Uruguay prove their class again

Uruguay prove their class again

World War II had devastated many nations for six years and with it ensured a 12-year hiatus for the FIFA World Cup.

It was decided by the governing body that the 1950 edition would head back to South America and the Brazilians were tasked with opening their doors to the rest of the world.

A carnival-like atmosphere was expected but the after-effects of the devastating war left just 13 teams in the fray, grouped in a rather baffling manner.

There were two groups of four teams, one with three and the last featured just Uruguay and Bolivia (Uruguay beating their South American compatriots 8-0).

What made matters worse was the fact that the winners of each group would then play in a final pool format, with all of them pitting themselves against each other and the leader from the round-robin stage emerging champion.

The iconic Maracana, with a mind-boggling capacity of 200,000 and still nearing completion, was chosen to host the opening clash between Brazil and Mexico and the atmosphere was electric with the home side even receiving a 21-gun salute prior to kick-off. It was an expected result with Brazil blowing away their opponents with a 4-0 result.

Topping their groups were Brazil and Uruguay, expectedly, and the European pair of Sweden and Spain.

Former champions Uruguay were overshadowed in terms of flamboyance by a determined Brazil side that was thriving on the home advantage and delighting fans with goals aplenty.

Uruguay managed a 2-2 draw against Spain and a 3-2 victory over Sweden before their marquee clash with the Selecao, who thumped Sweden and Spain 7-1 and 6-1 respectively.

Brazil’s trick-filled trio of Ademir, Zizinho and Jair were running rings around the Uruguayan defence but to no avail.

Supporters were sent into absolute raptures just after the break as Friaca struck but one of the greatest upsets in World Cup history was to pan out on this day as Schiaffino and Ghiggia made sure the celebrations took place in Montevideo and not Rio de Janiero.