June 01, 2020
In 1950 the ‘kings of football’ were presented as certain to win, but what followed was calamitous
Englands first World Cup adventure was a voyage of the damned |  Neil Duncanson
Roll back 70 years to a grey, austere postwar Britain, still in ruins, still enduring food rationing, queues and misery, a nation where Football provided a scarce escape. It was also when, for the first time, England took part in the game’s major global tournament, the World Cup, which began on 19 June 1950 in Brazil.
To hyperbole stirred up by the national prints, England were presented as certain to be returning home triumphantly from South America with the Jules Rimet trophy. Failure was never considered. Here, after all, was the greatest assembly of footballing talent ever to leave England’s shores: Matthews, Finney, Mannion, Mortensen, Wright and Milburn, a confection of Boy’s Own heroes. It was, after all, England’s game.
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