Brazil lost a football game to Uruguay 2-1 on July 16, 1950.
Brazil had lost to their South American neighbours before, and this time it wasn’t a terrible loss in terms of the score. There were 173,850 people in the stands at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana Stadium that day, and millions more tuned in on the radio. It was a heartbreaking event.
Before the game, everyone in Brazil was already in a good mood, ready to celebrate their first-ever FIFA World Cup win.
The World Cup that year was played in a round-robin style. But the match between Brazil and Uruguay was almost a final for Brazil because all they needed was a draw to win the prized title.
On that terrible day, Brazilians went to the Maracana to see their team get crowned. They were let down by a determined Uruguay team led by Obdulio Varela, who crushed their dreams.
The loss to Uruguay made the whole country sad, and the game and what happened afterward are known in sports legend as the “Maracanazo” (the Maracana blow).
On Sunday, there was a kind of reenactment of the Maracanazo in the world of sports, though it was a different sport.
After beating every team in the tournament, Rohit Sharma’s India marched their way to the final of the ICC World Cup 2023 and looked like they were going to win their third World Cup.
There was a lot going for the Indian team. The more experienced players in the batting order were hitting everything they could, and the younger players were making important efforts as well.In terms of bowling, their fast bowlers were dangerous in every game, and their spinners were a great mix of smarts and skills.
India’s return to the top of ODI cricket after 12 years was the right place to do it at the Narendra Modi ground, which is the world’s largest cricket ground. It would be a sign of India’s cricketing dominance both on and off the pitch.
In the final of the 2003 World Cup in South Africa, Australia had broken their hearts. Now they were going up against that team. The stage was set for them to treat the Aussies badly again 20 years later.
It was also a great chance for India to win their first big ICC prize in ten years and for cricket stars like Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli to add another feather to their already impressive caps.
The level of nationalism was through the roof, and a billion Indians were getting ready for parties that would last all night.
But Pat Cummins and his team had other ideas. They came to India with what was probably their worst World Cup team in recent memory.
The Aussies lost their first two games, against India and South Africa. But as the event came to a close, the Australian team also got back on track and set up a second match against India in Ahmedabad.
“The crowd’s obviously going to be very one-sided but, in sport there’s nothing more satisfying than hearing a big crowd go silent and that’s the aim for us tomorrow,” Cummins said on the day of the event. The Australia leader was also great in the final. He made the right choice when he won the toss and put India to bat first.
It looked like Cummins had everything worked out on the ground. Australia had a tight grip on the Indian innings and wouldn’t let go, even after Rohit made a big start.
The next inning, Travis Head hit one of the best in the history of the game, which quieted more than 100,000 devoted Indian fans.
India beat Australia in the World Cup final on November 19, 2023, at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. At the end of the game, fireworks go off. Picture: AFP
It was hard for everyone in the stadium to believe that their seemingly unbeatable team lost to Australia in a mostly one-sided game. The fans of the home team were feeling as sad as Brazilian fans were almost 75 years ago.
The result of the final ruined India’s picture-perfect World Cup, but it also lived up to the competition’s slogan.
Everything really does change in “one day.”