The war is over and we have a game to play

The day is Thursday 29th June 1950 and a game of football is taking place.  It’s not quite like the games that have been/are being played in Russia as I write.  This was the 1950 FIFA World Cup that was held in Brazil from 24th June to 16th July. It was the first World Cup since 1938 – the planned 1942 and 1946 competitions having been cancelled because of the World War.  The title was won by Uruguay who beat the hosts Brazil 2–1 in the deciding match of the four-team final group.  This was the only tournament not decided by a one-match final.

England had gone into the competition as one of the favourites and had beat Chile 2-0. They next lost 1-0 to Spain but there was no panic needed – next up were the USA, a team that had lost their last seven international matches by a combined score of USA 2 – Others 45.  It was not to be, though, and on this 29th June 1950 England lost 1-0 to the USA and were sent home from the competition. When the score had appeared in English morning newspapers, many thought it was a misprint and that it should really have been 10-0 to England!

The England team had had Bert Williams in goal; Alf Ramsey & John Aston at full-back; Billy Wright, Laurie Hughes & Jimmy Dickinson in mid-field and Wilf Mannion, Tom Finney, Jimmy Mullen, Stan Mortenson & Roy Bentley in the attack!

I remember my father – who was a pretty good player in his own right – being totally disgusted by the defeat. Let’s hope that the present team have got themselves through to the last 16 that starts tomorrow and are still in action when the final is played on Sunday 15th June 2018.



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