Brasil have their five stars (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 & 2002); Germany (1954, 1974, 1990 & 2014) and Italy (1934, 1938, 1982 & 2006) have four each; Argentina two (1978 & 1986) and England (1966), France (1998) and Spain (2010) one each. 

Uruguay has won the World Cup twice, in 1930 and 1950. in 1930, it was the inaugural FIFA World Cup that was hosted by Uruguay. The home nation beat fellow South Americans, Argentina 4-2 in the final. In 1950, in what was famously dubbed as the Maracana Blow, Brasil was stunned at home 2-1 by Uruguay.

Both finals that Uruguay played are the only final matches that featured two South American countries to date. No other World Cups to date were the same as in 1950 whereby the winner was decided by a final group stage, with the final 4 teams playing in round-robin format. There was no knockout stage. 

With Brasil one point ahead of second placed in the group, Uruguay going into the match, Uruguay needed a win while Brazil needed only to avoid defeat to claim the title of world champions. The Brasilian newspaper O Mundo printed an early edition on the day of the final containing a photograph of Brasil with the caption”These are the world champions”.

Uruguay’s captain, Obdulio Varela purchased a few copies of the O Mundo newspaper, and encouraged his teammates to urinate on them as part of the dressing room motivation speech.

Alcides Ghiggia scored the winning goal with 11 minutes left in the match was also the last surviving player from the game; he died at the age of 88, on 16 July 2015, exactly 65 years after scoring the pivotal goal. The 1950 World Cup was the first World Cup after the cancelled 1942 & 1946 tournaments due to the second World War. 

So why does Uruguay have 4 stars above their crest when they only have won 2 World Cups in 1930 and 1950 respectively?  That’s because the Olympic Games – won by Uruguay in 1924 and 1928 – were officially recognised as the FIFA world championships before the World Cup was founded in 1930. 

The Official History of FIFA states that the winners of these tournaments in 1924 and 1928 were therefore considered the official world champions. 

FIFA’s equipment regulations, section 18.2 states – Those Member Associations that have won the FIFA World Cup may put a symbol on the playing shirt representing this accomplishment and the number of times won. – BY ARTURO FANGIO

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