15 Days to go: Varela leads Uruguay to World Cup win over Brazil in 1950 (Looking Back)

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Bogota, May 30 (IANS) On July 16, 1950, Uruguay beat Brazil in the World Cup final played at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro before more than 170,000 spectators.

The “Maracanazo,” as the game is known, fulfilled a phrase uttered by Uruguayan captain Obdulio Varela: “Done, only if we’re champions…”

It was 1950 and the world had been at peace for five years after the end of World War II. The FIFA World Cup returned after 12 years, the last championship having been contested in France in 1938, and the organizing committee chose Brazil as the organizing country on July 25, 1946, reports EFE news agency.

Thirteen countries competed, noteworthy among which was Uruguay, whose team had been absent from the previous two World Cups, while England made its debut after the British federations returned to the FIFA.

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It was a World Cup unique in its format and was the only one that didn’t have a typical final. In the first round the 13 participating teams were divided into four groups, all against all, and the champions of each group (Brazil, Spain, Sweden and Uruguay) fought a four-team matchup under the same system, from which emerged the champion.

In the 47th minute, Friaca scored for Brazil and the madness took over Maracana Stadium, but then the unthinkable happened, and with goals by Pepe Schiaffino at minute 65 and another by Alcides Ghiggia at minute 79, Uruguay took the lead and went on to win its second World Cup on that July 16, day of the “Maracanazo.”

–IANS

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