In 1946, at the next FIFA Congress, Brazil proposed its candidacy to host the FIFA World Cup. It was originally supposed that the tournament will take place in 1949, but, in the end, it was decided to hold the world championship a year later. The choice of Brazil was logical, football in this country is well developed, and Europe was in ruins after the Second World War. The Brazilians prepared for the championship thoroughly, having built the largest stadium at that time in Rio de Janeiro.
Construction of the stadium began in 1948. Officially, it was named "Mario Filho", in honor of the Brazilian journalist who made a significant contribution to the preparation of his country for a grand sports event. But, all over the world, the stadium is better known as "Maracana", by the name of the river flowing next to the construction site.
Up to 1, 500 workers worked on the construction of Maracana, thanks to whom the stadium was ready to host football matches by the appointed time. True, all the work was finally completed only by 1965. The first game at Maracana took place on June 16, 1950, where youth teams from Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo met. And on June 24, the national teams of Brazil and Mexico entered the field, the match of these teams opened the world football championship.
The Brazilians won without any problems, with a score of 4: 0. It seemed that the hosts would not have any special problems at the World Cup, but the main disappointment was ahead. In the decisive game at Maracana, the Brazilians met with Uruguay. It happened, almost unbelievable: the hosts of the tournament and the main favorites unexpectedly lost 1: 2, despite the fact that they were leading 1: 0. Even my own stadium did not help.
On this day, a record number of spectators gathered at the “Maracana”, according to some sources there were about 200, 000. And the Brazilian footballers had to leave the stadium under the cover of the police, the fans tried to break into the field and punish the guilty ones who had recently been national heroes.
But the stadium itself continued to set one record after another. For example, in 1963, over 177, 000 tickets were sold for the match between Flamengo and Fluminense. Never before has a national championship match gathered so many spectators. It was rare to see the Maracana stands gathering less than 100, 000 fans.
It was here that the "King of Football" Pele, who played for Santos, scored his 1000th match in official games on November 19, 1969. True, football fans themselves expected that a goal would be scored from the field, but everything turned out to be much more prosaic, his anniversary ball Pele sent to the gates of the club "Vasco da Gama" from the penalty spot.
In 1980, Brazil was preparing to celebrate the 30th anniversary of its most famous stadium. In honor of such an event, the national team of the Soviet Union was invited to Brazil for a friendly match. The meeting was scheduled for June 15th. The Brazilians produced a special cup, worth $ 30, 000, for the winner of this meeting. And the owners did not doubt their success.
But, like 30 years ago, the fans were disappointed. 130, 000 fans have witnessed the defeat of their favorites. Moreover, everything developed almost according to the "Uruguayan" scenario. First, Nunez opened the scoring, and then Fedor Cherenkov and Sergey Andreev sent two goals into the hosts' goal. The Brazilians lost again with a score of 1: 2.
Over time, Maracana lost its status as the largest football stadium in the world. In 1992, a tragedy occurred here, the fencing of the tribune collapsed. Three people were killed and several dozen were seriously injured. It became clear that the "Maracana" needed a serious reconstruction. In addition, FIFA has banned unnumbered seats in stadiums.
And many fans with a small income acquired the so-called "gnawed" - standing places. It was an unaffordable luxury for them to buy other tickets. As a result of the reconstruction, the stadium's capacity was reduced to 82, 000 people. Currently, Maracana is not even one of the 50 largest stadiums in the world.
But this does not prevent “Maracana” from being the pride of Brazil. In 2014, the matches of the World Cup were held here again. And the final match took place again at Marakana. True, without the participation of the Brazilian national team, which in the 1/2 finals unexpectedly lost to Germany with a crushing score of 1: 7. But, this embarrassment took place not at Maracana, but at the Mineiran stadium in the city of Belo Horizonte.
In 2006, the Football Museum was opened at Marakana. Museum visitors can see many exhibits related to the history of Brazilian football. For example, the goal net into which Pele scored his famous 1000th goal in his career. Or Garrinchi's uniform, in which he became world champion in 1962. In 1998, "Maracana" was included in the list of historical monuments in Brazil.