Brazil last hosted the World Cup in 1950 when Uruguay shocked their neighbours by winning the final at the Maracana in a game that still haunts the natives. Now Puma, kit suppliers to ‘Los Charrúas,’ have sent the Ghost of 1950 to Rio de Janeiro ahead of next summer’s competition.
Five of the host’s matches at the 1950 tournament were played at the Maracana, including the final where they were defeated 2-1 by Uruguay in front of an official attendance of 174,000. The actual figure was said to be well over 200,000 and at the time, the Maracana was the biggest stadium in the world, surpassing Hampden Park in Glasgow.
With the latter stages of the tournament played on a group basis, the Selecáo only required a draw in the final to become World Champions on home soil. Brazil took the lead through Friaca but Uruguay came storming back. Juan Schiaffino equalised before Alcides Ghiggia scored with just 11 minutes to go to stun the home crowd and clinch the trophy The game would come to be known in Brazilian footballing folklore as the Maracanazo – the Maracana blow.
Decades later Ghiggia remarked:
“Only three people in history have managed to silence the Maracana, the Pope, Frank Sinatra and me.”
Luis Suarez and co will be hoping that history can repeat itself next summer.