Montreal ’76 : Brazil v Israel


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21-year-old defender EDINHO of FC Fluminese, who later went on to appear in the final tournaments of three FIFA World Cups, anchored the backline for the Brazilian Olympic XI in the quarterfinal match with Israel at the 1976 Summer Games in Canada.
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Despite being bolstered by two World Cup veterans at the 1976 Montreal Games, the Israelis were always the clear underdogs for the Olympic quarterfinal match with the youthful Brazilians at Varsity Stadium in Toronto. ISRAEL had neither won nor lost any of its three matches and still managed to finish second in Group B. BRAZIL, for whom the average age was just under twenty-one years old per player, had battled defending bronze medalist East Germany to a goalless draw before clipping a fairly-talented Spain in Group A.

The Olympic team of Brazil were trained by noted conditioning guru CLAUDIO COUTINHO, who had been the physical fitness coach for the 1970 FIFA World Cup champions including the legendary Pele, now with the New York Cosmos in the NASL, before guiding the national team of Peru as well as French club Olympique Marseille. Coutinho had been a captain in the Brazilian army specializing in physical training and, while in the United States in 1968, had met and was strongly influenced by Air Force Colonel Kenneth H. Cooper — a doctor of medicine who introduced the concept of Aerobics as well as the now-famous Cooper Test to the world. Coutinho was revolutionary in Brazil for his emphasis on physical fitness in a historically-powerful football nation that had traditionally always placed a premium on raw individual talent and was later a surprise selection when chosen to lead the 1978 World Cup team for Brazil.

Israel would suffer a bad break when 22-year-old midfielder MOSHE SCHWEITZER of FC Maccabi Tel Aviv, who had started all four contests for Olympic trainer DAVID SCHWEITZER at the 1976 Summer Games in Canada, had to come off in only the 26th minute of the match. Into the breach, then, stepped 21-year-old RIFAAT TURK, the first Arab-Israeli to ever appear at any international tournament. In spite of this, Israel and World Cup veteran goalkeeper YITZHAK VISSOKER of FC Hapoel Petah Tikvah were able to keep the skillful, if inexperienced, Brazilian youngsters off the scoreboard until the halftime whistle arrived.

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Brazil midfielder BATISTA (17) of Internacional Porto Alegre, who appeared in every contest for his country at the 1976 Summer Olympic Games in Canada, is confronted by Austria defender ERICH OBERMAYER (3) of FK Austria Vienna during the 1978 FIFA World Cup first round, Group 3 match at the Estadio Jose Maria Minella in Mar del Plata, Argentina.
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In fact, the Israelis held out for nearly an hour in front of the 18,601 spectators at Varsity Stadium before 18-year-old striker JARBAS of Rio de Janeiro’s CF America found the back of the net in the 56th minute and initiated a devastating, eighteen-minute blitz for Brazil. 19-year-old winger ERIVELTO of FC Fluminese scored a second goal in the 72nd minute to give Samba drums a good reason to beat even louder. JARBAS, for all intents and purposes, wrapped things up for the Brazilians with his second goal of the match just two minutes later.

Already ahead three to nil, Coutinho withdrew his first choice, the 20-year-old CARLOS of AA Ponte Preta, and installed 21-year-old reserve goalkeeper ZE CARLOS of FR Botafogo in the 77th minute. Almost immediately thereafter, though, Israel striker VICKY PERETZ, the 23-year-old from FC Maccabi Tel Aviv who later played three seasons in France, greeted the new netminder by pulling a goal back for national pride in the 80th minute. The Brazilians added another, though, when would-be two-time World Cup midfielder JUNIOR, the 22-year-old from CR Flamengo who went on to earn 70 caps for Brazil in his career, fired a last goal just two minutes from full time in Toronto.

The convincing 4-1 defeat of Israel by the talented youngsters from Brazil brought about another interesting international re-match for the semifinals of the ’76 Summer Olympic Games, this particular one being from the 1974 FIFA World Cup 3rd Place contest …

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Brazil midfielder JUNIOR (6) of CR Flamengo, who later spent five seasons in Serie A with FC Torino and Pescara, gives chase to prolific Italy striker PAOLO ROSSI of FC Juventus Turin during the pivotal 1982 FIFA World Cup second round, Group C match at the old Estadio de Sarria in Barcelona, Spain.

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