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Midfield - Brazil
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BORN:  OCT. 8, 1928 
WORLD CUP APPEARNCES:  3 tournaments ('54, '58, '62)
CLUBS: Rio Branco, Lencoes, Madureiro, Fluminese, Botafogo, Real Madrid, Valencia, Botafogo

INTRODUCTION: Two-time World Cup player and one of the world's greatest playmaker.  Didi was theorchestrator of Brazil's two World Cup winning teams. 

1954 World Cup - Switzerland

Didi was already a world star in 1954 before the arrival of Garrincha and Pele.
Ademir, Zizinho and Jair, the terrible attacking trio, was now gone from the Brazilian team.  In Didi, Brazil found a new star to succeed the brilliant Zizinho.  A deadly free-kick specialist, he was the player who invented the bannana kick, known as folha seca (meaning dry leaf) that bend past defensive walls.  He had superb tactical sense andcreativity.  He scored in his World Cup debut against Mexico and then again in the next match against Yugoslavia.  In the quarter-final against Hungary, he played superbly.  At one point Didi was controlling the game and even combined with Indio to create Brazil's first goal.  But the Hungarians, one of the finest sides seen in the World Cup, eventually fought back to win 4-2.

1958 World Cup - Sweden Didi emerged from this World Cup as one of thegreatest player in the 1958 edition.  Brazil did not ensure qualification to this World Cup until the last match.  And Didi scored with another free-kick special against Peru for the only goal of the game.  For all the great players you will eventually hear of this brilliant Brazilian side (i.e.,Pele, Garrincha et al), it was actually Didi who got them to Sweden in the first place.  However, at the start of this campaign, Didi's place in the team was anything but assured, being critisized as not motivited enough and too old to play as one of the two players in midfield.
Didi shot past the USSR defense.  He now has a perfect midfield partner in Zito and would be acclaimed as the world's greatest midfield general.
In the second match against England, Didi was marked tightly by Slater but still managed to dictate the rythym of the first half.   But Brazil failed to win the match and after seeing the Brazilian midfield faded in the second half against England, coach Feola brought in Zito to assist Didi in midfield.  The scheme worked remarkably well, Didi produced a touch of sublime class against the Soviet side, making a exquisite through-ball to Vava, who score pass Yashin, the famous USSR keeper.  That opened the floodgate and Brazil won the match easily to qualify for the second round.

After beating Wales 1-0 in the next match, Brazil met France, their strongest opponents, in the semi-final.  With French defender Jonquet injured in the first half, Didi capitalized on their advantage and broke the deadlock by scoring a crucial goal 8 minutes from half-time.  Brazil won the match 5-2.  In the final against the host Sweden, Garrincha and Pele were the stars but Didi was again the dominant personality in the midfield.  Soon after the game, he was snapped up by Real Madrid, the greatest club team at that time.

1962 World Cup - Chile Four years later, at the age of 34, Didi had past his peak.  This time again, he was not gurantee a place in the Brazilian team, his playmaker place was threatened by a new player called Cinesinho.  To reclaim his place, Didi left Spain and return to Brazil's Botafogojust two years before the World Cup in Chile.  Although he never reproduce the formed showed in Sweden, with the explosive Garrincha in his side, Brazil was still too strong for anyone and went on to win their second World Cup.

1st round:  1st match v. Mexico
1st round: 2nd match v. Yugoslavia
Semi-final v. France

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