England v Brazil: As the two great footballing powerhouses collide in a high-profile friendly, Sportsmail remembers the key clashes

By Nick Metcalfe
Last updated at 6:42 PM on 13th November 2009

In a world of big matches, tournaments and championships the humble football friendly has very much taken a back seat.

These days, we need sport to really matter.

Whether it's Sven's fault for all that tinkering and all those replacements, or just that there are so many matches on television nowadays, we struggle to get ourselves worked up for non-competitive games.

I suggest however that there will be rather more interest than usual on Saturday evening when England play Brazil in Qatar.


Famous foes: Diego heads a late equaliser for Brazil when the countries last faced each other at Wembley in 2007

In seven months time, the football world will gather in South Africa for the game's greatest festival and these two teams are among those select few that have a genuine chance of winning the grandest pot of all.

I'm a little unusual in that I don't tend to go all misty eyed with the mere mention of Brazil. I think that's because in my memory only the team of 1982 was genuinely joyous, with their titanic defeat against Italy so powerful it remains haunting to this day.

The 1994 World Cup winners were decent but not magnificent, and the 2002 winners in Japan a touch half-baked. Perhaps I'm being a little unfair, but such is the reputation of Brazil and the hype surrounding them that I think it's inevitable that they are often judged by the awesome standards they set in 1970 and before.

So we will sit by our televisions and hope for a game as good as the friendly played in Switzerland before the last World Cup four years ago, when England beat Argentina in a compelling match.

Before all that, let's take another trip down that most extraordinary of avenues we call memory lane.

I'd love to hear from you about the four games in question here. Were you lucky enough to be at any of the games? Where did you watch the action unfold? Or do you have special memories of another game between the teams? 




Brazil were pretty strong favourites for their World Cup quarter-final clash with Walter Winterbottom's England in Chile.

The Brazilian team still contained a number of players that had stormed to World Cup glory four years earlier, and the South American setting for that summer's finals undoubtedly gave them an advantage.

Enlarge   Ron Springett

Crucial moment: England goalkeeper Ron Springett lets Vava's effort through his legs for Brazil's second goal

Garrincha, known throughout the football world as 'Little Bird', will always be remembered as one of the most skilful and brilliant of all Brazil's players.

He was certainly the match-winner on this afternoon, firstly putting Brazil in front on the half hour mark when he headed in from Zagallo's corner.

England fought back and equalised just seven minutes later, when Jimmy Greaves smashed a shot off the crossbar and Gerry Hitchens reacted quickly to score.

Brazil came out like they meant business after the break and went back in front in the 52nd minute, when England goalkeeper Ron Springett failed to hold a Garrincha free-kick and Vava pounced to score through his legs.

Six minutes later, Brazil effectively sealed victory with Garrincha on target again, firing in a shot from distance which caught Springett unawares and flew into the net.

Enlarge   Ray Wilson tries to stop Brazil's Garrincha

Little Bird: Ray Wilson tries to stop Brazil's brilliant Garrincha

Brazil were rampant for the remainder of the match, and fully deserved their place in the semi-finals.

A dramatic 4-2 victory over Chile booked their ticket to another final, and they came from behind to beat Czechoslovakia 3-1 in Santiago to clinch a first World Cup triumph.

ENGLAND: R Springett, J Armfield, R Wilson, B Moore, M Norman, R Flowers,
B Douglas, J Greaves, G Hitchens, J Haynes, B Charlton. 

BRAZIL: Gilmar, Djalma Santos, Mauro Oliveira, Zito, Zozimo, Nilton Santos, Garrincha, Didi, Vava, Amarildo, Mario Zagallo.



Simply a legendary match. The images are iconic and burned into our collective footballing minds.

There's Gordon Banks and that extraordinary sprawling save to keep out Pele's header. Bobby Moore and his magnificently timed tackle. Jeff Astle and his miss.

And of course Bobby and Pele and that wonderful embrace that said everything about two outstanding sportsmen.


The match itself, played in searing afternoon heat of nearly 100 degrees in Mexico, provided supreme entertainment throughout, with both teams near the peak of their powers.

Alf Ramsey's England had their captain of the ages Moore, the peerless Banks and the magnificent Bobby Charlton.

Brazil were packed full of star performers, including Rivelino, Paulo Cesar and captain Carlos Alberto.

The decisive goal arrived on the hour mark, when Tostao wriggled out of Moore’s grasp and flicked the ball over to Pele inside the penalty area. He slipped the ball to a now unmarked Jairzinho on his right-hand side who fired an unstoppable shot into the net.

Enlarge   Pele and Bobby Moore

Unforgettable: Pele and Bobby Moore swap shirts after the game

England would go onto reach the quarter-finals, where they lost in heartbreaking fashion against West Germany despite holding a two goal lead.

Brazil were crowned kings of the world for the third time in 12 years, with an unforgettable 4-1 victory over Italy in the final.

ENGLAND: G Banks, T Wright, T Cooper, A Mullery, B Labone, B Moore, F Lee, A Ball, B Charlton, G Hurst, M Peters.

BRAZIL: Felix, Brito, Piazza, Carlos Alberto, Clodoaldo, Everaldo, Jairzinho, Paulo Cesar, Tosato, Pele, Rivellino.



I remember that only the second half of this match was live. At least I'm 99 per cent sure I remember that. The nation never saw this game's famous moment as it happened.

It would seem ridiculous to today's audience, but things were just different then. I also remember a match between West Ham and Manchester United in the 1980 that we joined after around half an hour. Wogan came first that night as far as Auntie were concerned.

England travelled to South America full of frustrations after failing to reach that summer's European Championship under Sir Bobby Robson, and they took some of their disappointment out on their illustrious opponents with a composed and mature performance.


I think it's fair to say that John Barnes underachieved in an England shirt - massively so in truth.

Despite the overall disappointments he will still be remembered for two stunning performances. One was in the fabled World Cup quarter-final in 1986, when he came off the bench and nearly rescued the game for England against Argentina.

He crossed for Gary Lineker to pull a goal back and then set him up for another - none of us watching will ever quite know how the Barcelona bound striker failed to make proper contact and score an equaliser.

Enlarge   John Barnes

Famous goal: John Barnes starts his run at the Maracana in 1984

The first of his memorable performances came at the Maracana in the year of our Lord 1984, when he was still a Watford player. Barnes scored a truly magnificent solo goal that would be the talk of the nation for weeks afterwards. 

He dribbled the ball from the left hand side of the Brazil half, bamboozling a succession of defenders, and rounded the keeper to give England the lead.

While the first goal always sticks in the memory, the other goal is usually forgotten, with a towering header from Mark Hateley sealing a superb victory for England.

BRAZIL: R Costa, Leandro, Mozer, Ricardo Gomes, Junior, Pires, Zenon, Assis, Renato Gaucho, Roberto Dinamite, Tato. 

ENGLAND: P Shilton, M Duxbury, K Sansom, R Wilkins, D Watson, T Fenwick, B Robson, M Chamberlain, M Hateley, T Woodwock, J Barnes.



In truth, I've long since fallen out of love with England. This is largely due to the incessant hype and their absurd supporters.

Despite that, I managed to rediscover a little of the old affection at this World Cup. This was probably because I was out in Japan for the first half of the tournament, and I have never known a more decent set of supporters to follow England. There were a few ne'er-do-wells there, don't get me wrong, but they were quiet.

Michael Owen

Perfect start: Michael Owen puts England in front against Brazil

I even managed to catch the old English disease of always believing 'we're going to win it this time'.

After watching a comfortable second round victory over Denmark in a downtown bar in Hiroshima, of all places, there were a lot of us convincing each other that England were going to conquer the world that summer.

In my defence, I quickly reassessed my views when I had returned home to Blighty before the clash with Brazil. For one thing the hype was as deafening as usual, and, in those circumstances, my natural reaction is to dampen any enthusiasm I might have.

Enlarge   Ronaldinho

Pure joy: Ronaldinho celebrates hs goal for Brazil in Shizuoka

To be fair there has never been enough made of the energy-sapping heat that the teams played in on that Japanese afternoon. It was scorching and stifling in the Land of the Rising Sun throughout that June, and England would have had their chances improved ten fold were the match played in the evening.

That said, they did of course have the perfect start in Shizuoka when Michael Owen broke clear and put Sven Goran Eriksson's side in front. Could it really be this time? More than any other time?

David Seaman

What have I gone and done? David Seaman watches in dismay as Ronaldinho's effort creeps into the corner

It all soon started to go wrong however, with the Brazilians scoring a sparkling equaliser just before half-time. Ronaldinho set up Rivaldo, who side-footed the ball past David Seaman from an angle.

The second half was pure agony for England, with Ronaldinho curling the ball in from 40 yards out on the right hand touchline and completely deceiving Seaman, who could only watch helplessly as the ball dropped into the net.

David Seaman

Distraught: David Seaman is consoled by Martin Keown at the end of England's quarter-final clash with Brazil

Ronaldinho was sent off soon after, but England hardly threatened in the final 30 minutes. In truth they wilted in the heat, running out of energy as well as ideas.

England went home and Brazil went on to win the holiest of footballing pots. The usual story in other words.

ENGLAND: D Seaman, D Mills, A Cole, N Butt, R Ferdinand, S Campbell, D Beckham, P Scholes, E Heskey, M Owen, T Sinclair.

BRAZIL: Marcos, Lucio, Edmilson, Roque Junior, Cafu, Gilberto Silva, Kleberson, Roberto Carlos, Ronaldinho, Rivaldo, Ronaldo.



Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not debate this issue live on our message boards.

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

1970 Mexico, Brazil "the greatest football team ever to grace a world cup", you regularly see a great one off performance from any team but in Mexico everything gelled for Brazil and they simply stood head & shoulders above every other team throughout the entire tournament. For all supporters it was a privilige to watch Brazil produce football at its majestic best, they were utterly awesome. The team that played in the final against Italy produced the greatest football ever witnessed in a world cup final, god blessed them that day.

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You're right ITV did miss that John Barnes goal in 1984.

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that loss in the 2002 qtr final still hurts .

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