World Cup Classics: Blue Brazil ’58

Let’s start this off by saying that if you’re here to learn about Cowdenbeath, you may be in the wrong place.

The “blue Brazil” we’re here to celebrate, is the set of shirts worn by the great Garrincha, a teenage Pele and the team who beat Sweden 5-2 in the 1958 World Cup Final.

FIFA’s showcase tournament was held in Sweden that year and the hosts performed very well indeed, making their way through to the final at the Råsunda Stadium near Stockholm, where they would face the boys from Brazil.

Eight years on from defeat in their home tournament’s de facto final of 1950 and all the deep, national soul-searching that followed; Brazil looked resplendent en route to the final in their by now, customary, sunshine yellow “canarinho” jerseys.

Brazil, Canarinho, 1958, Jersey, shirt, World Cup Final
The Canarinho jersey of 1958

The famous Brazil kit came about as the result of a competition to replace the white shirts they’d worn in that defeat to Uruguay and a young illustrator by the name of Aldyr Schlee, won with his idea of a strip comprising the four colours of the national flag.

However, the shot at redemption the World Cup final of 1958 presented to Brazil, came with a problem.

FIFA had decided that as both teams wore yellow, it would be Sweden as the home side who should wear their first choice colours.

Brazil, blue, 1958, Jersey, shirt, World Cup Final
Brazil’s blue shirt from the 1958 World Cup Final

This prompted some improvisation on the part of the Brazilian delegation who, as the story goes, had not thought to travel with a set of change colours.

Legend has it that Paulo Machado de Carvalho, head of the Brazilian touring party at that World Cup, decided that Brazil would play in blue as it was the colour of Our Lady of Aparecida; the Catholic patron saint of Brazil.

A search party was sent in to Stockholm to purchase a set of kits before crests and numbers were swiftly sewn onto the jerseys in preparation for the final.

Brazil, blue, 1958, Jersey, shirt, World Cup Final
The kit worn by Brazil as they lifted their first Jules Rimet Trophy

Whether that’s an urban myth or not, after Pele and the boys won the game to lift their first Jules Rimet Trophy, the colour became the accepted base of Brazil’s change shirts and we can all close our eyes and see generations of footballers from Bebeto, Romario and Rivaldo, to Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Neymar cast in their own magnificent moments in blue.

So there you have it, a tale of divine inspiration and improvisation that played a role in the birth of the legend of Pele and the first of Brazil’s five World Cup victories.

World Cup Classics: Cameroon ’90

As we countdown towards Qatar 2022, we’re taking a look at some of the shirts that still stir those little butterflies in the tummy, beginning with this classic Cameroon shirt from Italia ’90.

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