WORLD CUP: History—1950

World War II was still fresh in the memory for the 1950 finals. Europe, devastated by the fighting, was licking its wounds while Asia was enveloped in new conflicts in Indochina.

After an enforced break of 12 years, South America, left relatively unscathed by the

War, was chosen to host the 1950 event, with Brazil welcoming the continent’s first tournament since the inaugural one in 1930 in Uruguay.

Brazil immediately set about building the 200,000-capacity Maracana Stadium in Rio, while England prepared for their first World Cup appearance. It wasn’t a success.

Humiliation came in the form of an early exit after an shock 1-0 defeat to the United States.

The decisive match also provided a surprise as Uruguay surprised Brazil, who had thrashed Sweden 7-1 and Spain 6-1, before a world record crowd of 193,850 at the Maracana.

Albino Cardosa Friaca put Brazil ahead two minutes after half-time, but goals by Alcides Ghiggia and top scorer Juan Schi-affino maintained Uruguay’s unbeaten record and crowned them world champions for the second time.