Brazil vs England - where it all began

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Arquivo / CBF
It was in 1914 that the Selecao played their first ever match — though the Rio select team that day weren't up against the Three Lions

Brazil and England share a curious footballing relationship.

The English were, of course, the creators of the game, but it was the Brazilian who perfected it — playing some of the magical and enchanting football the sport has ever seen.


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Brazil are the most successful team in football history, lifting the World Cup on five occasions. England have conquered the world just once, in 1966, but are held in high esteem by their South American counterparts.

English football is greatly respected in Brazil and it was against an English team that Brazil played their first ever football match.

Though it wasn’t the Three Lions. On July 21, 1914, A Selecao kicked off their unrivalled history in the sport with a clash against Exeter City. The English club had arrived in Rio after a tour of Argentina, where football had spread more quickly than it had in Brazil.

Brasil x Inglaterra

The Brazilian side that day was cobbled together by the now extinct FBS, which selected the best players in the Rio region — the footballing hotbed of the country at the time.

Included were some early pioneers of the sport, including Marcos de Mendonça, Friedenreich, Abelardo De Lamare, Rubens Salles and Sylvio Lagreca.

A capacity crowd of 3,000 was in attendance, with fans taking their places early and waiting anxiously to witness history. Brazil entered the field in their original white shirts and shorts with only blue details on the sleeves. Their formation was a 2-5-3.

Brasil x Inglaterra

Exteter were favourites, but they would be surprised in what was then the nation’s capital as the Selecao ran out 2-0 winners. Oswaldo Gomes was the man to write his name into the history books with Brazil’s first ever goal, and Osman added the second.

Clearly surprised by the technical quality of their hosts, who unlike the English were still amateurs and played more for leisure, the Exeter City team that day were considerably more physical. 

Captain Rubens Salles took a heavy blow on the ribs but refused to leave the field and didn’t realise how serious his injury was until after the game. Friedenreich, too, suffered a serious knock and lost two teeth during the game.

Brasil x Inglaterra

And little did the triumphant Brazilians know that they had just kicked off the greatest national team football would ever see.

In addition to five World Cups, the Selecao have claimed eight Copa America titles, four Confederations Cups and an Olympic gold medal, in addition to producing countless world players of the year.

The great relationship between the two nations will write a new chapter on Tuesday at Wembley Stadium, when they clash in the second leg of this month’s Chevrolet Brasil Global Tour. 

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