SWC final dream realised
Estadio Maracana (AFP)
Rio de Janeiro - Joedir Sancho Belmonte had a ticket to attend the famous final game of the 1950 World Cup between Brazil and Uruguay, but didn't get to use it because he stayed home with his sick mother.
But he saved the unused ticket for 64 years.
And on Friday — in a swap with FIFA — he was given three tickets for the July 13 final at Rio's Maracana in exchange for the tiny, crumpled memorabilia he stashed away.
"I hope Brazil will be able to win this time," the 85-year-old Brazilian said.
"This is our revenge. I want to go see our revenge."
Brazil famously lost the 1950 game 2-1, which gave Uruguay the title and stands as the most disappointing moment in the history of Brazilian football.
Brazil won its record five titles after that, and on Saturday faces Chile in the second round.
Brazil is among the favorites this time with Argentina, Germany and the Netherlands.
Belmonte explained how he missed that historic match, with a crowd of about 200 000 jammed into the Maracana.
Today it holds about 74 000, depending on the configuration for the game.
"My mother was sick and I thought it would not be sensible on my part to go to a football match," said Belmonte, a resident of Rio de Janeiro.
"So I decided not go, and it was a good decision."
He said his mother died a few days later.
Jerome Valcke, FIFA's secretary general, said the game's ruling body received a letter a few months ago from Belmonte, who said he wanted to donate the faded ticket.
Valcke said the ticket would go into a museum in downtown Zurich that is to open in 2015.
"This is something rare we would like to have for the museum," Valcke said.
Valcke held the tiny 1950 version up against the current FIFA ticket, a large, stiff orange and white card with an electronic chip buried inside.
"Here is the ticket from 1950," Valcke said.
"There was not much of a security chip in it."