Episode 6 - Rio
A country with football fever
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Episode 6 - Brazil

Always the favourite


National flag of Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: the 2014 capital of football

Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo are the epicentres of Brazilian football. Four clubs in the top league come from Rio, including the legendary arch rivals Flamengo and Fluminense. A total of seven World Cup games, including the final, will take place in Rio.

samba school

At samba school

The rhythm you have to move to. When you see the Brazilian players dance with the ball, you have to ask yourself: When samba is in your blood, is it a form of musical doping?

Favelas of Rio

The favelas of Rio

There is a deep social divide in Rio between rich and poor: Hundreds of thousands of inhabitants live in huge favelas on the edge of legality. This divide is also reflected in the rivalry between local clubs Flamengo and Fluminense. Flamengo’s fan base is predominantly made up of residents of the poor quarters and favelas, while Fluminense is the club of the middle and upper classes.

Baile-Funk Party

Baile-Funk Party

Baile-Funk is the sound of the favelas, a variety of hip-hop mixed with Brazilian percussion rhythms. Hard, fast and easy to dance to. On the “Cuadras”, the football pitches of the favelas, people dance the night away – even the Europeans with two left feet.

Car ball

Your foot always on the gas: Car ball

Following the triumphant World Cup victory of 1970, football mania in Brazil knew no bounds. From that moment, people started playing football at full throttle and even participated in car ball. But the hype only lasted until 1978, when they remembered that football doesn’t need any metal.

Legends, stories and history

Record-breaking world champions with a traumatic past

Brazil always goes into this tournament as the favourite. Brazil has won the World Cup five times. Brazil is constantly churning out world-renowned players. Brazil has Pelé. Despite all of this, and difficult as it is to believe, Brazil has suffered football trauma. Ever since 1950, the world’s greatest football nation has been carrying a huge thorn in its side, and in the last 64 years no triumph has ever been able to yank it out. Let’s look back to 1950.

Football world cup 1950

Maracanaço – the shock of Maracanã

The fourth football World Cup took place in Brazil in 1950. It was the first and last World Cup decided by a final round with the four group winners, rather than with knock out rounds. The last match would be the decider.
On 16 July, Brazil met its small neighbour, Uruguay. Brazil had crushed Sweden and Spain with 7:1 and 6:1 victories, whereas Uruguay hadn’t done quite so well with a draw against Spain and a lucky late victory against Sweden. Therefore a draw would be enough for Brazil to become world champions.
Everyone was in agreement: The result was a foregone conclusion – in the bag, cut and dried, A-OK!
FIFA President Jules Rimet had a speech written in Portuguese in his pocket, to congratulate the sure-fire winners. The next day’s newspapers had already been printed. The whole country had been celebrating since the early hours.
But eleven minutes before the match ended, the Maracanã Stadium, the biggest stadium in the world at the time, built especially for the World Cup as a monument to the triumph, transformed into a stage for tragedy: Alcides Ghiggia got past his opponent and struck the ball into the back of the Brazilian net for a 2:1 final score for Uruguay. Uruguay were World Cup champions and, for Brazil, the whole world fell apart.
The horror, the sorrow and the shame were so great that the tens of thousands of fans watching in the stadium remained there for hours, in silence or crying. The Brazilians subsequently changed the colour of their strip from white and blue to yellow and blue, as if they wanted to symbolically wipe away the shame. And a new phrase was born, one that every Brazilian child knows to this day: Maracanaço – the shock of Maracanã.

maracanã stadium

The chance to redeem themselves

After the fateful World Cup of 1950, Brazil is hosting the tournament for the second time this year, and the question remains: Will Brazil manage to erase the humiliation of Maracanã and free themselves from that trauma? Or will the trauma make them nervous? Will Brazil flounder?
Brazil and Uruguay have only met twice in the World Cup finals, with a more even balance sheet: In the second encounter in the 1970 semi final, Brazil beat Uruguay 3:1. This year the earliest opportunity for them to meet in a match is theoretically the quarter final.
The atmosphere in the country is extremely confident and very few Brazilians doubt that the Seleção will win their sixth World Cup title in their own country, in the Maracanã Stadium, turning the trauma into a triumph.

Carlos Alberto

Led Brazil to
victory in 1970


  • Born on 17.07.1944 (69 years old)

  • Defence

  • World champion in 1970

  • 53 international appearances for Brazil (8 goals)

  • One of six official ambassadors for the 2014 World Cup.

The man who scores perfect goals.

The man who scores perfect goals.
Born in Rio de Janeiro, Carlos Alberto Torres played professionally for 19 years, won various club titles, spent 13 years on the Brazilian national team and was active as a coach for more than 20 years after retiring as a player. There’s not much else to achieve, right? But there is. For Carlos Alberto didn’t just become a world champion with Seleção in 1970: The team is now regarded as the best football team in history and their captain was...? Correct, Carlos Alberto, which also made him Pelé’s boss so to speak. Not bad. But it gets even better. On June 21st 1970 he topped off his career in the World Cup final against Italy with a goal that led to a 4:1 final score and that was seen by many as the perfect goal. Perhaps, 44 years later, it’s time for a player to score a new perfect goal. A whole country of football fanatics hopes it will be scored by a Brazilian in the final.

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Carlos Alberto Torres Carlos Alberto Torres
2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ - News