Uruguayan Alcides Ghiggia, scorer of one of the most famous goals in football history, passed away on Thursday aged 88.
In 1950 Ghiggia scored the match-winner against Brazil sealing La Celeste’s second FIFA World Cup™ to the despair of a world record 200,000 crowd in Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana stadium.
Considered an unthinkable result to an expectant Brazilian population, the history making match became known as the Maracanazo.
Brazil, who just needed a draw to secure their maiden World Cup crown, opened the scoring just after half-time through Friaca. However, Juan Schiaffino equalised for Uruguay midway through the second half, before Ghiggia netted from an unlikely angle 11 minutes from time.
Only three people have ever silenced 200,000 people at the Maracana with a single gesture: Frank Sinatra, Pope John Paul II, and I.
Uruguay’s Alcides Ghiggia on his famous goal at the 1950 FIFA World Cup
“Only three people have ever silenced 200,000 people at the Maracana with a single gesture: Frank Sinatra, Pope John Paul II, and I,” Ghiggia once famously said. “I have never seen people as sad as the Brazilians were after that defeat. It made you shudder. The biggest moment of my life was at the Maracana.”
Poignantly, Ghiggia’s passing came 65 years to the day since that famous result in Rio. He was the last survivor to have played in the match.
Ghiggia, who scored four goals at the 1950 World Cup, commenced his professional career with Montevideo giants Penarol. Ghiggia later played in Italy with Roma and AC Milan and as a result of his Italian roots also represented Italy, before returning home and concluding a decorated 20-year career with Danubio.