1970 World Cup memories

How Mexico embraced Brazil

By The Football Museum

Mexico-Cities- Mexico City Mexico-People+Customs Hotels-Mexico X Stores-Mexico (1965) by Alfred EisenstaedtLIFE Photo Collection

Mexico, the capital of the world

Fifty years ago, Brazil won the Jules Rimet Cup, with an epic campaign, beating three of the four world champions so far, and for the first time in history a team was champion with six victories, one hundred percent of use. And the Mexican public was privileged to receive and follow what is considered the best selection of all time.

Mexico-Cities- Mexico City Mexico-People+Customs Hotels-Mexico X Stores-Mexico (1965) by Alfred EisenstaedtLIFE Photo Collection

Remembering the 50th anniversary of this conquest is also remembering and honoring Mexico for the unrestricted support received. Few times in the history of football so many fans strongly
supported a foreign team as in the 1970 World Cup. A relatively short history compared to the 10,000 years of history of the Mexican peoples, but which still thrills fans today.

Summer Olympics 1968 (1968-10) by John DominisLIFE Photo Collection

Mexico was chosen to host the 9th edition of the World Cup on October 8, 1964, when it received 52 votes against 36 from Argentina (seven abstentions).

Until then, the country had hosted four mega sporting events: two editions of the Central American and Caribbean Games (1926 and 1954), Pan American Games (1955) and the II Pan American Football Championship (1956).
Along with the 1970 World Cup, the 1968 Olympic Games and the 1971 women's Mundialito, Mexicans became experts in these mega events.

By George SilkLIFE Photo Collection

1955 Pan American Games</>

The second edition of the Pan American Games took place between March 12 and 26 and was attended by 2,583 athletes representing 22 countries in 17 sports. One and a half million tickets were distributed, ensuring a full house at all events.

The Mexican public was highly praised for their friendly behavior, applauding all athletes, regardless of nationality.

The University Stadium belongs to the Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Inaugurated in 1952, it was the main headquarters of the Pan, receiving 100 thousand spectators at the opening ceremony.

Brazil Panamerican Football Champion. (1956) by El InformadorThe Football Museum

1956 Pan American Championship

The second edition of this championship was organized in 1956 by Mexico. The participants were Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Peru, and the hosts. The competition was played on the "all-against-all" system in a single round and was held at the Universitário Stadium in Mexico City.

Brazil, represented by the selection of athletes from the state of Rio Grande do Sul, was the champion. In fact, two-time champion, since it had won the first edition four years earlier.

Summer Olympics 1968 (1968-10) by John DominisLIFE Photo Collection

1968 Olympic Games

Mexico was the first Latin American country, and second in the Americas, to host the Olympic Games. In this edition, 5,530 athletes participated, representing 122 countries, in 20 sports.

For the first time, the mark of 100 delegations was surpassed. It was also the debut of doping control and the beginning of the mandatory gender confirmation for women.

Thanks to the rarer air of altitude in Mexico City, 68 world records and 301 Olympic records were broken.

Summer Olympics 1968 (1968-10) by Michael RougierLIFE Photo Collection

Mexican Enriqueta Basilio was the first woman to light the Olympic pyre.

By John DominisLIFE Photo Collection

In the cities, images of the Olympic games.

Olympic Idenity Graphic And Architectural Designs For The Olympics In Mexico (1967) by John DominisLIFE Photo Collection

By John DominisLIFE Photo Collection

Black Power Movement at the XIX Olympics. (1968) by Picture-Alliance / Dpa / Glow ImagesThe Football Museum

Politically, the world was in agitation. China was experiencing the “Cultural Revolution”. The Vietnam War was beginning to lose support from American society. Students went to the streets, first in Paris, then in the rest of the world. The Prague Spring was crushed by Soviet tanks. In this environment, the Olympic Games went through the Massacre of Tlatelolco ten days before the opening of the Games. Also, the emblematic anti-racist protest made by athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos, from the United States, during the ceremony of giving medals in Athletics .

Lea Campos with the mexican player María Eugenia 'La Peque' Rubio. (1971) by Archive Lea CamposThe Football Museum

II Women's Football World Championship in 1971

After the 1970 World Cup, Mexico organized the second Women's International Championship in August 1971. In the opening game, 80,000 Mexicans went to the Azteca Stadium to see the home team beat Argentina 3X1. In the final, 110,000 people witnessed Denmark's victory over Mexico 3-0.

Mexico created a tradition in the planning and organization of mega-events, which continued throughout the 20th century: VII Pan American Games (1975), X Universíade (1979), III Men's U-20 World Cup (1983), XIII World Cup Men's World (1986), XVI Central American and Caribbean Games (1990) and the IV Confederations Cup (1999).

Mário Américo (1970) by Acervo Mário AméricoThe Football Museum

Brazilian football in Mexico

Long before the Brazilian team landed in Guadalajara for the 1970 World Cup, so many other Brazilians had passed through these lands. Mexicans were already familiar with Brazilian football, especially because of the excursions made by the clubs decades before.

Botafogo is the hexagonal champion., El Informador, 1968, From the collection of: The Football Museum
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The Mexican fan's first contact with Brazilian football was in 1936, when Botafogo played seven games in Mexico City: five wins and two losses. The team returned five years later for six more games, including debuting in Guadalajara.

Santos thrashed Guadalajara 6-2., El Informador, 1961, From the collection of: The Football Museum
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From 1949 onwards, other Brazilian teams started to visit Mexico, almost annually. In this way, the stars and Brazilian football became known in the Aztec lands and had a captive audience.

Testimony by Carlos Alberto Torres - Part 1. (2013) by Museu do Futebol | CPDOC/FGVThe Football Museum

"No, you see, for us it was not a surprise, because as I played for Santos, at that time there were three teams that would play many times in Mexico: it was Santos, Botafogo and Cruzeiro. They were always playing in Mexico, right? , and we already had a special affection on their part. So it was nothing new. "

"Logically, with the performance of the selection and the elimination of Mexico, they started to cheer for us, and we already knew it could happen. Do you understand? Because of the proximity of Brazil, I mean in terms of people, right? And of admiration that they had for the football that Santos, Cruzeiro, Botafogo played, we knew that they would inevitably come to our side. And that's what happened. "

Carlos Alberto Torres, captain of the Brazilian team in the 1970 World Cup, in interview for the Football Museum (2011).

Brazilians are welcomed with a party in Guadalajara. (1970) by O Estado de São PauloThe Football Museum

Thus, it was not surprising that Guadalajara received the Brazilian team festively. In fact, the Brazilian delegation was the first to land in Mexico, on May 2, a month before the premiere.

Coutinho's testimony. (2011) by Museu do Futebol | CPDOC/FGVThe Football Museum

"Oh my, living in Mexico is the most beautiful thing in the world, outside Brazil, isn't it? Of course. Or outside Santos, let's say so.(...) Guadalajara is a people like us, all friends. "Very good. It is one of the few places I would risk getting on a plane and getting off there, it is one of the few places. The rest I do not insist on getting on any plane, honestly. But there in Mexico, if I have the opportunity , I'm still going to give one more soup for the bad luck. "

Coutinho, player of the Brazilian national team in the 1962 World Cup, in interview with the Football Museum (2011).

Pelé distributes autographs to young fans. (1970) by Pictorial Parade / EquipeThe Football Museum

One of the factors that helped bring Mexicans and Brazilians closer together was enmity with the English. It started in 1964 when the World Cup was chosen, when the British voted against Mexico. The situation worsened in the 1966 World Cup, after a 2-0 victory over Mexico, both goals in flagrant impediment.
And it got worse when it was discovered that the English brought all the water and food from home so as not to have to consume anything mexican product.

Asked about the food of the Brazilian team, ambassador João Batista Pinheiro replied: “What is good for Mexicans, is good for Brazilians”.

Testimony of Félix Venerando. (2011) by Museu do Futebol | CPDOC/FGVThe Football Museum

"Exactly, that was it. They took their bus, they didn't want to use the bus provided by the Mexican federation; they didn't want to drink water in Mexico, they took filtered water, they took mineral, they took everything. I mean, they practically distrusted the Mexican people. So, what happened? The Mexican people took it as an offense. And then, like us Brazilians ... The Brazilians, wherever they get along, especially the drummers*, so the Mexican people fell in love with Brazil , then, every game that ended ... "

Félix Venerando, player of the Brazilian national team in the 1970 World Cup, in interview for the Football Museum (2011).

*People who played samba songs.

Children in the concentration of the Brazilian team in the World Cup in Mexico. (1970) by Paulo Reis / Correio da ManhãThe Football Museum

"In Guadalajara, we stayed in a hotel. And we went out, the people came to ask for an autograph and we went there, at the gate, and stayed until the wee hour (...)"

Zé Maria, player of the Brazilian national team in the 1970 World Cup, in an interview for the Football Museum (2011).

First Brazilian goal in the 1970 FIFA World Cup Final (1970)The Football Museum

The reception by the Mexicans

The Mexicans adopted the Brazilian team as their own. This act, strange at first, is explained by the admiration for the football played and the friendly attitude that the players had there.

In the voice of journalists, it is possible to extract from reports how the experience of living this World Cup impacted Mexicans.

Goal by Rivellino against Czechoslovakia. (1970) by Mirrorpix / Newscom / Glow ImagesThe Football Museum

"Brazil plays the football that Mexico aims to play one day and that it never achieved: if I don't win, I bet on Brazil because it is my close cousin, a very dear cousin whom I trust to be champion and win all the powers of the world."

Héctor Huerta, ESPN sports commentator for BBC Mundo, on Brazil's 4X1 victory over Czechoslovakia.

Adamache defends kick, but did not prevent third Brazilian victory. (1970) by Keystone / CorrespondentThe Football Museum

"The admiration continues, many people admire Brazilian team here and will continue to admire it. Happens that any team would like to win from Brazil and in Mexico is no different, so you will give 110%, 120% to win. Winning against a team like Brazil, Argentina, teams of tradition, always brings more respect to Mexico, it is very important. "

Zinha (Antonio Naelson Matías) in interview for UOL website. He is a Brazilian naturalized Mexican who played in the 2006 World Cup for Mexico.

Tostão celebrates his goal against Peru. (1970) by Keystone / CorrespondentThe Football Museum

“All the brazilian games were full of joy and good football. That's what fascinated the Mexican people. After the games in Brazil, there were big parties with samba, "batucada" and mariachis. There were only two or three Brazilians, the rest were Mexicans. They sang “Fio Maravilha and País Tropical”*.

Raul "Willy" Gomez, former striker for the Mexican national team. Veja Magazine, Oct. 12 2011.

*A famous brazilian song about a soccer player.

Pele dribbles goalkeeper of Uruguay. (1970) by Photo by Keystone / Hulton ArchiveThe Football Museum

"Brazilians do not owe us. There is nothing to be thankful for. After all, we are the ones who are recognized for the spectacle they offered to our audience in Mexico."

Raúl Cárdenas, coach of the Mexican national team in 1970. O Estado de S. Paulo, 30 sep. 1970.

Commemoration of the fourth goal in Brazil over Italy. (1970) by Heidtmann / Picture-Alliance / DpaThe Football Museum

"All the superlatives are insufficient, the cries of admiration seem to be murmurs, the warmest praise barely reflects everything that happened in Mexico and for the Mexican fans, the resounding triumph and the undeniable victory of Brazil.
In turn, the Brazilian team maintained an exemplary behavior throughout the tournament, on and off the pitch. They knew how to strengthen the bonds of friendship that must exist between all the peoples of the world and in that fraternal and humble attitude, only compatible with true spiritual maturity, perhaps it is the real reason for their victories. "

Victor Latapi, Mexican journalist. El Informador, June 22 1970.

Pelé tricampeão (1970) by CPDoc JB Foto Equipe JB Direitos ReservadosThe Football Museum

"At just nine years old, the little fan switched the radio for the images transmitted on TV. In the quarterfinals, the dream of being champion for the first time was undone, after Italy defeated Mexico by 4X1.
The desire to know Brazil increased even more after the Brazilians won the third championship just over the Italian team, and the face in tears at the boy's defeat returned to smile. Pelé, Rivelino and Jairzinho were frequent names in Ismael's conversations with friends. (...) "The Brazilian way won me over in a unique way, I am grateful for everything".

Gustavo Godinho, on the Mexican artist Ismael Torrano, for A Tribuna de Minas, 02 July. 2018.

Testimony of Carlos Alberto Torres - Part 2. (2013) by Museu do Futebol | CPDOC/FGVThe Football Museum

"Oh, it was a reaction from the Mexican crowd that for us Brazilians was not new, because it was normal to do these, the crowd invaded, but I remember there was even ... Before the game was over, they were already invading, the judge asked: “No, the game is not over yet.”, but it was a really quite moment ... (...) It was really a demonstration, more by the Mexicans, that really impressed us a lot. The joy that we saw in them for the victory of the Brazilian team, it was very cool, it was very cool. It leaves us a mark, which stays, you can't forget. You can't, you can't. "

Carlos Alberto Torres, captain of the Brazilian team in the 1970 World Cup, in interview for the Football Museum (2011).

Carlos Alberto Torres lifts the Jules Rimet Cup. (1970) by AP 1970 APThe Football Museum

The eternal team

One of the characters that demonstrates the size of the union between Brazilians and Mexicans was Sergeant Mario Huerta Anario - who was beside Carlos Alberto Torres when Captain raised the Jules Rimet Cup, before going down the stairs to return to the lawn and take the Olympic lap. He, like many Mexicans, decided that the best way to keep Brazilian stars close at hand would be to christen their own children with the names of Brazilian stars.

Pelé scored the first goal of the final. (1970) by DPA / ZUMA PRESSThe Football Museum

"(...) Also in 1970, one of his sons, Edson Carlos Arantes Villagrán do Nascimento Salinas Pelé, was born. Actually, a joke by the actor, who can't help himself and makes jokes all the time. He didn't go that far. But, in fact, he paid tribute to two of his sons with names of Brazilian players: Edson, in reference to Pelé, and Paulo Cézar, a tribute to Paulo César Caju ".

Reporting by Thiago Quintella, about Carlos Villagrán, "Kiko", from the popular TV show Chaves, for the website Globo Esporte, June 18. 2013.

Rivellino was one of the stars of the Mexico World Cup. (1970) by Milton / Correio da ManhãThe Football Museum

“I was born on February 1, 1970, my father was a very, very big fan of football and lived in Guadalajara, where the Brazilian team won the 1970 World Cup.
When he saw Brazil on television, which had many great names, he loved how Rivelino played. My father loved that team and Rivelino. He liked it so much that he went to the Civil Registry to change my name. He first registered me as Raymond, who disappeared after going to the Registry.
And I am very proud to have that name and to see a match between Brazil and Mexico, as it involves a lot of history for me. ”

Rivelino De La Luz Sotelo, Mexican supporter. Fox Sports (Mexico), 02 Jul. 2018.

Mexicanos torcem pelo Brasil (1970) by Acervo Roberto Porto Direitos ReservadosThe Football Museum

"When the employee at the Posto Oxxo convenience store realized that I was Brazilian, he showed me his identity, with his birth date: Jairzinho Ventura Filho de González - June 17, 1970. Tribute that his father, in love with football, made to Jairzinho, the 'Hurricane' of that Cup ".

Journalist Chico Maia's account on his blog, Oct 23 of 2011.

Credits: Story

JOÃO DORIA - Governador do Estado
RODRIGO GARCIA - Vice-Governador do Estado
SÉRGIO SÁ LEITÃO - Secretário de Cultura e Economia Criativa
CLÁUDIA PEDROZO - Secretária Executiva de Cultura e Economia Criativa
FREDERICO MASCARENHAS - Chefe de Gabinete de Cultura e Economia Criativa

IDBRASIL CULTURA, EDUCAÇÃO E ESPORTE - Organização Social de Cultura gestora do Museu do Futebol
Conselho de Administração
Presidente – Carlos Antonio Luque
Diretora Executiva e Administrativa e Financeira - Vitoria Boldrin
Diretora Técnica - Marilia Bonas (interina)

Curadoria e textos: Ademir Takara, Camila Aderaldo
Pesquisa e metadados: Ligia Dona, Dóris Régis
Colaboração: Daniel Magnanelli, Diego Sales, Jamil Hussein Jaber Neto, Leandro Watanabe, Marcus Ecclissi
Montagem: Camila Aderaldo
Revisão: Daniela Alfonsi
Tradução: Camila Aderaldo
Tratamento de imagens: Hugo Takeyama e Lucas Guedes

São Paulo, setembro de 2020.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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