Since 2002, Brazil has managed to maintain the bragging rights of being the most successful nation in World Cup history with five Jules Rimet trophy wins, and some incredible performances along the way that are etched forever in World Cup folklore.
With the nation’s first chance to host the finals in 64 years set to come this summer, we’ll be taking a look back at Brazil’s 10 best performances in World Cup history, with the top five entries – their triumphs in the Final – ranked in terms of how memorable each one was. From the heroics of a 17-year-old Edson Arantes do Nascimento – better known as Pelé – in Sweden in 1958, to the two-goal performance against Germany by Ronaldo in Japan 44 years later, Brazil has plenty to be proud of in terms of footballing greatness on the international stage. With the entire country watching them on home soil this summer, the pressure is on like never before to bring back the trophy, as they couldn’t quite do it in 1950 against Uruguay at home.
In addition to Pelé and Ronaldo, Brazil has plenty of other World Cup heroes to take pride in: Romario, Jairzinho, Garrincha; the list goes on and on. But with young guns such as Neymar and Oscar expected to lead the offensive rush for Brazil this summer, the weight of the world will be placed upon their shoulders in June, even if many of Brazil’s current crop of players have not previously played on such a high level internationally.
With that in mind, those newer players have a staggering reputation to live up to, and the teams on this list that Brazil – the only nation to qualify for every World Cup finals – have fielded in World Cups past have earned their place among the most entertaining teams the tournament has ever seen. Here are the top 10 performances Brazil has ever put up at the World Cup.
10 Fourth Place -- West Germany 1974
9 Third Place -- France 1938
8 Third Place -- Argentina 1978
7 Runners-Up -- France 1998
6 Runners-Up -- Brazil 1950
5 Winners -- Chile 1962
4 Winners -- Korea/Japan 2002
3 Winners -- USA 1994
2 Winners -- Sweden 1958
1 Winners -- Mexico 1970
With players like Pelé, Jairzinho and Rivelino in tow, Brazil’s team at the 1970 finals in Mexico has been called the greatest team ever assembled at a World Cup finals, period. It isn’t hard to understand why: the team won every single qualifying match they played prior to reaching the finals, and then proceeded to keep their flawless streak alive when the finals actually came. Goals in the final against Italy from Pelé, Gérson, Jairzinho and Carlos Alberto sealed the deal for the Selecão, and the team’s attacking style of play combined with their winning record makes them the greatest team to ever play in a finals tournament.
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