With nine FIFA World Cup triumphs between them, Brazil and Italy are the two most successful countries on the planet. As the teams prepare to meet on Saturday in the FIFA Confederations Cup – a day over four years since the Seleção defeated the Azzurri 3-0 in the 2009 group stage, a result which eliminated Marcello Lippi's squad – UEFA.com recalls four famous matches between the sides.
Italy 2-1 Brazil, FIFA World Cup semi-final, 16 June 1938
Brazil were considered huge favourites to win in Marseille, despite Italy being reigning world champions, and so decided to rest key players for a final they ultimately would not reach. Nine minutes after Gino Colaussi's 51st-minute breakthrough, Giuseppe Meazza doubled the Azzurri's lead from the spot. While Meazza was readying himself to take the penalty, the elastic in his shorts snapped, causing the FC Internazionale Milano striker to hold them up with his left hand when taking the kick. Romeu grabbed a late Brazilian consolation.
Brazil 4-1 Italy, FIFA World Cup final, 21 June 1970
Italy reached the final by defeating West Germany 4-3 in one of the most memorable matches of all time, five of the seven goals coming in extra time. However, Ferruccio Valcareggi's men were outclassed in Mexico City four days later. Though Roberto Boninsegna cancelled out Pelé's 18th-minute opener, the Seleção stuck three times without reply in the second half through Gérson, Jairzinho and Carlos Alberto. Gianni Rivera, who had scored the winner against West Germany, played only the last six minutes. "Before the match I told myself that Pelé was just flesh and bones like the rest of us," said Italy defender Tarcisio Burgnich. "Later I realised I'd been wrong."
Italy 3-2 Brazil, FIFA World Cup second group stage, 5 July 1982
Brazil needed a point to qualify for the semi-finals from a section also including Argentina. With Falcão, Socrates, Júnior, Eder and Zico in their XI, Brazil were hotly tipped to overcome an Azzurri selection that had drawn with Peru, Poland and Cameroon in the first group stage. Having replied to each of Paolo Rossi's two first-half goals in Barcelona, Brazil could not summon a response when the Juventus forward notched again 16 minutes from time. Rossi never looked back, adding two more in the semi-final against Poland and the opener in the 3-1 showpiece victory over West Germany. "I went on holiday to Brazil a few years later," Rossi said. "A taxi driver recognised me and kindly asked me to get out of his car because of the huge disappointment I had caused his country."
Brazil 0-0 Italy (Brazil win 3-2 on penalties), FIFA World Cup final, 17 July 1994
The great performances of another Ballon d'Or winner, Roberto Baggio, fired Italy to the final at USA '94. In contrast to Rossi, Baggio's story would not have a happy ending, though. After 120 minutes of goalless action at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Franco Baresi and Baggio missed their conversions in the ensuing shoot-out as Brazil claimed their fourth world title. "It's a wound that will never heal," said Baggio. "It had never happened to me, putting a penalty over the bar. At that moment I wanted to dig a big hole and hide in it."
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