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The Day a Dish Washer from New York USA Knocked England out of the 1950 F.I.F.A World Cup

Bob Foster FIFA football soccer World Cup 1950

By the time the 1950s rolled around, the world had already stopped destroying itself. England had re-joined F.I.F.A. along with all the other home associations, so the Home International Championship took on a more significant meaning: it became a qualifying group for the final stages of the 1950 World Cup in Brazil. But Scotland let it be known from the start that they would go to Brazil only as British champions. That did not happen, so they stayed at home. England went alone. There were those who thought 1950 was a little too early to start the competition again. Certain nations had not recovered from the devastations of war. And others were re-covering but slowly (if at all) from the political consequences of the years 1939-45. Russia didn’t enter. We had seen one glimpse of Russian soccer in that interesting tour of Moscow Dynamo in 1945. But then the Russians disappeared. The Hungarians too withdrew. No doubt to build the wonder team which was soon to shock Europe. Czechoslovakia was in turmoil. Austria did not think her team good enough and Argentina had been rowing with Brazil for so long that nobody really expected them to support a world competition in that country.

The England team that travelled to Brazil under Walter Winterbottom's direction had some intriguing players. A full-back named Alf Ramsey was present. Billy Wright was there. So was Tom Finney. Stan Mortensen, Wilf Mannion, and Jimmy Mullen. And a wingman named Stanley Matthews. English hopes were high. After all, football was a British game. The football played abroad was hardly more than a pleasure. They had several players who could play around a bit. However, no one was able to shoot or head the ball. England's inclusion in a group alongside Chile, Spain, and the United States of America resulted in satisfied smiles among officials and fans. They were about to be eliminated. England's first game provided little insight into what was to come. The match occurred against Chile at Rio de Janeiro's Maracana Stadium. A massive 200.000-capacity stadium had been built specifically for the competition. It was never truly completed before the final day. It also went into decay for quite some time. England easily defeated Chile with a score of 2-0 because to favourable weather conditions. England were on their way to confirming what England had always believed: that England was the sole football country in the world. The following step was a satire match versus the United States of America in Belo Horizonte, a mining town. It now has a stunning and expansive stadium. However, back then, there was only a small, constricted field. The American side was a mixed bag. Eddie Mcllvenny, a Scot, had previously played for Wrexham in the Football League. However, he failed and emigrated after being offered a free move. There were other immigrants from Belgium, Haiti, Spain and all points north, south, east and west. Not even the Americans expected anything but a heavy thrashing to go with the 3-1 defeat they had suffered at the hands of Spain earlier in the competition.

The 1950 World Cup marked the end of England's interest. There was one more match against Spain, and England made five changes, including the addition of Stanley Matthews to the line-up. However, it proved to be ineffective. Spain triumphed 1-0, and England were eliminated. Furthermore, everyone, including players, officials, and journalists, returned home. A contest lacking England held no further appeal. We didn't prioritise education at that time.

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