For all those that know about football (and I specify here once and for all that I mean the football played with a round ball also known as soccer in the US), Maracanazo might mean something. For me it means a lot and this blog is named after it as a living tribute to my father who so well has shared his passion for football with me since I was 5 or so (I am now 44).
My father grew up part of his life in Uruguay and happened to be there in 1950 when the World Cup was held in Brazil after 12 long years of interruption due to the Second World War. When I was a kid, my father actually made me believe he was in the Maracana stadium of Rio de Janeiro on the day of the final between Brazil and Uruguay. To this day we act as if it were a true story and it makes us both secretely enjoy the fantasy.
The reality was that my father was listening to the final on the radio as probably any other of the 3 million Uruguayans who could be next to one. Due to the round-robin system that had been decided for the second stage of this World Cup, the final game between the host Brazil and Uruguay only needed the former team to tie to win the Cup. Uruguay was in the obligation to win in front of a crowd of 210 000, the biggest ever to attend a football event. At half-time, the score was 0 – 0 and the Brazilian Prime Minister was already celebrating publicly with the crowd (not sure if this was true). Worse for Uruguay, 2 minutes into the 2nd half, Brazil scores meaning Uruguay had to score twice to win the championship. Then the unheard of happens. The Uruguayans led by their genius midfielder Juan Alberto Schiaffino score twice with the second goal just 11 minutes before the end of the game. The final score is 2 to 1 for Uruguay who win their 2nd World Cup after the first edition which they won at home in 1930. Imagine, this was the victory of a small country of 2.5 million people against their gigantic neighbor with a population at the time of 70 million. The result was a shock and became known as the Maracanazo which can be more or less translated as the Maracana blow.
Don’t get me wrong, I love everything Brazilian football stands for, its incredible talent, imagination and creativity. But what I admire even more is when the underdog wins it all. That is the magic of football, it happens rarely but it does happen.
This blog will try and share with you my absolute passion for the universal sport of football, its moments of drama, sadness, but also the incredible magic that a small round ball can bring about for millions of people around the globe.