Speed Reads

Way Back When

Here's why Brazil has a 'Maracanazo' on its back

Sixty-four years ago, Brazil built its offering to the Football Gods. The three-tiered stadium, christened Maracana, was the largest of its kind in the world, offering up spots for more than 200,000 rapt fans to watch the host country run toward a seemingly pre-ordained victory.

Uruguay's team had other plans.

Brazil had marched through through the four-team mini-league finals, and the team only needed to draw in order to seal its national pride. Instead, Juan Schiaffino and Alcides Ghigghia each scored for Uruguay, carrying the underdogs to a 2-1 victory, still considered one of the biggest upsets in football history.

So shocking was the loss for Brazilians that it inspired a new Spanish noun, still used today when a foreign rival defeats one of the country's teams in the legendary stadium: Maracanazo.

Brazil enters today's World Cup kickoff in all-too-familiar territory. The team is a favorite to win, and the country is playing host to football's biggest tournament for the first time since that fateful 1950 match. Below, images from the upset, which most Brazilians would probably prefer remained lost to time. --Sarah Eberspacher