Wednesday, 5 March 2014

5 Memorable Moments from South American World Cups

Once again we are proud to to say that Matthew Wassell is back in the Attic, and this time, with the World Cup in Brazil only 99 days away, he takes a look back at five memorable moments from previous tournaments hosted by South American countries.

1. The inaugural tournament (Uruguay 1930)

The first ever FIFA World cup was held in 1930 in the small country of Uruguay, partly due to their having retained their Olympic football title two years earlier. Only 13 teams made the journey, including just four from Europe (France, Belgium, Romania and Yugoslavia) competing against nine from the Americas. With all games being played in Montevideo, travelling within the country was at least kept to a minimum. Famously, the hosts would go on to win 4-2 in the Final against close rivals Argentina and become the first team to lift the trophy. Sadly though, they would lose their title four years later when refusing to participate in Italy in protest against the small number of European teams who had travelled to Uruguay in 1930.

2. The Battle of Santiago (Chile 1962)

In 1962, a particularly famous moment in British football TV history occurred when David Coleman introduced highlights of the first round match between the hosts Chile and challengers Italy with this description of what was to come:

“The most stupid, appalling, disgusting and disgraceful exhibition of football, possibly in the history of the game.”

He wasn’t wrong. Chile won 2-0 (the goals coming late in the second half) but Italy had two players sent off, the first after just 12 minutes for a kick to the head, and there were punches thrown and policy intervention on a semi regular basis throughout the match. It’s fair to say that the English referee, Ken Aston, had a tricky time of it! Chile would go on to finish third whilst Italy couldn’t get out of their first round group.

3. The World Cup without a Final (Brazil 1950)

In 1950, FIFA altered the tournament’s format replacing the traditional knock-out phase with that of a final round robin group stage. This meant that there was no final per se but Uruguay’s 2-1 victory over the hosts Brazil in the last match of the tournament, although a coincidence that the top two in the group would play each other last of all, can be seen as such. It was Uruguay’s second World Cup victory but the first time that the trophy was named the Jules Rimet Cup after the former president of FIFA.

4. Mario Kempes wins the Golden Boot (Argentina 1978)

The only foreign based member of the Argentinean squad (he was playing for Valencia at the time), Kempes won the Golden Boot award with two goals in the final against the Netherlands as Argentina lifted the trophy for the first time. After thirty eight minutes, Kempes scored his first, sliding the ball under the Dutch goalkeeper after bustling through the defence. The tickertape rained down and Argentina were in front. After the Netherlands equalised with just eight minutes to go, it would be down to Mario to win the game in extra time. Picking up the ball outside of the area, Kempes glided past two defenders and the goalkeeper before finally, via a couple of deflections, putting the ball in the net. The stadium went wild once more and shortly afterwards, Argentina had their coveted home victory.

5. Amarildo scores a goal for the ages (Brazil 1962)

Brazil were 1-0 down to Czechoslovakia in the 1962 Final when Amarildo took matters into his own hands and scored a classic goal that would be repeated in its black and white glory for years to come. Receiving the ball from a throw in, he jinked past two defenders to the left hand byline before firing a shot past the bemused Czech goalkeeper from a seemingly impossible angle. Brazil would go on to deservedly win 3-1 and capture their second world title.

I, for one, am looking forward to seeing a modern era South American World Cup. Can Messi lead Argentina to glory? Will Brazil win their sixth tournament? Will England get out of their group? There’s all to play for. Ultimately though, let’s hope that more magical moments are created for posterity and thus for the Football Attic to reflect upon in the years ahead…!

Huge thanks to Matthew for sharing his World Cup memories! If you'd like to share anything from your past (preferably football nostalgia related, we're not licensed therapists!), drop us a line and let us know to admin [at] thefootballattic [dot] com...

Other posts by Matthew Wassell:


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