Host Chile had a thrilling time in the 1962 World Cup
“Since we have nothing, we'll make everything,” declared Chile Football Federation President Carlos Dittborn after the FIFA meeting in 1956 when the seventh World Cup was awarded to Chile.
The country had been rocked by a powerful earthquake on May 21, 1960, damaging many of the proposed stadiums, but the economically crippled nation defied the odds and put on a tournament that silenced its numerous critics.
After four days of mayhem, 50 players had gone down injured, including the great Pele, who tore thigh muscles in his right leg during a match against Czechoslovakia which ruled him out for the rest of the tournament.
The group match between Chile and Italy deteriorated into an ugly skirmish at Santiago in front of a hostile crowd.
Italy had two players sent off and a third finished the match — which Chile won 2-0 — with a broken nose.
Another early match that proved to be a talking point was the eight-goal thriller between the Soviet Union and Colombia, in which the South Americans came back from a three-goal deficit to earn a 4-4 draw. This was thanks, in part, to a rare weak performance by Russian goalkeeper Lev Yashin, widely regarded as one of the best in the world.
A draw for Colombia, however, was not enough and it joined powerhouses Italy, Uruguay and Spain as a first round casualty.
The host nation had a thrilling journey to the semifinals, but there it was outclassed by the talented Brazilians 4-2 with Garrincha, Vava, Amarildo and Co. making light of Pele's absence.
The other semifinal featured two Eastern European teams. Czechoslovakia ground out a 1-0 win over Yugoslavia, thanks to a late winner from Adolf Scherer in an encounter played in front of a sparse crowd in Vina del Mar. Brazil was the strong favourite in the final, but the Czechs surprised it by scoring the opening goal when Masopust beat Gilmar.
Amarildo, the hero
The South Americans were forced to work hard before they regained control of the match as Amarildo first equalised and then played a part in the second, crossing for Zito to head into Schroiff's unguarded goal.
A mistake from the Czech 'keeper put the destiny of the Cup beyond doubt as he fumbled a looping shot and gave Vava the simple task of booting home Brazil's third goal.
Even without Pele, Brazil proved once again that it was simply too good for the rest and became the third member of an elite club, joining Italy and Uruguay as two-time winners. — AFP