AZ of World Cup Superstars – G is for Garriincha

by Dexy Longshot

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

With the World Cup less than 6 months away, we have decided to start the build up early doors with an A to Z list of our favourite players who set the World Cup alight. Some are recent stars, some are relics from the days of black and white TV but all were mustard. The thing is, each week we will be using just stars whose surname was that week’s letter, eg: this week it is letter B which gives us Baresi, Banks, Bebeto etc etc. Tricky already! Gawd help the banter when we get to M, – Messi, Maradonna, Maldine, Moore, ….McCoist!!!

This week’s letter is G, feel free to slate our selections and put it right with players who in your opinion are truly The World Cup Superstars

A-Z. Agree or Disagree?

G is for Garriincha

It’s G-men today and there are dozens of World Cup stars with this as their 1st initial so i’ve had to leave a lot out. I’ve concentrated on one’s which i remember the most for footballing as well as pant-dropping excellence (see Gattuso). Some are pretty brief but feel free to add some comments.

Jimmy’s in for two reasons, the 1st is in the 62 finals against Brazil, a random mutt ran onto the pitch, Greavsy got down on the turf and beckoned him towards him, our very own 3 Lions dog whisperer, Jimmy got hold of the mutt and took him of the pitch to a standing ovation while the dog done a Jimmy down Jimmy’s jersey! Brazilian winger Garrincha, (see later) was so taken with the incident that he kept the dog as a pet. 4 years later Greaves was coming into the 66 World Cup as our very own Wayne Rooney, a superb goal hanger with one of the best goals to games rations on the planet (his record was 44 strikes in 57!). He got injured though early doors and Sir Geoff went to grab the goals and headlines in the latter stages, so there is a hope for Zamora if Wayne comes unstuck.

Gérson de Oliveira Nunes was known as Golden left foot and played for Brazil in the 1966 and 1970 FIFA World Cups.

The magnificent pass master played ok in 1966, but was the mastermind behind the 1970 samba success. He is regarded as the best passer and midfielder in that team and was breathtaking in the final against Italy. He scored 14 goals in 70 games including one in the 1970 final.

A defensive midfield dynamo in the 2002 and 2006 tournaments, AC Milan bulldog Gattuso gets a mention for his post-match celebrations after The Azurri mashed up France on Penalties 4 years ago. The back pages were awash with snaps of Zidanes nut on Materrazzi but the inside back pages were awash with Gattusso running around the pitch celebrating in just his budgie smugglers until jobsworth officials forced him to cover up his nuts.

Gylmar dos Santos Neves known simply as Gilmar played 94 times for Brazil and played in the victorious 1958 and 1962 teams starting between the sticks in both,  the only keeper to win the trophy twice in the No1 position.

Honourable mentions to Francesco “Ciccio” Graziani who represented the Azzurri in 78 and in the 82 triumph in Spain. Others include Grosso and Gilardino from the last world cup and the brilliant Claudio Gentile. He led the Azzurri back-line to World Cup glory in 82. He was a master tactician and read the game brilliantly stopping the great Brazilian & German attacks before holding aloft the trophy with Zoff and co in Spain.

Manuel Francisco dos Santos AKA Garriincha!

My No1 G-spot this week goes to one of my top 5 players of all time. Garrincha!
It is not just his dribbling mastery of the ball on the wing that left many spellbound but the background to his rise to stardom. Known as Little Bird, try and find some footage of him on youtube, the things he does with the ball are beyond belief, his speed, balance and shooting power is orgasmic. Many people put Pele up there as the no1 Brazilian of all time, if that’s the case, this man is a close 2nd. I spoke to Ray Wilson of the 66 team who signed a picture of him tackling the great Brazilian. Ray said he was the brazil nuts and one of the finest he has ever played against, (but he still had him in his pocket…Ray you are legde mate!). Garrincha had a extroidinary background to match his talent. Brought up in poverty in Rio, He had a deformed spine, a wonky right leg that bent inwards and a left leg which bent outwards and was 2 inches too short. His old man was an alcy too which didn’t help, something which Garrincha himself would become in future years. It is rumoured that he lost his virginity to a goat and that he had no interest in playing footy for a living, probably due to his disabilities & background. Scouts thought otherwise when they saw him knocking the ball about on the backstreets and finally got him to turn pro in his very late teens. A few years later, he was terrorising defenders in the 58 and 62 World Cup triumphs and also in 66. In his 50 games for Brazil, the team lost just once, against Hungary in 66, a game that Pele missed through injury. Garrincha, a worthy edition to the World cup 11 and probably the finest winger ever to walk onto a pitch, albeit with a limp.

See you next time for H, I, and J’s!

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