This round up of tales from World Cup history. Including why the Brazilians wear yellow, when they wore blue and other stories about our hosts. We find out who are the bad boys of the competition. How a 14 year old boy knocked Spain out of the World Cup. There’s what happened to a final goal scoring hero next and how close did England come to withdrawing after qualifying in the 1980‘s. We also discover why did Yugoslavia kicked off with only ten men and ask just who would be a manager. All figures are to the commencement of this years finals.
The Brazilian team used to play in white shirts. Then after the 1950 final defeat (1) The national press labeled the strip as cursed. The paper Correio da Manhã and the Brazilian FA organised a competition for its readers to design a national team kit in the colours of the Brazil flag. A 18-year-old writer and illustrator, Aldyr Garcia Schlee. from Rio, designed the now most famous kit in the world. A yellow shirt with green trim, blue shorts and white socks. It was first worn at the opening game in 1954 when they beat Mexico 5-0. The Brazilian’s have since won five world titles. The first however came when they wore blue! In the 1958 final they were due to play Sweden who also wore yellow. Lots were drawn and Brazil lost. The Brazilians went shopping and found a blue strip, the colour of ‘Our Lady of Aparecida,’ Brazil’s patron saint. The badges were transferred from the yellow strip and sown on the new kit. Since then they have used blue as their change strip.
Talking about our current hosts when Brazil played Argentina in 1974, it was the first time they had met in the World Cup...in 2002 they won all their seven World Cup matches and thereby set a new record….and became the only team since Argentina (1986) to win the trophy without needing to win a penalty shootout at some stage during the knockout phase…and set a new record for highest aggregate goal difference (+14) for a World Cup winner. …and in 2002 Ronaldo changed his hairstyle after the quarterfinals when his wife told him their young son kissed the TV screen shouting "daddy" when he saw Roberto Carlos…and in 1998 when they lost in the final 3-0 it was their heaviest defeat in World Cup history.
The bad boys at the final include Pedro Monzon in 1990 from Argentina who was the first player sent off in the final, after a foul on Jurgen Klinsmann…22 minutes later his teammate, Gustavo Dezotti was the second. …South Korea's Cha Doo-Ri was booked 20 seconds after coming on as a substitute during injury time in a match against Poland in 2002...Chile were banned from the 1994 tournament after their goalkeeper, Roberto Rojas, pretended to have been hit by firecrackers thrown by Brazilian fans in a successful bid to get a 1989 qualifier abandoned. FIFA subsequently used TV evidence to prove Rojas' deceit and Brazil were awarded a 2-0 win….Mexico were banned in 1990 from participating in the tournament after being found guilty of deliberately fielding overage players in an under-20 event…Iraq defender Samir Shaker Mahmoud was banned for a year in 1986 after spitting at the referee during his team's 2-1 loss to Belgium.. Germany's Stefan Effenberg was sent home by coach Berti Vogts after showing the finger to fans when substituted against South Korea in 2002...Robert Song of Cameroon became the first man in history to be sent off twice in the finals, once in 1994 and again in 1998... In 1994 - Gianluca Pagliuca of Italy became the first goalkeeper to be sent off in a World Cup Finals match, dismissed for handling outside his area against Norway.
Alcides Ghiggia, the scorer of the winning goal in the 1950 final (1). Played on for his national side for two years after that day, although he never scored again. In 1952 he moved to AS Roma and played for them for 8 years. In 1957 he became a naturalized Italian citizen. He was then chosen to play for the Italian national team and featured in the qualifying competition for the 1958 tournament for which they failed to qualify. He scored one goal in five games. When he was asked did he feel any divided loyalties he said “ It was difficult, but I was also very proud. Of course my Italian inheritance qualified me, but it was something very special for them to select someone who had been born and brought up in another country." He returned to Uruguay in 1963 and played for Danubio. When he retired from playing, he was, as his teams members were, given a government job. His was watching for cheats in Casino Montevideo. He later sold his World Cup medal, but the business man who bought it returned it to him. On his 80th birthday a stamp was issued with his picture and the wording 'Ghiggia moved us to tears.’
He remains a national hero, at the end of last year he was guest of honour at a home international and was driven around the pitch in a lap of honour. Ghiggia recently said he was one of only three people to ever quieten the Rio crowd, the only two are the Pope and Frank Sinatra.
Over 34 million fans have attended the 772 FIFA World Cup matches played since 1930, making for an average attendance of around 44,000 per game. However just 300 of them were at the Peru / Rumania game in 1950..the figures vary for the 1958 playoff game between Hungary and Wales. Whilst FIFA records the gate at 20,000 some sources say it was as low as 3,000. The reason is the day before the Hungarian Prime Minister at the time of the Russian invasion in 1956 had been executed and it was reported many stayed away to show their support for the Hungarian people.
Or who would be a manager …Tunisia sacked their coach Kasperczak after two games in 1998, but it made little difference….Bora Milutinovic coached at fifth successive finals with five different countries, Mexico (1986), Costa Rica (1990), USA (1994) Nigeria (1998) and the Brazilians in 2002.…while Argentina's Group meeting with Chile in 1930 matched up the two youngest coaches in finals history, Juan Jose Tramutola, 27, and 29-year-old Gyorgi Orth…Otto Rehhagel was 71 years old when he led Greece in 2010...
And Peru's 67-year-old coach Elba de Padua Lima, better known as Tim, had appeared in the World Cup 44 years earlier as a player for Brazil.
One of the stranger qualifying tales came in 1954. Spain beat Turkey 4-1 in Madrid in their showdown for a place at the finals. Turkey won the return leg 1-0 in Istanbul. At that time goal difference was not taken into account. So a play off match was arranged in Rome. Spain led 1-0 then Turkey led 2-1 before Spain made it 2-2 and the game entered extra time. There was no further goals and the penalty shootout was still in the future. A 14 year old boy, son of a stadium worker would draw lots to see which team would qualify and he picked out Turkey.
How close did three home nations come to withdrawing from the 1982 World Cup finals. It was certainly discussed at Cabinet level. The opening game of the 1982 competition was between Argentina and Belgium. The UK did not show this game on TV as at that time there was the Falkland Islands conflict in progress. It was felt watching Argentina win would not be good for the public. Imagine how stupid some people must of felt when Belgium won the game 1-0. There was talk of the three home nations competing boycotting the tournament. The government was worried that one of the problems might be fighting between fans. Even considering the possibility of the teams not meeting directly was low. Remember also that the competition in Spain came at a time that there was political pressure to return Gibraltar to Spain. Another point was that a withdrawal would be seen as a moral victory over the UK. Their had been political withdrawals at the Olympics held in USA and Russia. It was made clear that if the teams withdrew then FIFA would impose financial penalties. It was feared that the Scottish and Northern Ireland Football Associations could be bankrupted by this action.
And Finally --- 1950 - Yugoslavia's Rajko Mitic had his head badly gashed by an iron girder as he left the dressing room before the game against Brazil. The referee refused to delay the match, and Yugoslavia kicked off with 10 men
Notes - 1 - Flying Down to Rio- Flight 29,
Thanks to - FIFA, Planet World Cup, BBC, ESPN, The Times, - Top Pic - National Geographic.
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