World Cup hero in 1950 dies at 88
Alcides Edgardo Ghiggia, the Uruguayan soccer great who scored the late winning goal in a stunning 2-1 victory over Brazil in the final game of the 1950 World Cup, died Thursday. He was 88.
Ghiggia's son, Arcadio, said his father died of a heart attack.
Ghiggia's goal broke a tie in the 79th minute. It gave Uruguay its second World Cup title in a match Brazilians fully expected to win before about 200,000 fans at Rio's Maracana stadium. Even a draw would have given Brazil the title.
The loss is still known in Brazil at the “Maracanazo.”
Ghiggia also set up Juan Schiaffino's tying goal in the second half.
“Only three people have silenced the Maracana,” Ghiggia once said of the goal. “The Pope, Frank Sinatra and me.”
He was the last surviving Uruguayan player from the match and poignantly, he died on the 65th anniversary of the game.
When he turned 80 he was honoured by the Uruguayan congress, still a national hero a half decade later.
“It was a beautiful what happened” Ghiggia said. “It filled me with pride and was unforgettable. The biggest moment of my life was at the Maracana.”
Oscar Tabarez, the current coach of Uruguay's national team, said Ghiggia “meant a lot to Uruguayans.”
“It is impressive what that man did,” Tabarez said. “What he did in his life, his leadership and his personality.”
Though he was viewed as the nation's top soccer idol, he played only 12 times for the national team and scored just four goals - all in the 1950 World Cup.