Brazil feature heavily in the history of football. From Pelé and Garrincha to Ronaldo and Neymar, their images are intertwined with glory.

From the colour and freedom of the fans that follow the Seleção with religious dedication to the free-flowing samba-inspired style of play that has characterised their consistent and continued success on the world stage, Brazil has always represented all that is good and great in the world game. However, on one particular Wednesday evening in Cardiff back in September 1991, Dean Saunders scored the goal that would earn Cymru their only ever victory over their illustrious opponents.

Having famously defeated world champions Germany in EURO qualifying at Cardiff Arms Park just three months before, Terry Yorath’s Cymru squad were full of confidence for the high-profile friendly. Manager Ernesto Paulo’s starting line-up included goalkeeper Taffarel, Cafu, Bebeto and captain Careca, while Yorath selected a side that included Mark Aizelwood, Andy Melville and Colin Pascoe. Meanwhile, Gavin Maguire would make his penultimate international appearance of his eight cap Cymru career when he replaced Kevin Ratcliffe in the final moments of the victory.

Although a sell-out crowd had witnessed the victory over Germany, only 20,000 fans returned to the Arms Park for this friendly. Scoring the only goal of the game in the second half, it would prove to be one of the defining moments of Saunders’ 75 appearances for his country which brought a return of 22 goals, with the strike against Brazil taking him to double figures in the colours of Cymru. Considered a team in transition at the time, Brazil would lift the World Cup in 1994, while Yorath’s side would fail to qualify with a heart-breaking defeat to Romania at the same stadium just two years later.

One of the most-famous fixtures between the two nations was the first meeting that took place in Sweden as a solitary goal from a teenage Pelé in the summer of 1958 brought Cymru’s World Cup dreams to an end at the quarter-final stage. Brazil claimed a further victories before the team played out a 1-1 draw at Ninian Park in 1983 with Bryan Flynn on target for Mike England’s side. However, three defeats have cemented the statistical advantage in favour of Brazil since that famous win in 1991, with Saunders’ strike remaining the last goal scored by Cymru against their celebrated opponents.

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