After 1982’s glorious failure in Spain, when Brazil earned the crown of ‘Greatest team NEVER to win the World Cup’, Zico, Socrates, Falcao and Junior returned to make an assault on their nation’s fourth world crown at the 1986 renewal in Mexico.
The old guard were joined by some of Brazil’s new generation such as Muller, Alemao, Josimar and Sao Paulo striker Careca, who netted four times in the group stages and again in the first knockout round as the Selecao waltzed past Northern Ireland, Algeria, Spain and Poland to set up a mouthwatering quarter-final clash with Michel Platini’s sumptuous French team in Guadalajara.
In one of the most entertaining World Cup matches of all time, both sides went at each other hammer and tongs in a display of wanton attacking intent.
The aforementioned Careca put Brazil in front with a beautiful, sweeping team goal only for the French skipper Platini to equalise just before half time.
Brazil had the opportunity to progress to the semi-finals in normal time when full back Branco was felled in the box by French keeper Joel Bats but the great Zico saw his spot kick saved.
After more pulsating action in extra-time, Brazil faced a penalty shoot out and yet again one of their ageing heroes would turn villain as Socrates’ was again foiled by Bats.
Platini gave Brazil hope when he blazed France’s fourth penalty high and wide. However, Julio Cesar proceeded to hit the post with Brazil’s fifth and final penalty, paving the way for Luis Fernandez to slot home and send Tele Santana’s Topper-clad squad back to Rio with another failure to their name in their quest to emulate the feats of Pele, Jairzinho, Carlos Alberto and Rivellino sixteen years earlier.
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