Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Brazil 1982 - Just WOW!

(originally written in December 2011)

Sócrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Souza Vieira de Oliveira, or Socrates as he was more commonly known, died last Sunday at the age of 57.  He had been battling illness for some  time.

In 1981 I sat down to watch the FA Cup Final and delighted in Tottenham’s 3-2 victory over Manchester City.  It’s the first game of any kind I can remember seeing on the TV and was the reason I started supporting Spurs.  In 1982 I watched a Glenn Hoddle penalty defeat QPR, again in the FA Cup Final.  For this reason Hoddle became my footballing hero.  But I truly fell in love with football a few months later, as a colourful, wonderful and slightly bewildering concept to an 8 year old boy, filled our screens.

Espana 82 was the first World Cup Finals I remember and I through myself headlong into it.  The sticker book purchased I set about collecting as many of the stickers as I could, all with bizarre and strange names.  A few of these names stood out, Rachid Harkouk being one, the Algerian centre forward who was at Notts County at the time.  The rest all belonged to Brazillians.

Junior, Falcao, Eder, Zico and Socrates.  Even now these names fell easily off my tongue.  Zico was the main man, there was always an excitible buzz whenever his name was mentioned.  And rightly so, watching him throughout the tournament would prove that.  But it was Socrates who stood out from them all.  Tall, bearded (therefore the connection to one of my early Tottenham heroes, Ricky Villa, was an easy one to make) he didn’t look like your typical footballer.  But he strode around the pitch like a collossus and had a deft touch and deceptive turn of pace.

Following news of his death I went onto YouTube to look for clips of him and Brazil that tournament.  The memories soon came flooding back, one memory in particular providing an audible gasp of delight from yours truly.  Eder was a sensational player who always seemed under-rated compared to his team-mates but that goal against the USSR was a sheer delight.  And the chip against Scotland wasn’t bad either!

The game against Italy is still one of my all time favourite games.  It had everything and this game alone made my fall in love with football. Twice Italy led, twice Brazil came back.  15 minutes from time Paulo Rossi bagged his and Italy’s third to end the Brazillian dream.  But it had been an adventure and one which was littered with great skills, wonderful goals and a masterclass in attacking football.

I implore all of you to get on the web and have a look at some of the action.  Some teams have come close but none in my opinion have bettered them.  I stil drool with excitement when I see them and can only imagine how good they would have been if they’d had a fit Careca.  And I dare any of you not to gasp in amazement!

RIP Socrates and thanks for the memories.

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