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The 1950 FIFA World Cup, held in Brazilmarker from 24 June to 16 July, was the fourth FIFA World Cup, and the first staged in 12 years due to World War II. Brazil was chosen as the host country by FIFAmarker in July 1946. It was also the first tournament that the trophy itself would be referred to as the Jules Rimet Cup, to mark the 25th anniversary of Rimet's presidency of FIFA. It was won by Uruguay, who had won the inaugural competition in 1930, clinching the cup by beating the hosts Brazil 2-1 in the deciding match of the four-team final group (this was the only tournament not decided by a one-match final).


Because of World War II, the World Cup had not been staged since 1938; the planned World Cups of 1942 and 1946 were both cancelled. After the war, FIFA were keen to resurrect the competition as soon as possible, and they began making plans for a World Cup tournament to take place. In the aftermath of the war, much of Europe lay in ruins. As a result, FIFA had some difficulties finding a country interested in hosting the event, since many governments believed that the world scenario did not favour a sportive celebration, and also (more importantly) that the resources that would have to be put into organizing the World Cup could not be diverted from other more urgent fronts. For some time, the World Cup was at risk of not being held for sheer lack of interest from the international community, until Brazil presented a bid at the 1946 FIFA Congress, offering to host the event on condition that the tournament take place in 1950 (it was originally planned to take place in 1949). Brazil and Germany had been the leading bidders to host the cancelled 1942 World Cup; since both the 1934 and 1938 tournaments had been held in Europe, football historians generally agree that the 1942 event would most likely have been awarded to a South American host country. Brazil's new bid was very similar to the mooted 1942 bid and was quickly accepted.


Participating countries after 3 of the 16 qualifying countries withdrew.
Having secured a host nation, FIFA would still dedicate some time to persuading countries to send their national teams to compete. Italy was of particular interest: the Italians were the long-standing defending champions (winners in 1938), but the country was reconstructing from the end of World War II, and at first there was little to no interest from the country in participating. The Italians were finally persuaded to attend, although rumours have had it that FIFA had to cover all travelling expenses in order for Italy's national team to be able to come to Brazil and play.

With Italy and Austria, two successful pre-war teams had not been subject to international sanctions, while Japan, still under occupation, and occupied and partitioned Germany had not been permitted in time to compete or qualify. The French-occupied Saarland had been accepted by FIFA two weeks before the World Cup, several months before Germany's DFB was reinstated, while Soviet-occupied East Germany had not even founded a football association yet.

The Britishmarker nations were invited to take part, having rejoined FIFA four years earlier, after 17 years of self-imposed exile. It was decided to use the 1949-1950 British Home Championship as a qualifying group, with whoever finished first and second qualifying. England finished first and Scotland second, but the Scots withdrew as they were not British Champions.

Two other teams, Turkey and India, also withdrew after qualifying, with India refusing to go because FIFA would not allow the team to play barefoot. France and Portugal were invited as replacements but declined. Initially France agreed to play but they worked out that the venues for their two group matches were over 3,000 kilometres away from each other. The French told the Brazilians that they would stay at home unless the arrangements were changed. The Brazilian Federation refused and France withdrew. Therefore, even though 16 teams were originally going to participate, after the withdrawals only 13 teams were left to take part.


Originally, the tournament format would be that the 16 teams be divided into four first round groups (or "pools" as they were then called) of four teams, with the group winners advancing to a final group stage, playing in round-robin format to determine the winner. However, because only 13 teams competed, this left two first round groups with four teams, another with three teams, and the last group with only two teams. The draw took place in Rio de Janeiro, on 22 May 1950. In fact, the entire tournament was arranged in such a way that the four first round groups had no geographical basis. Hence, several teams were obliged to cover large distances to complete their program, although Brazil was allowed to play two of its three group matches in Rio de Janeiromarker while its other game was in (comparatively) nearby São Paulomarker.

A combined Great Britain team had recently beaten the rest of Europe 6-1 in an exhibition match and England went into the competition as one of the favourites. However, it was not to be, as they went crashing out in a shock 1-0 defeat by the United States (when the score appeared in English newspapers, many thought it was a misprint) which, combined with their 1-0 defeat by Spain, led to England being eliminated.

The final group stage involved the teams who won their groups: Brazil, Spain, Sweden, and 1930 FIFA World Cup champions Uruguay, who were making their first World Cup appearance since winning the inaugural tournament. The World Cup winner would be the team that managed to finish on top of this group. The final group's six matches were shared between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Brazil played all its final group matches at the Estádio do Maracanãmarker in Rio while the games that didn't involve the host nation were played in São Paulo. Brazil won their first two matches with a 7-1 thrashing of Sweden and 6-1 rout of Spain. Before the decisive match, Brazil was sitting on top of the final group and had one game left to play against Uruguay, in second and only a point behind. On July 16, before a huge home crowd of 199,954 (some estimated as 205,000) in the Estádio do Maracanã, the host nation only had to draw against Uruguay and the trophy would be theirs. After such crushing victories over Spain and Sweden, it looked certain they would take the title, especially as the home nation went ahead in the second minute of the second half, thanks to a goal from Friaça. However, Uruguay equalised and then with just over 11 minutes left to play, went ahead 2-1 when Alcides Ghiggia squeaked a goal past Moacyr Barbosa, and Uruguay was crowned World Cup champions for a second time. This stunning defeat surprised Brazil and is referred to as the Maracanazo.

The average attendance of nearly 61,000 per game, aided greatly by eight matches (including five featuring hosts Brazil) held in the newly-built Maracanã, set a record that would not be broken until 1994. Not counting the Maracanã matches, the average attendance was a still-impressive 37,500. However, the only venues that saw crowds comparable to or greater than those in recent World Cups were the Maracanã and São Paulo. Other venues saw considerably smaller crowds.


Six cities hosted the tournament:


For a list of all squads that appeared in the final tournament, see 1950 FIFA World Cup squads.

Match officials




First round

Group 1

Team Pld W D L GF GA Pts
3 2 1 0 8 2 5
3 2 0 1 7 3 4
3 1 1 1 4 6 3
3 0 0 3 2 10 0

Group 2

Team Pld W D L GF GA Pts
3 3 0 0 6 1 6
3 1 0 2 2 2 2
3 1 0 2 5 6 2
3 1 0 2 4 8 2

Group 3

Team Pld W D L GF GA Pts
2 1 1 0 5 4 3
2 1 0 1 4 3 2
2 0 1 1 2 4 1

Group 4

Team Pld W D L GF GA Pts
1 1 0 0 8 0 2
1 0 0 1 0 8 0

Final round

Team Pld W D L GF GA Pts
3 2 1 0 7 5 5
3 2 0 1 14 4 4
3 1 0 2 6 11 2
3 0 1 2 4 11 1



8 goals

5 goals

4 goals

3 goals

2 goals

1 goal


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