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I played in the 1978 and 1982 tournaments but couldn’t make it in 1986 because of an injury, although I played in all the qualifiers.

In 1978, we came very close to advancing to the final. But Argentina beat Peru, 6-0, to advance to the final. If Argentina had won with a three-goal difference or less, we would have gone to the final. Instead we went to the third-place playoff and beat Italy 2-1.

In 1982, it was a real pity we couldn’t win the tournament because we had a very good team and were playing an attractive attacking game. But we lost to Italy 3-2 in the second round — Paolo Rossi scored a hat trick — and failed to reach the semifinals. Italy played defensively while we attacked well and had many good chances. But we suffered on the counter-attack and lost.

Don’t I have any good memories of the World Cup? Well, if you don’t win the Cup, they can’t be good.

If I review the World Cups of the past, teams which have a solid defense have a better chance to win and such teams generally reach the final. Every team has at least two or three chances a game. How you make the most of these chances matters. On the other hand, technical skillful teams tend to tumble as Hungary, Holland and we did in 1982. France in the 1998 tournament had a good balance defensively and offensively, which is a rarity, so that they deserved the honor of being champion.

Cerezo is a former Brazil international who played for the nation’s 1978 and 1982 World Cup teams He is now manager of Kashima Antlers.

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