< CONMEBOL Group 3


Brazil were coming up to the 20th anniversary for when they last celebrated holding the Jules Rimet trophy aloft. They had mesmerized a whole globe through their attacking shape in the 1970 tournament, and had capped that World Cup off by smashing four goals past Italy in the final. Whilst the 70s had otherwise not proved successful, there had been a lot of hope for their ’82 generation, which obviously is famous in football folklore for “being the finest team to not have won the World Cup”. In Mexico ’86, France had outwitted the Brazilians in the penalty shoot-out after a thrilling quarter-final encounter.

Sebastião Lazaroni, 38 years old by the start of the qualification, had been appointed earlier in the year as Brazil’s new coach. He had a much more pragmatic outlook on footballing tactics than his recent World Cup predecessors, and perhaps was this the way forward now that the top European nations seemed so strong both tactically and physically? Artistically, Brazil were still right up there.

The Brazilians entered the World Cup qualification on a high, having just arrived from a home soil Copa América triumph, their first continental championship title for 40 (!) long years. They had conceded just a solitary goal right throughout the tournament, and they had a front two with Romário and Bebeto looking ever so dangerous. The latter had finished the tournament as top goalscorer with six goals to his name.

However, a 5-3-2 formation with a libero at the heart of their defence; it was hardly classic Brazilian, was it. Lazaroni, despite the Copa América title, had his critics. “What use is there in winning if you can’t get enormous pleasure from watching the team play?” That seemed to be some of the thinking which was found throughout the nation, and which was a view the manager would have to tackle. Attacking principles had such long traditions in Brazil.

Half of their 22 man strong squad in the Copa had been based at home, half in Europe. Altogether, they were a comparatively young squad with no supposed key player (from that squad) aged older than 27 (Galvão/Alemão, though the latter had only been a bit-part player). Could it even be so that 1990 came too soon for this Brazilian generation?

Two weeks to the day after the Copa América title had been secured, it was time for the first qualifier. They had some further talent to call upon which had not taken part in the continental tournament, and both strong full-back Jorginho and experienced striker Careca looked to be excellent additions to the already strong-looking squad.


24.05.1989: Peru 1-1 Brazil
Goal: Cristóvão
Line-up: Zé Carlos – Jorginho (c), Mauro Galvão, André Cruz, Mazinho (Nelsinho) – Bobô (Edu), Bernardo, Bismarck (Nilson), Zinho – Zé Carlos III, Cristóvão

08.06.1989: Brazil 4-0 Portugal
Goals: Bebeto, Sobrinho (own goal), Ricardo Gomes, Charles
Line-up (4-4-2): Acácio – Jorginho (c) (Branco 67), Mozer (Aldair 87), Ricardo Gomes, Mazinho – Silas (Geovani 64), Bernardo, Edu (Cristóvão), Valdo – Bebeto, Charles

Tournament of Denmark
16.06.1989: Sweden 2-1 Brazil
Goal: Cristóvão
Line-up (4-5-1): Acácio – Paolo Roberto, André Cruz, Ricardo Gomes (c), Branco – Valdo, Silas (Bismarck 73), Bernardo, Edu (Geovani h-t), Careca II (Gérson 69) – Charles (Cristóvão h-t)

Tournament of Denmark
18.06.1989: Denmark 4-0 Brazil
Line-up: Acácio – Paulo Roberto, André Cruz, Ricardo Gomes (c), Branco (Mazinho 64) – Geovani, Bismarck (Edu 74), Bernardo, Valdo (Charles 74), Gérson (Careca II 85) – Cristóvão (Silas 64)

21.06.1989: Switzerland 1-0 Brazil
Line-up (4-3-3): Taffarel – Paolo Roberto (Branco 74), André Cruz, Ricardo Gomes (c), Mazinho – Alemão, Dunga, Valdo – Renato, Gérson (Geovani 74), Tita
Brazil were desperately unlucky to lose this game, and in addition to failing to score, the penalty from which the hosts netted their goal was clearly wrong.

Copa América

01.07.1989: Brazil 3-1 Venezuela
Goals: Bebeto, Geovani (pen.), Baltazar
Line-up: Taffarel – Mazinho, André Cruz, Mauro Galvão, Ricardo Gomes (c), Branco – Geovani, Valdo, Tita (Silas 11) – Bebeto (Baltazar h-t), Romário

03.07.1989: Brazil 0-0 Peru
Line-up: Taffarel – Geovani, Aldair, Mauro Galvão, Ricardo Gomes (c), Branco (Renato Gaúcho 59) – Alemão, Dunga, Valdo – Bebeto, Romário (Baltazar 68)

05.07.1989: Brazil 0-0 Colombia
Line-up: Taffarel – Geovani, Aldair, Mauro Galvão, Ricardo Gomes (c), Branco – Alemão (Mazinho 64), Dunga, Valdo – Renato Gaúcho, Baltazar (Bebeto 57)

07.07.1989: Brazil 2-0 Paraguay
Goals: Bebeto 2
Line-up: Taffarel – Mazinho, Aldair, Mauro Galvão, Ricardo Gomes (c), Branco – Silas, Dunga, Valdo, Bebeto, Romário (Renato Gaúcho 78)

12.07.1989: Brazil 2-0 Argentina
Goals: Bebeto, Romário
Line-up: Taffarel – Mazinho, Aldair, Mauro Galvão, Ricardo Gomes (c), Branco – Silas (Alemão 75), Dunga, Valdo – Bebeto, Romário (Renato Gaúcho 75)

14.07.1989: Brazil 3-0 Paraguay
Goals: Bebeto 2, Romário
Line-up: Taffarel – Mazinho, Aldair, Mauro Galvão, Ricardo Gomes (c), Branco – Silas, Dunga, Valdo (Alemão 73) – Bebeto, Romário (Renato Gaúcho 73)

16.07.1989: Brazil 1-0 Uruguay
Goal: Romário
Line-up: Taffarel – Mazinho, Aldair, Mauro Galvão, Ricardo Gomes (c), Branco – Silas (Alemão 85), Dunga, Valdo (Josimar 86) – Bebeto, Romário

23.07.1989: Brazil 1-0 Japan
Goal: Bismarck
Line-up: Taffarel (Zé Carlos) – Aldair, Mauro Galvão, André Cruz – Mazinho (Josimar), Dunga (Alemão), Valdo (Silas), Branco (Edivaldo) – Bebeto (Renato Gaúcho), Careca (c) (Tita), Romário (Bismarck)

Qualifier 1
30.07.1989: Venezuela 0-4 Brazil
Goals: Branco, Romário, Bebeto 2
Line-up (3-4-3): Taffarel – Aldair, Mauro Galvão, Ricardo Gomes (c) – Mazinho, Dunga, Valdo, Branco (Josimar 78) – Bebeto, Careca (Silas 64), Romário
After a highly successful continental championship run on home soil in a solid 5-3-2 formation, manager Lazaroni might have got greedy in his appetite for goals for this journey to Caracas. The plucky but limited hosts were able to put in a fine defensive performance in the first half to deny the Brazilians more than the goal which Branco had given them as early as six minutes, and they struggled to get truly going in midfield with just the two men of Dunga and Valdo there. However, they improved after the break, seeing Careca in a deeper role, though only when Silas replaced the Napoli striker would they truly up the ante, and they’d finish the fixture with four goals to their name. Deservedly so.

Qualifier 2
13.08.1989: Chile 1-1 Brazil
Goal: Gonzáles (own goal)
Line-up (5-3-2): Taffarel – Mazinho (André Cruz 77), Aldair, Mauro Galvão, Ricardo Gomes (c), Branco (Jorginho 10) – Silas, Dunga, Valdo – Bebeto, Romário
Brazil lose Romário to a fourth minute red card, Branco to injury a few minutes later, and then they have the majority of possession against hosts who are also reduced to ten men before 15 minutes of play. Strikes from distance are the order of the day; Dunga comes closest from 30 yards. Brazil, back in 5-3-2 (then 5-3-1), take the lead thanks to a mad own goal, and are unlucky to have Bebeto’s ‘goal’ for 2-0 chalked off incorrectly. Mazinho also goes off injured, and Chile equalize in highly controversial fashion through late indirect free-kick inside the six yard area.

Qualifier 3
20.08.1989: Brazil 6-0 Venezuela
Goals: Careca 4, Silas, Acosta (own goal)
Line-up (3-5-2): Taffarel – Jorginho, Ricardo Rocha, Mauro Galvão, Ricardo Gomes (c), Branco – Silas, Dunga (Alemão 67), Valdo (Tita 73) – Bebeto, Careca
Goals galore had been Lazaroni’s recipe for the hosts, who more or less knew they would win even long before the game started. A fit again Careca took the suspended Romário’s place alongside Bebeto, while São Paulo’s Ricardo came into defence at the injured Aldair’s expense. Brazil had been well on top during the first half, but from around 55 minutes and onwards they would lay total siege on the visitors’ goal. Valdo had missed a first half penalty, though it didn’t matter. Careca added two late goals to take his haul to four on an utterly dominant afternoon. They’ll just hope the Venezuelans don’t fold completely in their final game at Chile next. 

Qualifier 4
03.09.1989: Brazil 2-0 Chile



Final position: 1 (out of 3 – qualified)
Total record: 4 3 1 0 13-1 7
Home record: 2 2 0 0 8-0 4
Away record: 2 1 1 0 5-1 3

Player statistics

Number of players used:
Number of players including unused substitutes:
Ever-presents (360 minutes):
Leading goalscorer:
Yellow/red cards:

– overview

– game by game

PlayerVen (a)Chi (a)Ven (h)Chi (h)AppsMins
Mauro Galvão909090
Ricardo Gomes909090
Romário904 (s.o.)
Renato GaúchoRR
André Cruz13
Zé CarlosR
Ricardo Rocha90

– ratings


14.10.1989: Italy 0-1 Brazil
Goal: André Cruz
Line-up (5-3-2): Taffarel – Jorginho, Aldair (André Cruz 72), Mauro Galvão, Ricardo Rocha, Mazinho – Silas (Tita 68), Dunga, Alemão (Geovani 89) – Careca (c), Müller

14.11.1989: Brazil 0-0 Yugoslavia
Line-up (5-3-2): Taffarel – Josimar (Müller h-t), Ricardo Rocha, Mauro Galvão (c), André Cruz, Mazinho – Silas (Bismarck 76), Dunga, Geovani – Romário (Tita 68), Bebeto

20.12.1989: Netherlands 0-1 Brazil
Goal: Careca
Line-up (5-3-2): Taffarel – Jorginho, Aldair (Júlio César h-t), Mozer, Ricardo Rocha, Branco – Alemão, Dunga (Silas 74), Valdo – Romário (Bebeto 54), Careca (c) (Müller 74)

28.03.1990: England 1-0 Brazil

05.05.1990: Brazil 2-1 Bulgaria

13.05.1990: Brazil 3-3 East Germany