Thursday, June 16, 2011

16 June 1950 - The Sistine Chapel Of Football

On 16 June 1950, an all-star match inaugurated the new Municipal Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. Now known as the Maracanã, it is one of the most famous football venues in the world.

The stadium was built for the 1950 World Cup with a capacity of just under 200,000, making it was one of the world's largest stadiums at the time. Construction began in 1948 was not fully completed for the opening match--the stadium still lacked toilets and showed signs of ongoing work. Nevertheless, a group of Rio de Janeiro All-Stars defeated a group of São Paulo All-Stars 3-1, with Fluminense midfielder Valdir "Didi" Pereira scoring the first goal for the home side.

The stadium's most famous match, nicknamed the "Maracanazo," came in the 1950 World Cup, as Uruguay upset Brazil to claim the trophy. It was also the place where Pelé scored "O Milésimo," his 1,000th career goal, in 1969.

Since then, it has hosted matches for Rio's four prominent clubs, Vasco da Gama, Botafogo, Flamengo, and Fluminense. In 1966, it was renamed the Estadio Jornálista Mário Filho, after a local journalist who championed the stadium's construction. But it is still known as the Maracanã, after a local river which, in turn, is named after a type of parrot common to the area.

In 2014, the World Cup will return to the Maracanã, which is scheduled to host the Final.


  1. Hello Brian,
    First of all, I want to compliment you for the wonderful blog you have.
    It´s so complete, so well written and yet its so fresh and light, a must read for a football lover, that loves the history of the game like me.
    Apart from that, It's also a great working tool, that I use and "abuse" almost in a daily basis in my researches in the field of Football history.

    Saying all that, I just wanted to correct to two things in this text about the Maracanã.
    It's not true that Maracanã will be the first stadium to host two World Cup Finals.
    And it's not true by two reasons:

    1. The Azteca Stadium in Mexico city held the finals in 1970 and 1986

    2. In 1950 the world cup didn't had a final, you (like I and many, may consider the game between Uruguay and Brazil the final, but in fact, as we well know, that was the last game of the final round between 4 teams. That's why Spain only reached the first World Cup semi-final in 2010, though it was present in that final four in 1950.

    So technically the game between Uruguay and Brazil it's not a final and must not be considered as one.

    With my Best Regards
    Pedro Silveira
    (Porto, Portugal)

  2. Pedro -

    Thanks very much for the kind words and the corrections to the post. You are absolutely right on both points, so I have edited the post accordingly.

    It's always a pleasure for me to know that people are reading and enjoying the blog, so I hope that you will continue to do both. And please also let me know if you see any other mistakes--it is important to me that the blog be as accurate as possible, but I sometimes let errors slip through, as you have seen.

    Thanks again!