Editor’s note: Perhaps the first – and most seismic – clash in World Cup history took place on June 29, 1950, when an England team due to contend for the title was defeated by the United States, a group of parties hastily assembled. time players. It became known as “Miracle on the Grass”. Six players on the team hailed from St. Louis, including goaltender Frank Borghi and Harry Keough. Here is the original report from that day.
BELO HORIZOXTE, Brazil, June 29, 1950 – The United States soccer team scored the most stunning upset of the 1950 World Championship tournament by beating mighty England 1-0 on a first-half goal. time of Joe Gaetjens from New York.
He headed Walter Bahr’s tricky pass into the net. With little to no chance of beating the classy Brits, the downtrodden Americans dominated the attack for the entire game and forged a strong defense as the Brits fought back in a bid to level the score.
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Forward John Souza was the best player on the pitch. The British fought back in the second half, but the USA defense, backed by St. Louis center half Charley Colombo, kept them from scoring.
England were awarded a penalty late in the game, but St. Louis goalkeeper Frank Borghi made a superb save.
The win was the Americans’ first in two games in the four-team four-team division. Spain, who beat a losing Chile 2-0, lead the division with two wins.
The British also have a win and a loss. If the United States beat Chile on Sunday and England bounce back to beat Spain, the group will end in a three-way tie and a new playoff will be ordered.
Yesterday’s upset was even bigger than last Sunday’s Swedish triumph over Italy, 3-2, or Switzerland holding Brazil 2-2.
Brazilian fans flooded the field after the United States victory and held the Americans on their shoulders as the winners were given a standing ovation.
The British forwards weren’t sure about going for goals but their overall play looked superior to the winners except on the scoreboard.
The Americans made many passes from long range and showed improvement in their play. During the second half England attacked 15 times against the Americans 10.
The United States, under pressure, yield six corners to the two English.
Tears in the press room
England’s loss to the United States brought tears to the eyes of British sportswriters today.
A Daily Express report on the front page said: “This is the lowest ever for British sport.” Roy Peskett of the Daily Mail said in another front-page story: “Fitter, faster USA fight team did the amazing! It’s the biggest football upset of all time. .”
In the Daily Graphic, John Gaydon lamented: “It was pathetic pathetic to see the cream of England players beaten by a side most amateur players at home would have beaten, and there was no fluke about that. .”
The Americans here said it compared to a major league all-star team beaten in London by nine part-time English baseball players.
The reactions of the six of Saint-Louis
world cup champions
“Everybody wants to know how it went,” said Team USA star center halfback Charley Colombo. “I just tell them we won because we scored a goal. , then tied them up so they couldn’t get through. we.”
Harry Keough, who played at right-back in all three games, against Spain, England and Chile, adds another thought to Colombo’s laconic comment. “I don’t mind saying that we were almost sorry to beat the English team that day in Belo Horizonte.”
“We felt it was going to be a terrible blow for them, and we knew we weren’t strong enough to win the championship yet. But we beat them and in the last five minutes we almost made it 3-0 to place. 1-0.”
Frank Wallace, who was on the outside that day, will long remember how Fullback Ramsay robbed him of a score in the final closing minutes. Wallace, taking a pass from Gaetjens on the halfway line, passed Fullback Aston in the penalty area, fired goalkeeper Williams away, beat him with a feint and crossed the ball towards the empty goal.
Ramsay, the right-back, anticipating trouble, had driven 50 yards to goal where he arrived just in time to reach the ball as he was about to cross the line for a point.
“If I had hit the ball just a little harder, Ramsay would never have hit it.” moaned Wallace. He had the pleasure of scoring a fine header against Chile.
Gino Pariani, an inside striker in all three games, was also a goalscorer. He scored against Spain with a shot that handcuffed one of the world’s greatest goalkeepers, Eizaguirre.
This score almost whipped the Spaniards. It was only 12 minutes from the end of the match that they were able to equalise. The American defense faltered in the last minute, but they did not falter against England four days later.
The fifth St. Louis boy to play was goalkeeper Frank Borghi, one of the real stars of the win over England.
He was carried from the field that day on the shoulders of the faithful.
“When that crowd came towards me, I didn’t know what to expect,” Borghi told people at The Hill.
“I had heard a lot about the strange behavior of the Brazilian supporters, so I tried to hide. But there was no cover anywhere and they won the race. It was an exciting experience. My goal was at the far end of the locker room, so they carried me about 150 yards.”
Bobby Annis, the team’s sixth St. Louisian, was held in reserve by coach Bill Jenrey.
He was a keen observer of tactics. “I’ve seen a lot in the play of the full-backs who have faced our team,” Annis said. “I think I should be a better player for the experience.”
Among the American players most often chosen for praise by Brazilians were inside striker John (Clarkie) Souza and full-backs Ed, Mcllvenney and Walter Bahr.
Souza’s control of ball control and quick solo advances delighted onlookers and bewildered bewildered defensive players.
It was the flawless and tireless work of Scottish-born midfielder Mcllvenney and tough Philadelphian Bahr that broke the England attack.