Mexico 1983: Brazil live up to top billing
Bookmakers' favourites Brazil, so unstoppable in the CONMEBOL qualifiers with six wins and a draw, deservedly ran out winners of the 1983 tournament in Mexico. They began their campaign by drawing 1-1 with the Netherlands, followed by a 3-0 trouncing of Nigeria and a gritty 2-1 win over the USSR, which was enough to see them through the group stage. The Auriverde then turned in their best performance of the tournament in the quarter-finals, drubbing Czechoslovakia 4-1, before overcoming a surprising Korean side in the semi-finals. In the Final, Geovanni Silva's charges were up against old rivals Argentina, in front of a 110,000 crowd at the Azteca stadium. The Seleçao were typically dominant, and though they could only score from the penalty spot it proved to be the only goal of the game. Brazil were champions, and few could argue with the outcome of the tournament. With their plethora of stars, Bebeto, Dunga, Jorginho and Geovanni among them, Brazil were the best team - and the best team won.
Although Europe's top sides gave a good account of themselves, it was the two South American giants, Argentina and Brazil, who stole the show at Mexico '83, in a tournament that will be remembered as a victory for Latin flair and coaching.
Despite finishing top of the Asian qualifying group, Korea arrived in Mexico as rank outsiders. After a shaky start in their first match against Scotland (0-2), the Taeguk Warriors improved with each passing game. In their second outing they stunned the 70,000 home crowd into silence by outscoring the Tricolores (2-1), then disposed of Australia (2-1), before edging Uruguay in the quarters in what most observers felt was the match of the tournament. Brazil, the eventual champions, proved just too strong in the semi-finals, but Korea's eventual fourth-place finish was the best ever achieved by an Asian side in a FIFA tournament.
Player of the Tournament:
Brazil's Geovanni Silva finished as top scorer (six goals) and player of the tournament at the 1983 World Youth Championship in Mexico. Silva epitomised the flamboyant nature of the enticing Auriverde side, and his tremendous maturity, coupled with an uncanny ability to read the game, made him a natural leader. Yet his footballing gifts were not typically Brazilian; not particularly fast or especially skilful, Silva's talent lay in his passing, vision, and his ability to marshal the midfield and close down the opposition. His club career began at Vasco de Gama at 16 years of age, and although he tried his luck in European football, his performances were indifferent at best and he soon returned to Rio and the São Januário stadium.
Luis Islas (ARG), Frank Farina (AUS), Toni Polster (AUT), Bernard Wohlfarth(AUT), Bebeto (BRA), Dunga (BRA), Geovanni (BRA), Jorginho (BRA), Youssouf Fofana (CIV), Ivan Hasek (RCS), Lubos Kubik (RCS), Stanley Menzo (NED), John Silooy (NED), Marco van Basten (NED), Gerald Vanenburg (NED), Paul McStay (SCO), Brian McClair (SCO), Carlos Aguilera (URU), Ruben Sosa (URU), Gennadi Litovchenko (URS), Oleg Protasov (URS), Tab Ramos (USA),...
Mexico 1983 stats:
- Korea Republic
91 (av.: 2.84)
Argentina, Brazil and Poland, 13 goals
- Geovanni Silva (BRA), 6 goals
- Joachim Klementz (POL), 5 goals
- Jorge Gabrich (ARG), 4 goals
Guadalajara, Irapuato, Leòn, Mexico City, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca
1,155,160 (Final: 110,000)
That average gate of 36,099 over 32 matches is a FIFA World Youth Championship record.