Returning after an absence of 12 years, the 1950 World Cup held in Brazil, was the first to include British participants. The 1949-50 Home International Championships had acted as a qualifying group and England as winners along with the runners-up, Scotland, were invited to take part. The Scots however declined.
The political changes following the second world war meant that of the eastern Europeans, only Marshall Tito's Yugoslavia took part. Holders Italy, busy with reconstruction after the war were initially reluctant to take part, although they did eventually send a team.
Due to withdrawals, the initial group stage which was supposed to consist of 4 groups of four, actually saw 2 groups of four, a group of 3 and a pair. From these groups, the four winners took part in the final group. In perhaps one of the greatest world cup shocks, in their first round group match, England lost 1-0 to the USA.
In the final group, Brazil set a cracking pace, thumping Sweden 7-1 and putting 6 past Spain. However, it was not to be their year as in the final group game, they were beaten by Uruguay 2-1 thus leaving the Uruguayans with 5 points and winners of the fourth world cup.
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