History of the World Cup Soccer Championships 1950 Brazil v. Uruguay Part 1

About the history of the 1950 World Cup Championships for soccer or football ending with Brazil v. Uruguay.


In 1950, World Cup co-founder Jules Rimet got the World Cup out from under his bed, where he had hidden it during the war. In honor of hosting the 1st competition since 1938, Brazil erected the largest stadium in the world in Rio de Janeiro. It was designed to hold 200,000 people but unfortunately not even the help of the army was able to ensure its completion by the time the crowds arrived.

Brazil, relatively untouched by the war, had raised its skill and its enthusiasm to new heights. Argentina once again withdrew in a huff, as did Czechoslovakia, Turkey, and France. Hungary and Russia were behind the Iron Curtain; Austria felt that its team wasn't ready; and Germany was barred as an aftermath of the war. But England, which had joined FIFA--the international football association--in 1946, was participating for the 1st time. Even so, a mere 13 teams vied for the honors.

Italy would have been a strong contender but for the 1949 air crash which killed 8 of the members of the national team. At the outset, England was highly considered, as was the Brazilian team, which was accompanied by a coach determined to instill his team with a new sense of discipline.

The competition went back to a pool system. The most dramatic game was England's match against the U.S. The American team was not the underdog--it was whatever comes "under" the underdog. And indeed, in the 1st half, the English dominated the play even though they did not manage a point. Then the U.S.'s Bahr shot, the English goalkeeper seemed ready to intercept routinely, but Gaetjens headed it out of his reach and into the goal. During the entire 2nd half the American defense held, and the upstart Colonial team had the slim but sweet victory of a 1-0 score.

The initial rounds led to a final pool, a format never used again. The competitors in the final pool were Uruguay, Brazil, Spain, and Sweden. Brazil, using a style which permitted individual virtuosity in the context of teamwork, crunched the tired Spaniards 6-1, and the Swedes 7-1. This gave them 4 points in the final pool match (2 per win). The Cup would go to the team with the most points.

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