Little Bits of History

FIFA World Cup

Posted in History by patriciahysell on December 19, 2015
Jules Rimet Trophy

Jules Rimet Trophy

December 19, 1983: The Jules Rimet Trophy is stolen – again. Jules Rimet (1873-1956) was a French soccer administrator and the third President of FIFA. He served in that capacity from 1921 to 1954, the longest tenure for that position. He also served as the president of the French Football Federation between the years of 1919 and 1942. It was at his instigation that the first FIFA World Cup was held in 1930. The trophy awarded to the winners was called “Victory”. It was designed by Abel Lafleur and was a 14 inch high statue of Nike, the Greek goddess of victory. It was made of gold-plated sterling silver and was placed on white/yellow marble base. In 1946, the trophy was renamed the Jules Rimet Trophy. In 1954 the marble base was replaced with one made of lapis lazuli.

The first time it was stolen was just prior to the 1966 FIFA World Cup games held in England. The trophy was placed in an exhibition and on Sunday, March 20 it was found missing. Shortly after noon, the case was found forced open as were the back doors to the building. The thieves had removed a padlock from the back of the display case and left the building via the same doors they had forced open to get in. None of the guards had noticed anything amiss while the theft was in progress and it was only at 12.10 PM when a guard came to check the room that the crime was discovered. Scotland Yard took over the case and when a ransom demand came the next day, they were prepared. The trophy was recovered by March 27 and one man was convicted for the theft.

In 1970, Brazil won the Jules Rimet Trophy for the third time and got to keep the prized award perpetually. Sérgio Peralta, a banker and football team agent, was the mastermind behind the theft. Francisco Rivera (alias Chico Barbudo) was a former policeman and José Luiz Vieira (alias Luiz Bigode) was a decorator and both men were accomplices to Peralta. Rivera and Vieira invaded the Brazilian Soccer Confederation (CBF) building and stole three items: the Jules Rimet as well as the “Equitativa” and the “Jurrito”. Investigation brought in Antonio Setta, a safecracker, who admitted Peralta had tried to hire him to steal the trophy, but due to patriotism and the fact that his brother had died of heart attack when Brazil won the Jules Rimet Trophy, he declined.

Peralta and his accomplices were arrested but the trophy was gone. It had been melted into gold bars by Juan Carlos Hernandez. He was then arrested as well. When they were found guilty and received their sentences, they fled. Rivera was killed in 1989 in a barroom brawl. Vieira was captured and freed from jail in 1998. Hernandez was captured in France when he was arrested for drug trafficking. He was released from prison in 2005. Peralta’s sentence was complete in 1998 and he died of a heart attack in 2003. Setta died in a motor vehicle accident in 1985.  A replica of the original trophy was made and presented to CBF in 1984.

I’m attracted to soccer’s capacity for beauty. When well played, the game is a dance with a ball. – Eduardo Galeano

Watching soccer is my main hobby, really. I’m no tactician or coach, but I enjoy watching the free flow of it, the different styles, and the histories behind clubs. Like Barcelona vs. Madrid – it’s not just a soccer game; it’s a geopolitical struggle. There are great storylines and no commercials. – Andrew Luck

I like tricks; I like to dazzle. Dribbling and leaving your opponent on his backside is what life is for. If I achieve what I want to, then I’ll mark a distinct era in football. I’m the Che Guevara of modern soccer. – Sergio Aguero

Soccer is simple, but it is difficult to play simple. – Johan Cruyff

Also on this day: Monumental – In 1960, the San Jacinto Monument was declared a National History Landmark.
Believe – In 1918, Ripley began his carton series.
Tiny Tim – In 1843, Charles Dickens published A Christmas Carol.
What’s Up, Doc? – In 1956, Dr. John Bodkin Adams was arrested.
Presumed – In 1967, Harold Holt was presumed dead.

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Battle of Berne

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 27, 2015
Hungarian soccer team

Hungarian soccer team

June 27, 1954: Hungary and Brazil meet in a quarter-final game of the FIFA World Cup series. The 1954 FIFA World Cup was played in Switzerland at six different cities with this day’s match held at the Wankdorf Stadium in Berne. Basel, Geneva, Lausanne, Lugano, and Zürich also hosted games. The Wankdorf Stadium had the largest seating capacity at 64,000. Geneva’s stadium, Charmilles, only held 9,250. The FIFA World Cup was founded in 1930 as a worldwide competition for football/soccer. The tournament is played every four years (with 1942 and 1946 cancelled due to World War II). Brazil has been included in every single FIFA match (the only team to do so) and been the most successful team with five titles.

Thirty-two teams compete in the tournament which lasts about a month. The 1954 games were played between June 16 and July 4 – a period of 19 days. There were 26 matches played with a total of 140 goals scored for an average of 5.38 per match, a record. Brazil had already beaten Mexico (5-0) and tied with Yugoslavia (1-1). Hungary had already beaten South Korea (9-0) and West Germany (8-3). The day’s weather was pouring rain which led to slippery conditions and difficulty controlling the ball. Within minutes of the start, Hungary took the lead and before ten minutes had gone by, the score was 2-0 Hungary. Brazil made a goal on a penalty kick and at half time the score was 2-1.

Soon after the start of the second half, Hungary was awarded a penalty and scored to bring the score to 3-1. Brazilian journalists and officials were outraged and had to be ushered off by the police. The game became a battlefield with increasingly nasty fouls and borderline tactics. A Hungarian player was fouled and he and his opponent got into a fight on the field and both were sent off. The final score was 4-2 Hungary. There were 42 free kicks and 2 penalties awarded during the game along with 4 cautions and 3 dismissals. The end of the game did not mean the end to the hostilities. After the game, the Brazilian players entered the Hungarian dressing room to continue the fight. The game became known as the Battle of Berne.

The final match for the 1954 FIFA World Cup was a rematch between West Germany and Hungary. West Germany won (their first win) and Hungary was in second place with Austria and Uruguay in third and fourth places respectively. Brazil was out of the top four but came back to win the 1958 Cup. They went on to win again in 1962, 1970, 1994, and 2002. Hungary has made nine appearances at the World Cup with the first in 1934. Their best outcome has been as runners up in 1938 and in this event. The German team has been in 18 World Cup tournaments and took first place in this one as well as 1974, 1990, and 2014.

One man practicing sportsmanship is far better than fifty preaching it. – Knute Rockne

I would advise all youths aspiring to athletic fame or a professional career to practice clean living, fair play and good sportsmanship. – Major Taylor

Sportsmanship and easygoing methods are all right, but it is the prospect of a hot fight that brings out the crowds. – John McGraw

Professionalism is not sportsmanship. If you don’t succeed, you won’t be in your profession for long. In our society, it’s not about good or bad. It’s about who’s on top. – Chili Davis

Also on this day:  The Oscar of the Children’s Library – In 1922, the Newbery Medal was first awarded.
Collinswood – In 1966, Dark Shadows premiered.
ATM – In 1867, the world’s first ATM was installed.
Helen Keller –  In 1880, Helen was born.
High Score – In 1899, the highest score in cricket was made by AEJ Collins.