World Cup’s 101 Most Memorable Moments: Brazil make opening statement

By Doug McIntyre
FOX Sports Soccer Writer

Editor’s note: Each day between now and the kickoff of the first match of the 2022 FIFA World Cup on Nov. 20, we’ll unveil a different memory from World Cup history. The countdown from 101 continues with

Every soccer savant knows Brazil’s history.

The Pele-led, back to back World Cup winning squads of 1958 and 1962. The unstoppable 1970 Seleção, widely considered the greatest national team of all time. The county’s two most recent world championship-winning sides: Romario’s 1994 version and OG Ronaldo’s in 2002, the latter making Brazil both the only nation to claim five titles and the first to hoist the World Cup in the 21st century.

Nobody remembers Brazil’s 1982 team.

When you’re the most successful World Cup participant of all time and don’t finish a particular tournament with confetti falling, and that dazzling golden trophy raised high in the air, that will happen. For the best, anything short of glory will, naturally, be considered a failure. 

Brazil may have lost to eventual champion Italy in the quarterfinals at Spain ‘82, but make no mistake: that team was stacked. And they showed what they were capable of in their 2-0 tourney opening win over the Soviet Union, with Sócrates and Éder Aleixo scoring two of the prettiest World Cup goals imaginable.

No, Brazil didn’t win the World Cup in 1982. They did eventually earn a title, though, even if it’s one they never wanted: The greatest team not to be crowned champion. 

Eder and Socrates’ legendary strikes

Eder and Socrates gave Brazil fans something to remember about the 1982 World Cup squad.

One of the leading soccer journalists in North America, Doug McIntyre has covered United States men’s and women’s national teams at multiple FIFA World Cups. Before joining FOX Sports in 2021, he was a staff writer with ESPN and Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.

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