Monday, September 12, 2011


Between the Cup in 1938 and the Cup in 1950, there had been a World War. FIFA was headquartered in Paris and Jules Rimet knew that Adolf Hitler had still not forgotten the humiliation of the German team during the previous two World Cups. He also knew that Hitler wanted FIFA in Berlin. What did Rimet do? Both he and FIFA moved to Switzerland, where FIFA is today.

For obvious reasons, not a single European country wanted to host the Fourth Cup. Brazil was the only candidate and therefore they became the host. At the 1948 FIFA Congress in London, Brazil presented a different concept of the Cup, there would be four groups, each group with four national teams; in second round, everyone would play everyone else and a point score would be kept.

Thirty-three countries signed up for the qualifying matches. Brazil built the largest stadium in the world, Marcana. There, on July 16,1950, 200,000 spectators would be crying with joy.

One more important detail to mention. The Belgian Seeldrayers, together with vice president of FIFA, suggested that the World Cup trophy  be called the "Jules Rimet Cup", as a tribute to the man who had fought for soccer, for the World Cup, for the growth of FIFA, and for the competitive spirit. At this congress, the British Federation rejoined the FIFA. The USSR also became a member.

It was not easy to organize the 1950 Cup. The Argentinians claimed to be having problems with Brazilian soccer authorities, and they quit. Then there were Austria, Scotland, and Belgium. This traditional soccer powers would, without a doubt, be missed, as would Peru, Burma, India, Ecuador, the Philippines, and Turkey.

The reason for the absence of Scotland was also somewhat absurd. The Scottish team placed second in the British qualifying matches and the directors thought it would not be worth while going to Rio, even though two teams were supposed to qualify from their group. The English, going to what would be their first World Cup, came out on top in the group, and were considered better, or so the Scots thought. The countries behind then formidable Iron Curtain-Bulgarian, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Czechoslovakia-also absented themselves.

In organizing the qualifying matches, the organizers kept the geographic location of the countries in mind to avoid unnecessary travel.

Group1: England,Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. 2 countries qualify, Scotland declined to take part.
Group2 : Yugoslavia, France, and Israel. 1 country qualified, Yugoslavia.
Group3 : Belgium, Luxembourg, and Switzerland. The Swiss qualified.
Group4 : Ireland, Finland, and Sweden. The Swedes came.
Group5 : Spain and Portugal. The Spaniards qualified.
Group6 : Austria, Syria, and Turkey. No country would take part in the Finals.
Group7 : Cuba, United States, and Mexico. The last two qualified.
Group8 : Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay. Paraguay and Uruguay. qualified.
Group9 : Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile. Bolivia and Chile qualified.
Group10: Burma, India, and the Philippines. No one participated.

The European decided to make another attempt at completing the groups for the finals, and Portugal and France were selected, but Portugal yielded to France. France agreed to join what was to be group 4, together with Uruguay and Bolivia. France would play against Uruguay in Porto Alegre, Brazil , on June 25.

There were 13 national teams for the 1950 Cup in Brazil, 6 from Europe and 7 From the Americas, and they had been grouped.

The good news was that Italy , a 2 time Cup winner, Uruguay, the 1930 Cup winner, and England, inventors of the game, would be playing for the first time.

Brazil began well. The game against Mexico was easy, 4-0. Uruguay, beating Bolivia, 8-0. The Italians were surprised by Swedes in Sao Paulo's Stadium and lost, 3-2. In that same stadium Brazil also had some excitement tying with Switzerland, 2-2. Yugoslavia, after beating Switzerland 3-0 and Mexico 4-1, started to worry the Brazilians. All Yugoslavia needed in their next match against Brazil was a tie, Rio de Janeiro celebrated on July 1, 1950 when Brazil scored a goal before 150,000 spectators, at the time the greatest attendance ever for a soccer game. Marcana went wild. Ademir and Zizinho scored the goals and Brazil went on to the next round.

The Cup had some memorable moments. The most spectacular one was the defeat of England by the United States in Bleo Horizonte on June 29, 1950, in a game that will never be forgotten. The English had won against Chile. No one could believe iot when Larry Gaetjens scored the goal for the United States. The American team had an Italian goalie, Borghi, and 2 Portuguese on the offense, the Sousa brothers, as well as Belgian center, Maca. Alf Remsey, the English coach for the 1966 Cup, was there to witness the astounding upset that will remain forever in the annals of the World Cup. Another surprise was the elimination of Italy, who played in Sao Paulo, cheered ont by large Italian-Brazilian colony there. But it must be remembered the Turin air disaster in 1949 killed 8 Italian national team, creating insurmontable problems for the 2-time winners. Sweden played a great game against Italy  on June 25 at Pacaembu to put the Scandinavians into the next Final Pool round.

The Final Pool games began on July9. Brazil and Spain had already played 3 games, Sweden 2, and Uruguay only 1, against Bolivia. The opening games were Brazil against Sweden and Spaoin against Uruguay, at Marcana and Pacaembu stadiums. Brazil won 7-1, with 4 goals by Ademir. They play was a joy to behold, like choreographed dance, with Zizinho, Danilo, Jair, and Ademir running the show. The Uruguay-Spanish match, a poor one, ended in a tie, 2-2. Brazil chances were improving.

2nd Round 
2nd Final Pool games Brazil, beating spain 6-1 at Marcana. After a dull 1st half, with the score 2-1, Uruguay came out 3-2 winning against Sweden in their second game. Every Brazilian was sure that Brazil would be the next World Cup winner.

Brazil only needed a tie on July 16 in their final game against Uruguay to win the Fourth World Cup. Before crowd 200,000 the included Jules Rimet, Brazil scored to make it 1-0 thirteen minutes into the 1st half. Then the Italian-Uruguayan Schiaffino tied. The stadium became silent. It became silent even more when Gigghia scored another goal for Uruguay. Brazil, their stamina waning because they had celebrated their victory long into the night before, was unable to come back, and lost chance of becoming the World Cup winners for the first time. Saddened by what was a national tragedy for brazil, no one noticed Uruguay's Abdulio, Varela, Maspoli, Schiaffino, Gigghia, Miguez, Gambetta, and the others celebrating. There would be revenge, but much later.

The Cup was a financial success, having broken all spectators and tickets records. A total of 384,000,000 Swiss francs were collected. FIFA kept 125million, and after paying the expenses of the 13 participants, a good sum was still left over for the Brazilian soccer authorities.

Finally, the World Cup, interrupted by the World War, was back. Now, four Cups, there were two tittles for Europe, won by Italy, and two for South America, won by Uruguay.

Everybody knows the end. It was a great tragedy, which culminated with Brazil losing the title, which it took for granted beforehand and had erroneously celebrated.

9 Goals : Ademir de Menezes(Brazil)
6 Goals : Schiaffino(Uruguay)
5 Goals : Basora(Spain), Ghiggia(Uruguay), 
4 Goals : Chico(Brazil), Zarra(Spain)
3 Goals : Tomasevic(Yugoslavia), Palmer and Sundqvist(Sweden)
2 Goals : Baltazar, Jair, Zizinho(Brazil), Carapellese(Italy), Tchaikowski II(Yugoslavia), Andersson, Jeppsson(Sweden), Cremaschi(Chile), Fatton(Switzerland), and Perez(Uruguay)
1 Goals : Alfredo, Maneca, Friaca(Brazil), Prieto, Riera(Chile), Casarin, Ortiz(Mexico), Lopez, Jara(Paraguay), Mellberg(Sweden), Bader, Tamini(Switzerland), Igoa(Spain), Varela, Vidal(Uruguay), Gaetjens, Maca, J. Souza(United States)