SAO PAULO: Waldir Peres, goalkeeper of the memorable Brazilian team at the 1982 World Cup, has died aged 66.

Peres was taken ill while attending a birthday party in Mogi Mirim, in the state of Sao Paulo. He died on arrival at hospital.

Although he made his professional debut with Ponte Preta, Peres was an icon of Sao Paulo, where he played from 1973 to 1984. When they won the Brazilian national championship in 1977 he earned hero status in the penalty shootout.

Peres was a reserve goalkeeper in the Brazil squads at the 1974 and 1978 World Cups in Germany and Argentina respectively but was No1 choice in Spain in 1982. Famously, the Brazilian team which included the likes of Paulo Roberto Falcao, Zico and Socrates were knocked out after losing 3-2 to Italy in the second round group stage.

Later coach Tele Santana described his team as “moral winners of the World Cup.”

He also played for Corinthians, Guaraní, América de Rio de Janeiro, Portuguesa and Santa Cruz.

After retiring in 1991 Peres was briefly a coach at Sao Bento.