The team for the final match, against Uruguay (photo to the left):
Johnson and Mário Américo (masseurs); Barbosa (GK), Augusto, Danilo Alvim, Juvenal, Bauer, Ademir, Zizinho, Jair, Chico, Friaça and Bigode.
Subtitutes: Castilho (GK), Nena, Nilton Santos, Rui, Noronha, Alfredo, Adãozinho, Chico, Zizinho and Rodrigues.
Coach: Flavio Costa.
»Brazil 4 x 0 Mexico, in Rio de Janeiro.
»Brazil 2 x 2 Switzerland, in Sao Paulo.
»Brazil 2 x 0 Yugoslavia, in Rio de Janeiro.
»Brazil 7 x 1 Sweden, in Rio de Janeiro.
»Brazil 6 x 1 Spain, in Rio de Janeiro.
»Brazil 1 x 2 Uruguay, in Rio de Janeiro.
Qualification to the World Cup 195 was strange.
The 1950 World Cup was the first one after World War II.
Germany and Japan were banned from the Cup, because they were at war with the Allies (Brazil was sided with the Allies; FIFA, however, is head quartered in Switzerland, a neutral country); Italy was also at war with Brazil, but Italy was pre-qualified, for they were the then current World Cup Champions. England finally recognized FIFA as football authority and came to a World Cup for the first time; (only to be beaten by the USA team, in which is considered one of the most surprising results in the History of World Cups).
Most countries from Eastern Europe, such as Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland, simply declined from playing Qualifiers.
India and France earned a berth in Qualifiers, but eventually decided not to come to Brazil.
As a result, only thirteen countries participated of the World Cup finals.
Leônidas da Silva, Brazil's star in 1938, was still playing professionally, but he was twelve years older. The core of Brazil was the team of Vasco da Gama, which was known, at the time, as "Express of Victory" (from 1945 to 1950, Vasco won the Rio de Janeiro championship four times); seven players belonged to Vasco, among them Barbosa (considered, along with Gilmar, who was champion in 1958 and 1962, one of the best Brazilian goalkeepers of all time), the captain Augusto and the forward Ademir de Menezes, who would score nine goals to become the striker of the Cup.
If Vasco was the dominating force in Rio, São Paulo FC dominated in São Paulo. And São Paulo sent over a trio which until is acclaimed until today as one of the best ever in the History of the club: Rui, Bauer and Noronha.
Besides, Brazil still had Jair da Rosa Pinto, skin and refined, and Zizinho, who happens to be the declared idol of Pelé (Zizinho did not play the first two matches in the Cup only because he was recovering from an injury).
Unfortunately, the war in the 1940s prevented a generation of Brazilian players from having a deserving World exposure; this page of Museum of Sports (update: the site is down; original page is http://www.museudosesportes.com.br/noticia.php?id=1262) claims that in the 1940s, the Brazilian team had its best forward lineup of all times: Tesourinha, Zizinho, Heleno de Freitas, Jair da Rosa Pinto and Ademir de Menezes (Tesourinha was supposed to be in the Cup, but got injured and was dismissed).
The coach was Flávio Costa, also coach of Vasco. Flávio Costa was, at that time, the undisputed best coach in Brazil. He assumed the team in 1944, replacing Ademar Pimenta (coach of the team in 1938) and stayed in command until the match against Uruguay (see below). He was famous for imposing discipline and for his tactical capabilities.
A stadium was built to stage the Brazilian show. Not any stadium, but THE biggest stadium in the World: Maracanã, with capacity of 200,000 people.
So, everything was ready for the Brazilian team to confirm their superiority and become the World Champion in 1950; alas, dis aliter visum.
First match was against Mexico, in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil won easily by 4 x 0, two goals by Ademir, one by Baltazar and one by Jair.
The second game would be in São Paulo, against Switzerland. In an attempt to please the "paulistas" (people from Sao Paulo), who accused Flavio Costa of overprotecting the "cariocas" (people from Rio de Janeiro), Costa decided to put several paulistas into play. At once, he changed the midfield altogether to Bauer, Rui and Noronha; he also included Alfredo. Because of the lack of cohesion, Brazil only had a draw against Switzerland, by 2 x 2.
Because of this draw, the Yugoslavians, who had won the Mexicans and the Swiss, had an advantage in the next match. Only one team would proceed, and, in case of a tie, that would be Yugoslavia.
Flavio Costa knew he had to use all the best talent available. Zizinho would play for the first time. Despite the bad result in São Paulo, Bauer proved he was far better than Eli. Jair, who hadn't played in São Paulo, would be back, making a duo with Ademir. Brazil won by 2 x 0, goals by Ademir and Zizinho. Flavio Costa had found what he considered to be the ideal team: Danilo and Bauer protecting the defense, Jair and Zizinho feeding the forwarders, Ademir de Menezes scoring goals.
Four countries qualified to the next stage: Brazil, Uruguay, Spain (Spain beat England, which also lost the match against USA) and Sweden (which beat Italy). The four teams should play against each other, and the one with best performance would be the champion (because of such round-robin system, some say that the Cup of 1950 was the only one to not have an official final match).
Brazil won Sweden by 7 x 1, four goals by Ademir. Not that Sweden was bad, but Brazil had a nearly perfect performance.
The next match, against Spain, was considered the most difficult by the Brazilian media. It dates back to that epoch the nick "Furia Española" (Spanish Fury) of the Spanish team; their forward line, Bassora, Zarra and Gainza was considered the best in Europe; there were some concerns wether the Brazilian center-defense, Bigode, Augusto and Juvenal, could stop the Spaniards.
The match starts, and in 30 minutes Brazil scores 3 x 0. The entire team was playing greatly. In the end, Brazil scored 6 x 1, with two goals by Ademir, two by Chico, one by Jair and one by Zizinho. There was no more doubt that that team was invencible. Uruguay had managed a slim winning over Sweden by 3 x 2 and a draw with Spain, by 2 x 2. A draw in the last match, against Uruguay, would suffice to make Brazil champion; but nobody doubt that Brazil would win easily.
Friaça scores first Brazilian goal.
After the match against Spain, the Brazilian team stopped training. The team, which was staying in a quiet area in the (by then) isolated Barra da Tijuca, was obliged to show for interviews in the headquarters of Vasco da Gama. Everyone wanted to associate their names with the success of the team. The party to celebrate the winning over Uruguay had already been prepared.
Magazines also considered Brazil as champion; one of them used a photo trick to show the Brazilian players wearing banners with the inscription "1950 World Champions"; a rumour goes that Obdulio Varela, the Uruguayan captain, sent a copy of that photo to each Uruguayan player, in the eve of the final.
Ghigghia scores for Uruguay.
On July 16th 1950, the Maracanã was absolutely sold out. The official count was 173,850, but thousands of people entered on account of authority or friendship; it is estimated that nearly 200,000 were in Maracanã that day.
The first half finished 0 x 0, which was good enough for Brazil. At 2' of second half, Friaça scores for Brazil. The crowd goes crazy. It would be hard enough for Uruguay to score one goal; two goals seemed impossible.
Then, at 21', Schiaffino scores the first goal for Uruguay.
And at 34', Gighia dribled Bigode and scored the second goal. Probably, never ever, before or after that day, did a mass of 200,000 remained in such a quiet silence.
Brazil could not recover, Uruguay won and, for the second time, conquered the Soccer World Cup.
The Uruguay team: Maspoli (G), Gonzales, Moran, Tejera, Perez, Moraes, Andrade, Schiaffino, Varella, Gambetta and Gighia.
A brave team, with some excellent players. Four years later, several of these players helped Uruguay reach the semi-final of the 1954 World Cup.
Jules Rimet was caught in an embarassing situation. He was watching the game from the tribune. When the score was 1 x 0, he started going downstairs, memorizing some expressions in Portuguese, to hand the trophy to the Brazilian captain.
When time was to meet the winners, nobody of the Brazilian Federation wanted to lead Rimet until Obdulio Varela. Rimet had to walk into the pitch all by himself, find Varela and hand him the trophy.
The events of July 16th 1950 became known as Maracanazo (the word is of Spanish origin, rather tha Portuguese, and was coined by the Uruguayans).
Many said that the Brazilian team felt the pressure (in cruder words, the team cowarded).
There is a rumour that Obdulio Varella would have slapped the Brazilian defender Bigode; Bigode would have cowarded, and made things easier for Gighia in the second goal. Bigode and Obdulio themselves deny the story, but the fame of cowarded followed Bigode until he died.
Nobody was more stigmatized than Barbosa, the goalkeeper. Some say that he failed, but again the Uruguayans denied that. Barbosa played still many years with Vasco da Gama, and conquered many titles. However, he could never get rid of the image of "guilty of Maracanã". This paper, titled "Escaping Goat", analyses the possibility of Barbosa have been victim of racial bias. The story of that match will never be told without mentioning the name of Barbosa, one of the greatest Brazilian goalkeepers of all time. Barbosa died in 2000; late in his life, he declared:"Under Brazilian law the maximum sentence is 30 years. But my imprisonment has been for 50 years".
Champion in 1938, Italy was in possession of the Jules Rimet trophy in 1939, when the War started. Ottorino Barassi, President of the Italian Football Federation, fearing that the trophy would fall in hands of fascists of nazis, took the Jules Rimet to Switzerland, where it was safely guarded in FIFA's coffers (Rimet moved the headquarters from France to Switzerland, also fearing the Nazis) until the end of the war.
In the 1950, for the first time the jackets of players were numbered. However, each player could have different numbers in different matches (in all matches, players started with 1 - 11; substitutions during a match were not allowed until the Cup of 1970).