History Repeats Itself: Brazil suffers another heartbreak on home soil
By Zack Goldman
The world’s most decorated football nation waited 64 years to erase a nightmare.
Instead, a worse one came.
It has been said it could never get as bad for Brazil as the Maracanazo, the nation’s famous loss to Uruguay in the 1950 World Cup Final in Rio.
That was carnival recast into funeral, when 400,000 horrified eyes looked on as a haunting blur of sky blue rendered their heavily-favored heroes powerless.
It was the unthinkable happening to the invincible.
It was like watching one’s own home being robbed during a party.
And, while the five World Cup triumphs that followed for the Seleção certainly displaced the prominence of that memory, it would be disingenuous to say that the historical mosaic of futebol in Brazil has altogether discarded that recurring fever dream of so many years ago.
Whether the goalkeeper Barbosa’s infamous blunder — which has long been blamed for the loss — was heard in the stadium or through staticky radio waves or via trembling voices or quivering hands or lines of print on a page years later, it is a story whose legacy lives on and that no Brazilian of any generation since has forgotten.
If anything, the Maracanazo's influence and significance is more alive this year, as the country hosts the World Cup for the first time since 1950, than at any moment in recent history.
Yet, while every Brazilian grew up hearing the legend, the vast majority of the country never knew anything of the taste, the smell, the sight of that kind of disappointment. After all, this is a nation that hadn’t lost a competitive match on home soil since 1975.