The Biggest Crowd In Soccer History
According to FIFA’s official fact sheet, the highest match attendance of all-time was recorded at the 1950 World Cup final in Rio de Janeiro. The host country Brazil played Uruguay in the tournament-decider at the Maracanã, and FIFA lists the official attendance as 173,850. However, records in Brazil state that the actual attendance was probably closer to 210,000.
At the time, the Maracanã was mostly concrete grandstands with no seats, allowing for the overflow of people. Due to today’s era of all-seater stadiums, this attendance record will probably never be broken.
The days leading up to the match had seen the Brazilian public prematurely crown the team as “future champions,” a feeling that was reinforced by the fact that Brazil had defeated Uruguay 5-1 the previous year en route to a Copa América title. Despite the raucous and expectant Brazilian crowd, Uruguay would go on to triumph 2-1 after completing a two-goal comeback in the 79th minute.
It’s now remembered as one of the biggest upsets in international football history, and in Brazil, it’s referred to as “The Agony of the Maracanã.”