Football: Uruguay 1950 World Cup great Alcides Ghiggia dies at 88

Former Uruguayan football player Alcides Ghiggia.
Former Uruguayan football player Alcides Ghiggia. PHOTO: AFP

MONTEVIDEO (AFP) - Alcides Ghiggia, the former Uruguay striker who scored the goal which won the 1950 World Cup against hosts Brazil, died on Thursday - 65 years to the day after his famous strike in the Maracana Stadium that traumatised a nation.

Ghiggia, who was 88, died from a heart attack, his wife Beatriz confirmed.

He was the last surviving member of Uruguay's 1950 World Cup-winning team.

Speaking about his match-winning goal, Ghiggia once famously told Brazilian television in an interview: "Only three men have ever silenced the Maracana - the Pope, Frank Sinatra, and me!"

His second-half goal in front of 200,000 spectators in Rio de Janeiro gave Uruguay a 2-1 victory which has passed into football folklore.

The defeat inflicted crushing disappointment across Brazil and still reverberates to this day, referred to simply as the "Maracanazo", a seismic national tragedy embedded in the country's cultural history.

Ghiggia's goal in the final match of the tournament - which Brazil needed only to draw to win the title - turned its author into a revered national hero at the age of 23.