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27

27th Minute, Eusébio, Portugal v Brazil, 1966 World Cup Group Stage

Context

Portugal had high hopes entering the 1966 World Cup despite never having played in one before. The reason for this was they had one of the best players in the world at the time, his name was Eusébio. Eusébio had won European Footballer of the Year in 1965, and in 1966 he was fresh from leading Benfica to another Portuguese championship.

Portugal were drawn in the same group as Eastern Europeans Bulgaria and Hungary as well as favourites Brazil who had won back to back World Cups with Pele and Garrincha still pulling the strings. 1966 was a tough tournament for the Brazilians though with sides looking to kick Pele out of the cup and Garrincha a shadow of his former self.

Portugal impressively beat Hungary 3-1 and Bulgaria 3-0 in their opening two games of the World Cup which meant they just required a draw against Brazil to top the group. They faced a Brazilian side with an injured Pele but without Garrincha. Portugal would go on to take full advantage, tight and tough marking on Pele gave their midfield the chance to dominate the midfield and get the ball to Eusébio. After fourteen minutes they took the lead and it was soon doubled.

The Goal

Portugal win a FK out wide…

What Happened Next?

Portugal beat Brazil 3-1 in the end with Eusébio getting another.  They then played an epic quarter final against tournament darlings North Korea. Portugal found themselves three goals down after just twenty-five minutes but Eusébio soon reached top gear and then he was simply unstoppable, scoring 4 goals to seal a thrilling 5-3 victory. Their free scoring and winning run came to an end against hosts England in the semi-final but Eusébio claimed the Golden Boot and Portugal finished in third place.

Eusébio’s career in Portugal continued until 1975. That year he made the trip across the Atlantic to play in the North American Soccer League. He finally retired from the game in 1979 and spent his post-career in media and as an technical advisor to the Portuguese national team. On 5th January 2014, Eusébio sadly passed away.

Extras

Some good Eusébio clips here…

Brazil v Portugal – Full Match

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