An episode related to Brazil national football team almost made Zico give up on his career. He made his international debut in the South American Qualifier to the 1972 Summer Olympics playing 5 matches and scoring the qualifying goal against Argentina. Despite this fact, he wasn’t called up to the Munich games. He felt extremely frustrated and told his father in dismay he wanted to stop playing football. He was even absent from training at Flamengo for 10 days, being later convinced otherwise by his brothers.
In the opening group match of the 1978 World Cup against Sweden, Zico headed a corner kick into the goal in the final minute of the match, apparently breaking a 1–1 tie. However, in a call that became infamous, the Welsh referee Clive Thomas disallowed the goal, saying that he had blown the whistle to end the match while the ball was still in the air from a corner. In the second round, he scored from a penalty in a 3–0 win over Peru. Zico eventually won a bronze medal with Brazil at the tournament, defeating Italy in the 3rd place final. Zico also won another bronze medal with Brazil in the 1979 Copa América.
The 1982 World Cup would see Zico as part of a fantastic squad, side by side with Falcão, Sócrates, Éder, Cerezo and Júnior. In spite of his 4 goals and the great amount of skill in that squad (Zico was involved in eight consecutive goals scored by Brazil), the team was defeated 3–2 by Paolo Rossi and Italy in the final match of the second round group stage.
He played in the 1986 FIFA World Cup while still injured and only appeared as a second-half substitute throughout the tournament; in the quarter-final match against France during regulation time, he helped Brazil win a penalty, but then missed his kick. The match ended in a tie which led to a shootout. Zico then scored his goal, but penalties missed by Sócrates and Júlio César saw Brazil knocked out of the tournament.
Having been cleared of all the tax evasion charges by Italian officials in 1988, Zico decided to pay a tribute to Udine, the city that had madly welcomed him six years before, and played his farewell match for the Seleção in March 1989 losing 1–2 to a World All-Stars team at Stadio Friuli.
- Full Name: Arthur Antunes Coimbra
- Position: Midfield
- Date of Birth: 03.03.1953
- Birthplace: Rio de Janeiro
- Nation: Brazil
- Full Caps: 71
- Major League Career
- 1971-83, Flamengo (212/123)
- 1983-85, Udinese (39/22)
- 1985-89, Flamengo (37/12)
- 1991-94, Kashima Antlers (46/35)
- More Facts
- Photo Gallery