Pele passes away: Five great World Cup goals the legendary footballer is remembered for

The three-time World Cup winner scored some of the most iconic goals, here's a look



Photo: AP
Photo: AP

By AFP

Published: Fri 30 Dec 2022, 10:10 AM

Last updated: Fri 30 Dec 2022, 11:27 AM

Pele, arguably the greatest footballer of all time, died aged 82 on Thursday in his native Brazil.

Here, AFP Sport takes a look at five of the best goals the three-time World Cup winner scored at the global showpiece:

June 19, 1958 at Gothenburg, Sweden

-- The first of Pele's 12 World Cup goals came in the 1958 last eight against a strong Wales side led by John Charles. The then-17-year-old had become the youngest player ever in the tournament in Brazil's final group game against the USSR.

Pele decided a tight match with a moment of brilliance in the 66th minute. He controlled the ball inside the box with his chest, before flicking the ball over a bewildered defender and volleying a low finish into the bottom corner. Photographers swarmed onto the pitch to capture his celebrations with his teammates in the back of the Welsh net.

June 24, 1958 at Stockholm

-- Pele did not waste much time in adding to his World Cup tally, decisively turning a close semi-final against France in Brazil's favour. Leading 2-1 at half-time against Just Fontaine's Les Bleus, Pele plundered a second-half hat-trick to power Brazil into the final.

He bundled in after a goalkeeping error to make it 3-1, before lashing home following some exquisite skill for his second. But the coup de grace was the goal which capped his only World Cup hat-trick, as he killed Garrincha's right-wing cross with one touch and thumped an unstoppable volley into the corner.

June 29, 1958 at Stockholm

-- Pele wrote himself into footballing folklore by becoming the first teenager to score in a World Cup final, a feat only matched 60 years later by France's Kylian Mbappe. His first goal of a double in the 5-2 triumph over hosts Sweden was unforgettable, as he scored after three touches when the ball never hit the ground.

He controlled a long pass on his chest, knocked it over the advancing defender and slammed a now-trademark volley into the bottom corner.

June 10, 1970 at Guadalajara, Mexico

-- Having injured himself during the second game of Brazil's 1962 World Cup win and then effectively being kicked out of the 1966 edition in England, Pele arrived in Mexico with plenty to prove in 1970.

The 29-year-old underlined his status as the world's top player, in arguably the greatest team ever. His first goal of a brace in a 3-2 group-stage victory against Romania was a thunderous free-kick from 30 yards out which flew into the net.

June 21, 1970 at Mexico City

-- After a tournament for which he will best be remembered for two misses -- a shot wide after an incredible dummy to confound a goalkeeper and an effort from the halfway line which drifted narrowly off target -- Pele scored his last World Cup goal in the final.

Rivelino ran onto a throw-in from Tostao in the 18th minute and hooked a left-footed cross towards the back post, where Pele hung in the air and powered a magnificent header into the bottom corner.

Italy equalised through Roberto Boninsegna, but Brazil cruised to a famous win, with Pele providing the assist for the fourth goal for Carlos Alberto, waiting for his captain to arrive late on the scene from right-back and score what is widely regarded as the best-ever World Cup goal.

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