy equalized, but then gave up 3 second half goals to the Brazilians. The 1970 squad is still #6 all-time though.