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June 12, 2014

Old Photos of the 1950 FIFA World Cup in Brazil

Almost 54 years after Brazil hosted its first ever World Cup, the country is doing it all again in 2014. We look back on the first tournament in Brazil in 1950 – a World Cup that should have been a crowning moment for Brazilian football, but ultimately ended in disappointment.

A major obstacle for FIFA proved to be organising the countries who would enter the tournament. Occupied Germany and Japan were both banned, while a number of countries from around the world pulled out of qualifying - citing reasons including travel costs to inexperience – though 15 teams from the Americas, Europe and Asia were eventually drawn into groups ahead of the competition. The England team (pictured), ready to make their World Cup debut, board a plane for Brazil. Action Images / Mirrorpix

The tournament began with hosts Brazil taking on Mexico in the opening fixture - a comfortable 4-0 win for the Seleção. Striker Ademir scored twice, the first of the eight goals that eventually won him the tournament’s Golden Boot award. Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

Reigning champions Italy had never suffered defeat at the World Cup, winning the previous two tournaments without losing a match (they did not take part in the 1930 World Cup). However, the Azzurri – weakened by the loss of several players in the 1939 Superga air disaster – lost 3-2 in a shock defeat to eventual Group 3 winners Sweden in their opening fixture. AP Photo

The surprises in Brazil would continue, as the US completed one of the most shocking victories in World Cup history by defeating England in their second group stage fixture. The star-studded England team had defeated Chile by two goals in their opening encounter and were heavy favourites against a US side containing several semi-professional players, which had had slipped to a 3-1 to Spain four days earlier. However, the match did not go according to form, as Joe Gaetjens – pictured being carried from the pitch after the game – headed the winning goal for the US in the first half to set up a victory later dubbed “The Miracle on Grass”. AP Photo

The hosts had been held to a 2-2 draw in their second match, but secured first place in Group 1 and progression to the second group stage with a 2-0 defeat of Yugoslavia in front of a crowd of 142,000 at the Maracanã. dpa/Corbis

Before the start of the tournament, France withdrew from Group 4, leaving remaining teams Uruguay and Bolivia to play in the pool’s only fixture. The Uruguayans – playing in their first World Cup since their victory in 1930 - won 8-0, thanks in part to striker Óscar Míguez’s hat trick, and progressed to the second group stage. AP Photo

England could not recover from their shock defeat to the US, and lost 1-0 to Spain thanks to Telmo Zarra’s goal. Spain finished top of Group 2 and progressed to the second group stage. AP Photo

The four winners of each group then met in a final group, the winner of which would be crowned world champions. Brazil topped the table on four points going into the final round of fixtures, after heavy 7-1 and 6-1 defeats of Sweden (pictured) and Spain respectively. A point behind were Uruguay, who snatched a 3-2 victory over Sweden with two goals in the last 13 minutes to move into second with one game remaining. STAFF/AFP/Getty Images

On the same day as the Brazil-Uruguay fixture, Sweden faced Spain to decide the rest of the group. Despite beginning the game bottom of the table, Sweden claimed third place with a comfortable 3-1 victory at the Estádio do Pacaembu in São Paulo. AP Photo

Meanwhile, in front of a reported crowd of over 200,000 – about 100 of whom were Uruguayan - Brazil prepared to take on Uruguay (pictured) at the Maracanã. The Seleção, top scorers in the tournament with 21 goals and playing in front of their own fans began the game as favourites and needed either a draw or a win to be crowned world champions. Only victory would allow Uruguay to lift the World Cup. AP Photo

They played like favourites too, attacking the Uruguayan goal throughout the first half and hitting with 17 shots without reward. Above, Brazilian forward Francisco Aramburu unsuccessfully shoots at goal. However, the host’s luck would change two minutes into the second period, when forward Friaça struck the ball low past the goalkeeper to open the scoring. AP Photo

Despite taking the lead, Brazil were unable to capitalise on their advantage. Uruguay captain Obdulio Varela had helped subside the crowd’s celebrations by wasting time arguing with the linesman following the opening goal, and his side were level on 66 minutes through Juan Alberto Schiaffino, who smashed Alcides Ghiggia’s cross high in to the top corner (pictured). Schirner Sportfoto Archive/Corbis

The equalising goal changed the state of the game, as suddenly Uruguay were on top. Unlike their opponents, they were able to add a crucial second goal too. With just 11 minutes left to play, Ghiggia counterattacked from wide with the ball, driving into the penalty area before squeezing the ball under a Brazil goalkeeper expecting the winger to cross. Uruguay would hold on, Ghiggia’s goal proving to be decisive in claiming his country’s second World Cup win and leaving both Brazil players and fans in stunned silence. AP Photo

Following the final whistle, there were reports of 169 cases of fans treated for hysteria after a completely unexpected Uruguayan victory. The organisers were left bewildered too: the gold medals they had prepared for Brazil team went unused, as did a purpose-written celebratory samba song. Captain and man-of-the-match Varela was awarded the World Cup trophy by Jules Rimet, FIFA president at that time, amidst a rush of policemen and journalists in the middle of the pitch (pictured). Schirner Sportfoto Archiv/dpa/Corbis

Victory also protected Uruguay’s unbeaten World Cup record, and ensured their players (pictured) would go down in Uruguayan football history. The repercussions for the Brazil team were much harsher: players were vilified and few ever played for their country again. The result did however give rise to Brazil’s now-famous yellow shirt, which replaced the white – considered to be unlucky - worn by the team in the final. Schirner Sportfoto Archive/dpa/Corbis

(via Howzit MSN Sport)


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