Wednesday 26 June 2019, 04:38

Brazil the perfect backdrop for prestigious competition

As befits a country that lives and breathes football, Brazil is gearing up to host another major FIFA tournament, a role it has become increasingly accustomed to – especially in recent years. Coincidentally in the same year that it stages the prestigious Copa America, the South American behemoth will organise the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2019.

It will be the first time that this tournament, in which the future stars of football often make their debuts on the world stage, will take place in Brazil between 26 October and 17 November. takes a look back at the other occasions when Brazil hosted FIFA’s global tournaments.

1950 FIFA World Cup Brasil™

The first World Cup to be staged in Brazil and only the second in South America was played in Rio de Janeiro, Curitiba, Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Porto Alegre and Recife. It produced one of the most affecting moments in the event’s history: the Maracanazo, the final game of that edition in which Uruguay defeated the hosts 2-1 to shatter the dreams of millions of Brazilians.

That championship was unique in many ways, employing a never-repeated format in which the winner was decided via a four-team final group phase. It was this detail that made Uruguay’s triumph all the more special, as even a draw for Brazil would have seen the hosts crowned world champions.

2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™

The World Cup returned to South America after a 36 year absence – Argentina 1978 having been the previous occasion – to deliver a stunning spectacle across 12 host cities witnessed by almost 3.5 million fans at the stadiums.

From the outset, the tournament engendered a popular sentiment that the time had come to make amends for 1950. Alas, it was not to be for the Verdeamarela, who crashed out in the semi-finals to Germany in a match that will live long in the memory. The European side would go on to lift the title with victory over Argentina in the Final, proving themselves to be worthy champions with some very impressive tournament stats.

The 171 goals scored across its 64 games, the joint highest in the competition’s history along with France 1998, were a measure of the success of this World Cup, which had a TV audience of 3.2 billion fans. The impact of new technology on viewing habits was also noteworthy, with 280 million fans watching games online via a mobile device.

Olympic Football Tournaments Rio 2016

Football was proud to be part of the global sporting extravaganza that is the Olympic Games when it was staged for the first time in South America. And while most eyes were on Rio de Janeiro, the Men’s and Women’s Football Tournaments also staged matches in Brasilia, Belo Horizonte, Manaus, Salvador and Sao Paulo, attracting more than one million fans to the stadiums.

For the hosts, the Men’s tournament could not have gone better, with the side captained by Neymar giving the country their first Olympic footballing gold and going someway to atoning for the World Cup defeats on home soils.

In the women’s section, Germany rounded off a fine tournament with victory over Sweden in the Gold Medal match to claim what was also their maiden Olympic title.

Brazil lay Olympic ghosts to rest