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Brazil 1950

2010-05-04 14:11
Hosts: Brazil
Champions: Uruguay
Runners Up: Brazil

The 1950 FIFA World Cup, held in Brazil from 24 June to 16 July, was the fourth FIFA World Cup, and the first staged in 12 years due to World War II. Brazil was chosen as the host country by FIFA in July 1946. It was also the first tournament that the trophy itself would be referred to as the Jules Rimet Cup, to mark the 25th anniversary of Rimet's presidency of FIFA. It was won by Uruguay, who had won the inaugural competition in 1930, clinching the cup by beating the hosts Brazil 2–1 in the deciding match of the four-team final group (this was the only tournament not decided by a one-match final).

Originally, the tournament format would be that the 16 teams be divided into four first round groups (or "pools" as they were then called) of four teams, with the group winners advancing to a final group stage, playing in round-robin format to determine the winner. However, because only 13 teams competed, this left two first round groups with four teams, another with three teams, and the last group with only two teams. The draw took place in Rio de Janeiro, on 22 May 1950. In fact, the entire tournament was arranged in such a way that the four first round groups had no geographical basis. Hence, several teams were obliged to cover large distances to complete their program, although Brazil was allowed to play two of its three group matches in Rio de Janeiro while its other game was in (comparatively) nearby São Paulo.

A combined Great Britain team had recently beaten the rest of Europe 6-1 in an exhibition match and England went into the competition as one of the favourites. However, it was not to be, as they went crashing out in a shock 1-0 defeat by the United States (when the score appeared in English newspapers, many thought it was a misprint) which, combined with their 1-0 defeat by Spain, led to England being eliminated.

The final group stage involved the teams who won their groups: Brazil, Spain, Sweden, and 1930 FIFA World Cup champions Uruguay, who were making their first World Cup appearance since winning the inaugural tournament. The World Cup winner would be the team that managed to finish on top of this group. The final group's six matches were shared between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Brazil played all its final group matches at the Estádio do Maracanã in Rio while the games that didn't involve the host nation were played in São Paulo. Brazil won their first two matches with a 7-1 thrashing of Sweden and 6-1 rout of Spain. Before the decisive match, Brazil was sitting on top of the final group and had one game left to play against Uruguay, in second and only a point behind.

On July 16, before a huge home crowd of 199,954 (some estimated as 205,000) in the Estádio do Maracanã, the host nation only had to draw against Uruguay and the trophy would be theirs. After such crushing victories over Spain and Sweden, it looked certain they would take the title, especially as the home nation went ahead in the second minute of the second half, thanks to a goal from Friaça. However, Uruguay equalised and then with just over 11 minutes left to play, went ahead 2-1 when Alcides Ghiggia squeaked a goal past Moacyr Barbosa, and Uruguay was crowned World Cup champions for a second time. This stunning defeat surprised Brazil and is referred to as the Maracanazo.

Notable Facts
The average attendance of nearly 61,000 per game, aided greatly by eight matches (including five featuring hosts Brazil) held in the newly-built Maracanã, set a record that would not be broken until 1994.

Golden Boot
Ademir of Brazil, who scored 9 goals

The Brazilian National team lines up before going on to lose by 1 goal against Uruguay. (FIFA)
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