Manoel Francisco dos Santos - Brazil

Manoel Francisco dos Santos was born on 28 October 1936 in Pau Grande. An early operation resulted in a knee twisting outwards and one leg shorter than the other. Very unpromising material for a footballer was the young lad who joined the Paul Grande football club. After an unsuccessful approach to Vasco da Gama, Garrincha, as he was to become known as, was accepted on a trial basis by Botafogo. Used in an internal training match, he was identified as promising by Nilton Santos, who had established himself as a full back of international class, if only because of the difficulty Santos had in marking him, Garrincha was taken on full time. He was to stay with Botafogo for eleven years. Despite his physical problems Garrincha was exceptionally fleet of foot with a low centre of gravity. His awkwardness of movement made him extremely difficult to read and to tackle. In short he was the best winger in the world at the time and he stepped into the hole created by the injury to Pelé by scoring and creating nearly all of Brazil’s goals in the World Cup of ‘62.

Florian Albert - Hungary

Hungary’s discovery was Florian Albert, only fifteen years old in 1956, he had been too young to be in the national team that had largely stayed abroad after the Soviet invasion. Fast and skilful, Albert had the ability to divine situations quickly, creating time and space in attack for his colleagues as a good centre forward should; he was quite lethal when presented with a goal scoring opportunity, but never too selfish when a pass looked the better option. Making his debut in 1959 in the three-two win against Sweden, the weight of expectation on the eighteen year old’s shoulders was initially too much, as he flattered to deceive in the following few internationals. Then just before the World Cup started, this naturally gifted player began to perform at the level expected of him; he scored a hat-trick in the four-two win over a strong Yugoslav side. He marked Switzerland’s card as unlikely to be a serious title contender in an eight-nil demolition. West Germany were forced to labour, the former World Champions, who had so undeservedly beaten the Hungarians of 1954, falling down by the thrilling score line four-three. England, playing Hungary before the World Cup felt the sting of a two-nil defeat, both goals being scored by Albert. Thus it could be said that two-one loss was actually an improvement, a point that was emphasised by Albert’s orchestration of the six-one thrashing of Bulgaria, Albert plundering a hat-trick in the process.

© 2006 World Cup Years Ltd.