“Only 3 people have silenced the Maracanã: Frank Sinatra, the Pope and me,” the proud man revealed in an interview with Brazilian television explaining the golden moment he produced during the finals of 1950 World Cup.
Alcides Ghiggia, the hero of Uruguay’s legendary Maracanazo upset of Brazil in the final game of the 1950 World Cup, passed away on Thursday from a heart attack on the 65th anniversary of the triumph. He was 88. He was the lone survivor of the golden era of Uruguayan football, the team that shook the world at the historic Maracanã.
Ghiggia netted the winner against a heavily favored Brazil in La Celeste’s shock 2-1 victory. His goal, which came 11 minutes from regulation time, silenced 200,000 spectators at Rio de Janeiro’s famed Maracanã Stadium, shouting all ends to lift homeside. Brazil only needed to secure a draw to register their first World Cup triumph, and led at half time by a lone goal scored by Friaca. Juan Schiaffino equalized for Uruguay midway into the second half. The historic match became known as the Maracanazo.
“It was a beautiful what happened,” Ghiggia said. “It filled me with pride and was unforgettable. The biggest moment of my life was at the Maracana.”
Ghiggia scored all his four goals for Uruguay in the 1950 edition of the World Cup. He made 12 international appearances for Uruguay. Then the legendary star played for Italy in 1958 World Cup at Sweden, scoring once for the Azzurris. He commenced his professional career with Montevideo giants Penarol.
Oscar Tabarez, the current coach of Uruguay’s national team, said Ghiggia “meant a lot to Uruguayans.”
“It is impressive what that man did,” Tabarez said. “What he did in his life, his leadership and his personality.”
When he turned 80 he was honored by the Uruguayan congress, still a national hero half a century later. Enzo Francescoli, Diego Forlan. Uruguay has given birth to many great players since then, but none could match the glory achieved by Ghiggia and his teammates at Maracana 1950. Uruguay also won the first FIFA World Cup in 1930 in Argentina.