History of the World Cup from 1970-2006

By Mike Collett

LONDON, May 19 (Reuters) - A history of the World Cup finals from 1970 to 2006:

Mexico 1970

Brazil won the Jules Rimet trophy outright with what is regarded as the greatest side ever, including Clodoaldo, Gerson, Rivelino, Tostao, Jairzinho, Pele and Carlos Alberto.

In the final at Mexico City's Aztec Stadium, Brazil dazzled and danced to a memorable 4-1 win over Italy with Jairzinho becoming the only player to have scored in every match.

In the semi-finals, Italy beat West Germany 4-3 in the only match in World Cup history to produce five goals in extra time.

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West Germany 1974

Another host triumph as the Germans took the new FIFA World Cup for the first time in a tournament remembered for the arrival of "total football".

The Netherlands, with Johan Cruyff outstanding, beat Argentina 4-0 and a fading Brazil 2-0 but could not overcome West Germany in the final and went down 2-1, Gerd Mueller typically scoring the winner.

The Dutch took the lead in the second minute when Johan Neeskens scored from a penalty without a German player having touched the ball from kickoff.

The Germans, who had become European champions in 1972, were a class apart from the rest though, with Sepp Maier in goal, Berti Vogts and Paul Breitner in defence, marshalled by the imperious Franz Beckenbauer and with Mueller up front.

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Argentina 1978

Hysterical support and tickertape welcomes for the home team in a tournament played under a military dictatorship helped carry Argentina to victory over the Netherlands in the final.

Argentina were outplayed by Italy in the opening-round group games, but charged back to reach the final with a 6-0 win over Peru, a result which aroused suspicions.

The match kicked off after Brazil had played Poland in the same group, so Argentina knew exactly what they had to do to reach the final -- and so did Peru.

In Daniel Passarella, Osvaldo Ardiles and Mario Kempes, top scorer with six goals, Argentina had outstanding players.

It was the misfortune of the Dutch to face the host nation in the final for the second successive tournament, although they forced Argentina into extra time before losing 3-1.

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Spain 1982

The first 24-team World Cup had some outstanding matches and gave the world its first real look at the devilled genius of Diego Maradona.

Italy survived the opening round on goal difference and went on to win their third trophy after beating Brazil 3-2 in an astonishing second-phase match when a Paolo Rossi hat-trick saw off a team featuring Zico, Socrates, Falcao and Eder.

Maradona scored twice in a 4-1 group stage win over Hungary, who had set a World Cup record 10-1 victory over El Salvador in their previous match. He showed the other side of his character when he was sent off against Brazil in the second phase.

Italy beat West Germany 3-1 in the final with Rossi finishing top