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Results 1946-1950                       Page Last Updated 17 October 2017

United States of America

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280 vs. USA
Thursday, 29 June 1950
The IV Campeonato Mundial de Futebol Taça Jules Rimet First Phase Pool Two match four

USA 1 England 0 [1-0]

Estádio Independência, Horto, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Kick-off (BRT): 6.00pm, 10.00pm BST.

Attendance: 10,151;

  England won toss and kicked-off
[1-0] Joe Gaetjens header 38
 diverted a Bahr 25-yard shot with his head

Match Summary


USA Party


England Party

Referee (black) - Generoso Dattilo
x (-), Italy.

Linesmen - Charles de la Salle, France and Giovanni Galeati, Italy.
No substitutes permitted.

  Goal Attempts  
  Attempts on Target  
  Hit Bar/Post 11
  Corner Kicks Won  
  Offside Calls Against  
  Fouls Conceded  

USA Team



No official ranking system established;
ELO rating 40th to 30th
Colours: White jerseys with blue v-necked collar/cuffs and red sash, blue shorts with white side trim, blue socks with white hoops around calf.
Capt: Ed McIlvenny Manager:
Coach: William Jeffrey
Walter John Giesler, 39 (6 September 1910)
USA Lineup
1 Borghi, Frank 25 9 April 1925 G Simpkins-Ford FC 6 18ᵍᵃ
3 Keough, Harry J. 22 15 November 1927 RB St. Louis McMahon 5 0
17 Maca, Joseph A. 29 28 September 1920
in Brussels, Belgium
LB Brooklyn Hispano 2 0
14 McIlvenny, Edward J. 25 21 October 1924
in Greenock, Scotland
RHB Philadelphia Nationals 2 0
4 Colombo, Charles M. 29 20 July 1920
in Lincoln, England
CHB Simpkins-Ford FC 10 0
6 Bahr, Walter A. 23 1 April 1927 LHB Philadelphia Nationals 9 1
7 Wallace, Francis 27 15 July 1922 OR Simpkins-Ford FC 6 2
8 Pariani, Virgino P. 22 21 February 1928 IR Simpkins-Ford FC 4 1
18 Gaetjens, Joseph E. 26 19 March 1924
in Port-au-Prince, Haiti
CF Brookhattan 2 1
10 Souza-Benavides, John 29 12 July 1920 IL Ponta Delgada 11 3
11 Souza-Neto, Edward 28 22 September 1921 OL Ponta Delgada 5 3


not chosen

team notes:

Although Walter Bahr was the regular US captain, McIlvenny was captain for this match because he was British.
2-3-5 Borghi -
Keough, Maca -
McIlvenny, Colombo, Bahr -
Wallace, Pariani, Gatjens,
J.Souza, E.Souza.


Age 25.9 Appearances/Goals 5.7 0.9


England Team



No official ranking system established;
ELO rating 2nd
Colours: The 1950 away uniform - Royal blue collared short-sleeved jerseys, white shorts, black socks with white tops.
Capt: Billy Wright, sixteenth captaincy Manager:
Trainers: Jimmy Trotter (Charlton Athletic FC) and Bill Riddings (Bolton Wanderers FC)
Walter Winterbottom, 37 (31 March 1913), appointed as FA national director of coaching/team manager on 8 July 1946;
31st match, W 23 - D 3 - L 5 - F 102 - A 32.

Team announced by Arthur Drewry on Wednesday, 28 June 1950.
England Lineup
  Williams, Bert F. 30 31 January 1920 G Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 9 9ᵍᵃ
2 Ramsey, Alfred E. 30 22 January 1920 RB Tottenham Hotspur FC 7 0
3 Aston, John 28 3 September 1921 LB Manchester United FC 16 0
4 Wright, William A. 26 6 February 1924 RHB

Wolverhampton Wanderers FC

31 2
5 Hughes, Lawrence 26

2 March 1924


Liverpool FC

2 0
6 Dickinson, James W. 25 24 April 1925 LHB

Portsmouth FC

9 0
7 Finney, Thomas 28 5 April 1922 OR/IR

Preston North End FC

27 18
8 Mannion, Wilfred J. 32 16 May 1918 IR/IL Middlesbrough FC 21 10
9 Bentley, T.F. Roy 26 17 May 1924 CF/OR

Chelsea FC

6 2
10 Mortensen, Stanley H. 29 26 May 1921 IL/CF Blackpool FC 20 20
11 Mullen, James 27 6 January 1923 OL

Wolverhampton Wanderers FC

6 2


not chosen

team notes:

This is Billy Wright's record 31st consecutive appearance.
First World Cup defeat, first World Cup goal conceded, first World Cup match without scoring.
First time England have remained unchanged since November 1947.
Due to inadequate changing facilities, England arrived on the team bus already kitted out, having been changed at Minas Athletic Club facilities.
2-3-5 Williams -
Ramsey, Aston -
Wright, Hughes, Dickinson -
Finney, Mannion, Bentley, Mortensen, Mullen.
second half: Bentley, Finney, Mortensen, Mannion, Mullen


Age 27.9 Appearances/Goals 14.0 4.9


     Match Report by Mike Payne

This match will probably go down as the most infamous and humiliating defeat ever suffered by an England international side. It seems that never before had the team played so badly, although it must be said that never before had the team suffered such appalling bad luck.

The first half was almost exclusively played in the American half with only a rare breakaway relieving the pressure on Borghi's goal. The goalkeeper worked overtime as the England forwards repeatedly had the goal at their mercy. Time after time though the ball went narrowly wide of the post, just over the bar, hit the woodwork or brought a fine save from Borghi.

After all this pressure the unbelievable happened in the 38th minute. A throw-in by Scotsman Ted McIlvenny - soon to sign for Manchester United - found Bahr and he hit a 25-yard shot, more in hope than anything else. Imagine his surprise when the ball struck Gaetjens on the head to deflect over a stunned Bert Williams and into the England net.

Jimmy Mullen, Tom Finney, Wilf Mannion and Stan Mortensen all missed from good positions as England became more and more frustrated at their inability to score. Simple chances went begging and it appeared that the American goal had a charmed life.

The second half was just as one-sided. The woodwork kept on being rattled and Borghi continued to be his side's saviour, although he was very lucky to save one Mortensen header which he appeared to haul back from over the line. That was one of several errors of judgement on the part of the Italian referee and there were at least two strong penalty claims by England which went unheeded.

England became ragged as the game slipped away from them but the chances still came and went. Mortensen shot over, Roy Bentley had the ball taken off his toes when a goal seemed certain and Mannion also missed a fine chance after he shot over when unmarked right in front of goal. Finally, Alf Ramsey forced the save of the match out of hero Borghi.

At the final whistle Larry Gaetjens - who in 1970 was to disappear during political unrest in his native Haiti - was hoisted shoulder-high and the crowd went wild. The small ground and close-marking had a bad effect on England but no amount of excuses could hide the fact that this had been a day of total disaster for the team. Everything had gone wrong and at the final count they had hit the woodwork no less than 11 times!

Needless to say, England's chances of qualifying for the next stages of the competition had suffered a severe blow.


     Match Report by Norman Giller

A deflected shot from Haitian-born centre-forward Larry Gaetjens eight minutes before half-time gave the United States a victory that caused a shock that could have been measured on the Richter scale. England hit the woodwork three times, and what seemed a certain face-saving goal from a Ramsey free-kick in the closing minutes was miraculously saved by the diving goalkeeper Borghi, a professional baseball catcher. Another Ramsey free-kick had earlier found the back of the net, but the referee whistled for an infringement. England spent eighty-five per cent of the game in the American half but finished up the losers. Nobody could have felt more frustrated than Stanley Matthews, who sat watching impassively from the sidelines. The goal-scoring hero Gaetjens was later reported to have died in an Haitian jail after helping to organise a guerrilla movement against the island's dictator, 'Papa' Doc Duvalier. His name will live on in football history. The game was played on a cramped, narrow pitch that meant England were unable to make full use of their strength down the wings.  England had twenty shots to the vital one by the United States. Even their goal was a freakish affair. Bert Williams had a high centre covered, but Gaetjens ducked and the ball glanced off the back of his head and into the net. Even Alf Ramsey, who used to be expressionless throughout a game, threw his arms up and looked to the sky when his perfect free-kick was somehow saved by their unorthodox goalkeeper. Winterbottom had wanted to play Matthews in the second game against the United States, and Sir Stanley Rous argued the case for him with the chairman of the selectors, a Grimsby fish merchant called Arthur Drewry, who had been appointed the sole selector for the World Cup. "My policy is that I never change a winning team," the dogmatic Drewry said  dismissively. On one of the blackest days in English football history, England were beaten by the United States with Stanley Matthews among the spectators. It was like leaving Wellington on the bench at Waterloo.  It has been wrongly reported that the United States was made up of a team that came via Ellis Island. But all but three of the side were American-born.

Source Notes

Original newspaper reports
Rothman's Yearbooks
Mike Payne's England: The Complete Post-War Record (Breedon Books Publishing Company, Derby, U.K., 1993)
Clive Leatherdale's England's Quest For The World Cup (Methuen London Ltd, London, 1984)

Norman Giller
, Football Author