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by Romel Hernández, AARP VIVA, July 2009
The great soccer games evoke emotions that endure years after the final whistle. So it comes as no surprise that when sportscaster Jorge Ramos—AARP’s Hispanic Ambassador—was asked to name his favorite World Cup fan moment, he reached back to a game played nearly 60 years ago: the classic “Maracanazo.”
Ramos calls it “the most incredible moment in the history of soccer for the fan.” He has heard the story told many, many times by his Uruguayan family and friends.
The match was the championship game of the 1950 World Cup, pitting heavy favorites Brazil versus Uruguay before 200,000 screaming home fans at the Maracaná stadium in Rio de Janeiro. No one believed Uruguay stood a chance of winning, and when Brazil went ahead 1-0 the outcome seemed assured; just a tie would earn them the title. But then the underdogs, inspired by team captain Obdulio Varela, stormed back to win in an upset by a score of 2-1.
“All Uruguayans went crazy, even those of us who weren’t born yet,” says Ramos. Brazil, however, fell into a national funk after the defeat; there were even reports of fan suicides.
Uruguay hasn’t won the World Cup since, but the Maracanazo remains a cherished memory for that country’s fans—even those who, like Ramos, still had to wait a few years to be born.
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