Football: History on the side of samba

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Scotland 0 Brazil 1

Glasgow, 1966

NOT a World Cup fixture but a friendly played just before the real thing in England. Scotland had failed to qualify, thanks to Italy, while the holders wanted some acclimatisation to the European style. The skills of Garrincha took Hampden's breath away, but if anything the Brazilians proved more adept than the Scots at the hard stuff; the Celtic striker Steve Chalmers was left nursing a broken nose when Pele, of all people, hit him with his elbow. Poor Pele may have been getting his retaliation in first, because when he crossed the border the world's greatest player was ruthlessly hacked out of the finals by the astonishing brutality of the Bulgarian and Portuguese sides.

Scotland 0 Brazil 0

Frankfurt, 1974

SCOTLAND have never come closer to breaking their duck against Brazil than they did in the 1974 finals. Billy Bremner incredibly missed from two yards in the dying minutes as Willie Ormond's side displayed poise to go with their courage. The yellow shirts were not a patch on the side which won in Mexico. There was no Pele, Tostao or Gerson and an ageing Jairzinho rarely threatened a defence marshalled by Jim Holton and David Harvey. When David Hay shook the bar with a 35-yard shot, the Scots knew it was not going to be their night. To add insult to injury, the Brazilians pipped them to the next round by scoring a last-minute goal against Zaire.

Scotland 1 Brazil 4

Seville, 1982

THIS was the finest Brazil side not to win a World Cup, as Scotland found out to their cost. Both sets of fans created a carnival atmosphere, mixing the Samba with the Highland fling. Perhaps the worst thing the Scots did was to scare the Brazilians because after David Narey put them in front with a wonderful shot from the edge of the box - described by Jimmy Hill as a "toe poke", which aroused the ire of a nation - their opponents stepped up a gear. Zico equalised before half-time with a sublime chip, and second-half goals from Serginho, Falcao and Eder left Jock Stein's team gasping. A 2-2 draw with Russia meant the Scots missed out on goal difference again.

Turin, 1990

AN appropriate city for the Scots to fail to conquer their nemesis, because a late goal from Luis Muller cast a shroud over Scottish football; for the fifth time in a row they exited on goal difference. The goal, nine minutes from time, was a nightmare for the keeper Jim Leighton who failed to hold a shot from Romario and watched it spin across the rain- soaked turf to Muller who tapped in from two yards. Andy Roxburgh's side belatedly launched a bombardment of Claudio Taffarel's goal. Mo Johnston, who had stirred the wrong headlines by getting drunk after the defeat by Costa Rica, could not hit the bar from close range and the Scots were on the wagon home again.

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