Thursday, June 24, 2010

24 June 1950 - Brazil Throws A World Cup Party

On 24 June 1950, hosts Brazil opened the first World Cup in twelve years by pounding Mexico 4-0. It was the beginning of a tournament run that ended with Brazil in second place, their best finish to that point.

As the world recovered from the aftermath of World War II, FIFA had difficulty convincing many countries to participate. By the tournament's start, only thirteen teams showed up, including Italy, the defending champions from the last tournament, played in 1938. Brazil had finished in third place that year and had submitted a bid to host the 1942 World Cup before FIFA canceled it due to the war.

In that opening match, played before a crowd of 81,000 at the Maracan√£ in Rio, Brazilian striker Ademir Marques de Menezes opened and closed the scoring with goals in the 30th and 79th minutes. In between, midfielder Jair de Rosa Pinto added one in the 65th minute and striker Baltazar scored in the 71st. They completely dominated the Mexicans, who had not participated in a World Cup since the first one in 1934 where they lost all three of their matches.

Brazil proceeded to draw with Switzerland 2-2 and beat Yugoslavia 2-0 to finish at the top of their group. They advanced to the final group, where they defeated Sweden (7-1) and Spain (6-1) before losing to Uruguay (2-1) in the match that decided the title. Along the way, Ademir scored a total of eight goals to win the tournament's golden boot.

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