New film about 1950 World Cup star
6 October ~ Some football defeats acquire a special status. They become a collective trauma that cannot be easily moved away from people's subconscious, even by the most glorious victories. Brazil have enjoyed an enviable number of the latter but neither Pelé, Romário and Ronaldo were able to erase the most famous defeat in the game's history: the 1950 Maracanazo. The home team that lost the 1950 World Cup fell in for unfair ostracism over the years.
With newspapers announcing Brazil's victory printed in advance, defeat was devastating. Few even considered that perhaps Uruguay did something to deserve their second Jules Rimet trophy, and the great Brazilian team were forever marked as responsible of a national tragedy.
The World Cup goes to Brazil again next summer, and a final will be played again at the mythical Maracanã 64 years later. A short film shown at the Brazilian Film Festival of London, Um Artilheiro No Meu Coração (A Top Goalscorer In My Heart), tries in some way to rehabilitate the star of the team that were so close to become world champions: Ademir.
Ademir Marques de Menezes was the main striker of that Seleção. Better known as Queixada (Jaw) because of his prominent jawbone, Ademir played for Sport Recife, Fluminense and Vasco da Gama throughout his career, scoring over 300 goals and winning six Rio state league championships.
In 1950, Brazil went into the World Cup as everyone's favourite. Ademir did not disappoint, scoring eight goals and setting a record at a single World Cup that no Brazilian player has been able to break since. When the day of the final match arrived, Brazil only needed a draw to become World Champions for the first time, but that day Brazil failed and lost 2-1 to Uruguay, their first defeat in the championship.
They say there was a deadly silence in Maracanã when the game ended. Winning the Golden Boot was only secondary to Ademir who, according to his widow in the film, had that game in mind until the day he died. His 32 goals in 39 caps, or his achievements with his clubs, didn't seem to matter: today, Brazilian youngsters barely know the striker, and whoever does just remembers him as "the guy who lost". Eventually, Pelé's Brazil would win their first World Cup eight years later, in Sweden, but that's a better known story. Antonio Mateo