Brazil Off To A Flyer
Unlike the modern format for the World Cup, there were fewer nations involved in 1966. There were just four groups of four teams - and Goodison was fortunate enough to host what was undeniably the most attractive section.
It featured three of the best sides in the competition in what was a real 'Group of Death'. The holders, Brazil, were pitted against two highly fancied European sides, in the shape of the mercurial Hungarians and a Portuguese side featuring the mighty Eusebio.
The day after England had opened the tournament with a 0-0 draw against Uruguay, Goodison staged the first game of the group between the South Americans and the group outsiders, Bulgaria.
Although Brazil were in a transition period between the 1958 and 1962 World Cup winning sides and their fabulous 1970 team, they were still formidable opponents, featuring Pele and Garrincha, rated by many Brazilian observers as as good a player as the man generally regarded as the greatest in history.
It was appropriate that both those legends were on the scoresheet in a 2-0 win for the holders. Pele opened the scoring in the game (and the competition) with an explosive free-kick after 13 minutes and the 'Little Bird' added a second after 63 minutes from another free-kick. But the excessive fouls on the Brazilian number 10 was a sign of things to come.
Tuesday, July 12th 1966
Brazil 2 (Pele, Garrincha) Bulgaria 0.
Brazil: Gilmar, Djalma, Santos, Bellini, Altair, Paulo Henrique, Denilson, Lima, Garrincha, Alcindo, Pele, Jairzinho.
Bulgaria: Naidenov, Chalamanov, Penev, Voutsov, Gaganelov, Kitov, Jetchev,Dermendjiev, Asparoukhov, Yakimov, Kolev.