If World War II Never Happened: A FIFA World Cup Timeline

Prelude to the 1946 FIFA World Cup
Part 4 - To Play or Not to Play
Prelude to the 1946 FIFA World Cup


With Europe next in line to host the World Cup and Germany having launched unsuccessful bids to host the two preceding tournaments, they were now the clear front-runner. Germany also had good footballing infrastructure, with many big stadiums and the experience of having organized the 1936 Summer Olympics. Those Games were infamously used to promote Nazi ideology and some people naturally feared that this World Cup would also be used as such a political tool. Regardless, Germany were awarded hosting right at the 1942 FIFA Congress held in Brussels, Belgium [1]. The tournament was played from 21 June to 15 July 1946. The format of the previous World Cup was maintained. The 16 participants were divided into four groups of four, with each group winner and runner-up advancing to a knockout stage to decide the winner.

Controversies
Following the widespread boycott debate surrounding the 1936 Berlin Olympics, the Nazi regime had to some extent learned from its mistakes and now tried portraying a less overtly racist image. Jews were allowed as both players and spectators, though it later emerged that many of them had been forced to attend matches as a piece of tokenism and propaganda. The Nazi regime was also keen on featuring Austrian-born players in their squad to display “brotherly German unity”, especially since Austria would host some matches. Not too many, though, as players from Austria’s Wunderteam had been underwhelming when conscripted to represent Germany at the 1938 World Cup, following Anschluss.

Many people of course saw through the charade and called for teams and players to refuse participation, but it wasn't enough for the World Cup to be widely boycotted by several countries, even those with big Jewish populations, such as Poland. Mandatory Palestine, also known as Eretz Israel, was the only national team to officially boycott the tournament. Even fewer people called for debutants Japan to be refused entry, despite the atrocities they committed in the Second Sino-Japanese War [2].

Return of British teams
The British teams - England, Ireland [3], Scotland and Wales - rejoined FIFA and entered the World Cup qualifiers for the first time in history [4], having left the governing body in 1928. The 1945-46 British Home Championship was used as the qualifier [5], which Scotland won emphatically, while all other teams finished tied on two points. Ireland shockingly qualified at England’s expense, courtesy of goal difference.

home championship.png

British Home Championship results from 1940 to 1946.


There were some other shocks in the qualifiers. Bohemia and Moravia missed out on a spot, despite their 5-2 win against Hungary, while France failed to qualify for consecutive World Cups for the first time in history. The Netherlands featured in a spectacular 6-3 win over Belgium, who shockingly lost 4-1 (!) to Luxembourg. Sweden's 10-0 win over Norway was more emphatic, though, but the Norwegians put 12 past Finland. Latvia were just one point away from qualifying, most notably defeating Estonia 8-1 in Tallinn, being narrowly eclipsed by Poland. Egypt accepted entry into the European qualifiers, but failed to reach the final tournament as the lone African representative.


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1946 FIFA World Cup groups.


1946 venues.jpg

Venues. Graphic created by jycee.

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[1] With the absence of World War II and the Nazis not occupying major parts of Europe, the Jewish population in Germany (and Austria) alone is too small for a Holocaust anywhere near the same scale as OTL to take place. Don’t get me wrong. Jews were still heavily oppressed, but not to the point of causing several national teams to boycott the tournament (even though they arguably should, to put it mildly). One can also imagine the Nazi regime wanting to show a more polished facade to avoid boycotts, while becoming even more aggressively racist and oppressive after the World Cup.
[2] Japan are notably not nuked by the United States in TTL.
[3] Note that this is the predecessor to Northern Ireland, not the Republic of Ireland.
[4] Without the Second World War, I think the British teams would have rejoined FIFA prior to 1946. Not sure exactly when, but in time for the 1946 World Cup.
[5] OTL’s 1945-46 Championship is not recognized as an official tournament, so one can argue it should be different in TTL. I don’t think so. All teams would still be as motivated to win in my opinion.
Let me know your predictions and stay tuned for Part 5!
 
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Hopefully Scotland can get out of the group here. Plus with an early appearance at the WC, they likely don't feel the need not to throw a hissy fit for not winning the group to qualify for 1950 in which they likely do here...interesting butterflies there.

Plus, would be wildcard choice if we get an earlier African side here say like Ethiopia maybe isn't wrecked by Italy here if WWII isn't a thing here or if Italy never bothered at all but then again highly unlikely. Still, the thought of a battle of Santiago type encounter between Italy and Ethiopia has all the makings of a brutal affair.
 
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1946 FIFA World Cup - Group Stage
Part 5 - Intimidation Tactics
1946 FIFA World Cup - Group Stage


Brazil and controversial hosts Germany started the tournament with a 1-1 draw. Brazil went on to feature in a blistering 5-3 affair with Poland, while debutants Ireland found a late equalizer to draw 2-2 with Germany, having defeated Poland 2-1 on the first matchday. Brazil subsequently edged out Ireland 1-0 to secure the group's top spot. Germany were winless heading into their final group match with Poland, which was very politically charged, as the Nazi regime had forcefully expelled many Jews to their eastern neighbour. To make matters worse, the government had ordered the German FA to move the match against Poland to Königsberg [1] upon seeing the two of them were drawn into the same group. This was criticised as "attempted intimidation" regarding to the 'Polish corridor', which the Nazis viewed as "rightfully German". The German FA insisted it switched venues due to logistical reasons. Whatever the reason may have been, the decision appeared to have paid off, with Germany easily winning 5-1.

1946 Group 1 REAL.png

Group 1 of the 1946 FIFA World Cup.



The 1942 runners-up Italy had an easy time in Group 2 as expected, starting off with a spectacular 4-3 win over Switzerland before hammering Mexico 5-1 and edging out Romania 2-1 in an encounter that was surprisingly close. Switzerland's subsequent 1-1 draw with Romania meant they needed a win against Mexico to even get the chance to advance to the quarter-finals through a play-off. The Romanians previously beat the Mexicans 2-1 and tensely awaited their fate. Anything except a Swiss win, and Romania would advance. Switzerland were never in doubt, though, comfortably winning 2-0. The play-off against Romania was not as straightforward, but the Swiss still won and advanced to the quarter-finals.

1946 group 2.png

Group 2 of the 1946 FIFA World Cup.


Sweden had a good team, but few would have anticipated them to win every match in the group of death [2]. First 2-1 against Yugoslavia, then 3-2 against title holders Argentina and finally versus Spain 2-0. The Spaniards were the major flop of the tournament, also losing 1-0 to Argentina and 2-1 versus Yugoslavia to place last in Group 3. Argentina ultimately clinched the runners-up spot with their 3-1 triumph over Yugoslavia.

1946 group 3.png

Group 3 of the 1946 FIFA World Cup.


Group 4 featured two debutants - Scotland and Japan. One of them was not like the other. Both started off with losses, Scotland being narrowly eclipsed 2-1 by Hungary and Japan getting hammered 6-1 by the Netherlands. That's where the similarities to their campaigns ended. Scotland went on to beat the Dutch 3-1, while Japan conceded eight goals against Hungary, who also beat the Netherlands 3-1 to impressively win the group. Scotland's 7-0 demolition of Japan assured them a place in the quarter-finals.

1946 group 4.png

Group 4 of the 1946 FIFA World Cup.



Here are the quarter-final matchups. Let me know your predictions:
1946 knockout 1 REAL.png



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[1] Present-day Kaliningrad.
[2] George Raynor notably becomes Sweden manager a bit earlier in TTL, due to the absence of World War II.

Stay tuned for the knockout stage of the 1946 World Cup!
 
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1946 FIFA World Cup - Knockout Stage
Part 6 - Extraordinarily Ordinary
1946 FIFA World Cup - Knockout Stage


Somewhat arrogantly, the German FA had assigned the biggest venue - the Olympiastadion in Berlin - to host the Group 1 winner’s quarter-final and hypothetical route to the final, of course thinking that team would be Germany. However, it was Brazil, not Germany, that faced off against Switzerland in Berlin. Brazil got a really cold shower when they fell behind in the fifth minute, though the Swiss were still celebrating as the Brazilians found an almost instant equalizer. But Switzerland, aided by the immense support from 100,000 fans, regained their lead in the 24th minute. It was an uncharacteristically unafraid Swiss side, playing with rare flare. The contrast was true for Brazil, who in fairness still stayed in the game, making it 2-2 in the last minute of the first half. The second half was much more closed, even and hesitant. Brazil found their footing and slowly but surely inched closer to a third goal. The third goal eventually came - in the 79th minute - but from Switzerland. A fervent defensive struggle followed, which the Swiss ultimately succeeded in, advancing to the World Cup semi-finals for the first time in history. Brazil suffered an infamous early exit.

Germany’s underwhelming group stage display did more than just force their squad to travel from Berlin to Stuttgart and play at the Adolf-Hitler-Kampfbahn. It also gave Germany a formidable quarter-final foe. One with three consecutive World Cup final appearances - Italy. Germany proved to grow stronger and stronger as the tournament progressed, making it 1-0 in the 27th minute and adding a second 12 minutes later. The second half saw a completely rejuvenated Italy. Less than two minutes after the opening whistle, the Italians reduced Germany’s lead. This prompted the Germans to keep a more defensive approach, which worked, albeit not for long. Italy equalized shortly after the hour-mark and even made it 3-2 less than five minutes later. The game was completely turned on its head. Fitting, considering a header in the 77th minute is what brought the hosts back into the classic as well as infamous match. The footage of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler talking during the game - appearing extraordinarily ordinary - is talked about to this day. It was an ideological derby between two dictatorships in which people for 90 minutes forgot what monsters Hitler and Mussolini were, and it’s especially doubtful the 97,000 fans cared about that when an 85th-minute winner sent Germany into the final four.

It initially seemed the quarter-final between Sweden and debutants Scotland would be an equally goal-rich affair when the Swedes found the back of the net in the very first minute. Scotland’s equalizer five minutes later further cemented this notion. However, a goal hiatus followed. Dangerous chances were replaced by dangerous challenges. It’s a miracle no one was sent off. Sweden got their taste of a ‘miracle’ when they went in front again in the 68th minute, forcing the Scots into a more offensive approach. Sweden parked the bus and resisted the Scottish onslaught. The final whistle could not have come sooner for the Swedes, who made a return to the World Cup semi-finals, having last been there in 1938. Scotland licked their wounds.

In the last quarter-final, defending champions Argentina remained South America’s last hope. The free-scoring Hungarians quickly put a dent in Argentina’s prospects by acquiring a 2-0 lead before 30 minutes were passed. That’s what it took for the Argentinian football machine to wake and get on the scoresheet - 2-1 at half-time. The game didn’t slow down during the remaining 45 minutes, with both sides consistently creating real chances. The second half saw just one goal, though, and it was scored by Argentina, which sent the match to extra time. At that stage, a brilliant series of passes signed off by a delicate finish in the 110th minute sent Hungary into the semi-finals.

Along with Germany and Hungary, Sweden had emerged as a big favourite to lift the trophy. But they were facing a side that had defeated supposed "favourites" Brazil in the quarter-finals - Switzerland. From the stands, Hitler eagerly awaited Germany's final opponent, assuming his side would secure their spot there the next day. It seemed Switzerland would keep on 'giant killing' when they opened the scoring in the ninth minute. However, Sweden made it both 1-1 and 2-1 before the referee signalled the end of the opening 45 minutes. In the second half, the Swedes picked up where they left off and even put in a higher gear, finding a third goal only to concede a minute later. But this was just the beginning. Sweden went on to score again and again to lead 5-2. Switzerland found a late consolation goal as the opposition let down their guard, but Sweden were in their maiden World Cup final.

Vienna was the most uncanny venue of the World Cup. Austria's capital prior to Anschluss, but no sign of their flag. After all, it was illegal. Swastikas everywhere. Austria had defeated Germany 5-0 here 15 years prior, where Mathias Sindelar bagged a hattrick. He died in 1939 under mysterious circumstances and a banner displaying his image and the word "MÖRDER!" could be seen in the stands [1]. The fans displaying the banner were never seen again, though. Hitler also took the liberty of delivering a propaganda speech about the "greatness of the united German people". Germany had fought many hard away matches here, but now they were here as hosts. However, they certainly didn't give that impression when the match began, slipping and firing many miscalculated passes and shots. Not what you'd expect of a 'home' team. Hungary, in contrast, appeared well-versed with the pitch, presumably due to their many encounters with Austria through the years [2]. With that in mind, it's hardly surprising that Hungary went in front after just five minutes. Germany became better, slipping less and less, playing more and more accurate passes. In the 22nd minute, one such accurate pass enabled Germany to find the equalizer with a superb volley. But the deafening roar of 90,000 fans - all closely watched by the Gestapo - was silenced when Hungary restored their lead almost immediately thereafter. After the disappointing first half, Germany came out guns blazing in the second, proving they had another gear in them. It was a gradual process, though, and Hungary never ceased being a threat. Nevertheless, the hosts both equalized and found the eventual winner in the last 20 minutes despite being the weaker team for considerable periods of the game.

The third-place play-off was historic, seeing the most goals ever scored in a World Cup match up until that point. Hungary scored the tournament's fastest goal after 27 seconds, eclipsing Sweden's opener against Scotland by just three seconds. Switzerland equalized around six minutes later and added a second, third and fourth - all in the first half. Hungary even found an additional goal before the referee blew his whistle, but the match was clearly tilting in Switzerland's direction. It wasn't made to last. The Hungarians didn't have just one, two or three additional gears, but four. That's at least how many times they found the back of the net in the second half before Switzerland found a late consolation strike. Regardless, it was Hungary who secured their second World Cup medal.

Contrastingly, Germany or Sweden would secure their first World Cup title in Berlin, having most recently featured in an entertaining 3-2 affair in 1942 which the Swedes won. Germany's ceremony for the final was grand. Disturbing, but grand. Tens of thousands of Hitlerjugend members belted out the German anthem - along with most of the 100,000 fans. Hitler also used this match to spread more Nazi propaganda, talking about how the final was evidence of "Aryan" superiority. Even a couple of the Swedish players did Hitler salutes. Voluntarily, because FIFA didn't allow the Nazi regime to enforce mandatory Hitler salutes as a condition for them to be awarded hosting rights. However, most of Sweden's squad and even some of the German players appeared to be uneasy and somewhat disturbed, though the match saw no signs of such feelings. Sweden made it 1-0 around the ten-minute mark, while Germany equalized in the 19th minute. The Swedes kept up the pace and restored their lead shortly afterwards, only for the Germans to make it 2-2 right on the stroke of half-time. The second half but equally even, but more lacking in goals. Though not completely starved, as a 72nd-minute perfectly placed finish in the bottom-right corner granted Sweden their first major honour. Hitler was visibly defeated when presenting the Swedish players with their gold medals.

1946 knockout 2 REAL.png

Knockout stage of the 1946 FIFA World Cup.



1946 infobox.jpg

Infobox created by jycee.

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[1] He's not confirmed to have been murdered, but he died under suspicious circumstances.
[2] Hungary have notably played significantly more matches against Austria than Germany have, despite them both being neighbours.

Thanks for reading! I hope you like it. Stay tuned for the prelude to the 1950 World Cup!
 
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A shame Scotland did not make it through.

That Sweden vs Switzerland match sounds great.

The Hungary vs Switzerland match for 3rd place is something that is going to go down in history as a great match, certainly seems like better football than the actual final. I suspect that final will be remembered more for Hitler's grandstanding than the match itself.

Still I wonder who has the 1950 World Cup?
 
Prelude to the 1950 FIFA World Cup
Part 7 - Suspended Suspense
Prelude to the 1950 FIFA World Cup


It was South America’s turn to host the FIFA World Cup in 1950, and Brazil were awarded hosting rights in 1946 [1]. The 1950 World Cup was to be played from 24 June to 18 July. Maintaining the previous format, the 16 participating teams were drawn into four groups of four, with each group winner and runner-up advancing to a knockout stage to decide the winner [2].

As feared by many, Germany accelerated their oppression of Jews and other minorities after the 1946 World Cup concluded. It was now explicitly illegal for Jews to represent the national team among several other things. Many Football Associations, though not a majority, called for the German FA to be suspended. FIFA expressed it did not approve of Germany's racist policies, but still allowed the national team to participate [3].

Denmark and the Soviet Union entered for the first time but failed to qualify. Iceland were denied entry despite wanting to participate [4]. Egypt, Israel and Syria played in the European qualifiers [5], all unsuccessfully. India made their debut, defeating Japan to qualify [6].

Here are the groups. Let me know your predictions:

1950 GROUPS.png



1950 venues.jpg

Venues. Graphic created by jycee.

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[1] As Argentina hosted TTL's 1942 World Cup, they wouldn't have withdrawn from the 1950 tournament over a hosting dispute as in OTL.

[2] As noted in a previous post, OTL’s 1950 World Cup had a second group stage instead of a knockout stage. This was presumably because so many teams withdrew, and a second group stage was a way to sell more tickets. With 16 participants, there would have been a knockout stage, especially given the precedent set by this ATL’s two previous World Cups.

[3] Apartheid South Africa was not suspended until 1964 (though they were effectively banned since 1952), so it's unfortunately improbable that Nazi Germany would have been banned from TTL's 1950 World Cup.

[4] They didn’t do so until 1958 in OTL. Without World War II, they would have probably entered earlier, especially given how the World Cup was more well-established and respected at this point in this ATL. Iceland didn’t try to enter until 1954 in OTL, but would have probably done so earlier for the same reason. Additionally, TTL would not have seen most of Eastern Europe refuse participation, due to the absence of World War II and the Iron Curtain.

[5] Due to the higher number of teams, TTL's qualifying process is different. The British Home Championship is not used as a qualifier. There are eight groups of four teams, the winners of which qualify directly along with defending champions Sweden. Scotland notably withdrew in OTL despite qualifying, due to "only" finishing as runners-up in the Home Championship, even though it was enough to qualify... Yeah, I don't get it either. But here they are, having won TTL's qualifying group. However, given their participation in 1946, I don't think they would have withdrawn even in the case of qualifying directly as a runner-up.

[6] India withdrew in OTL despite qualifying, due to a lack of practice time, issues with team selection, and viewing the World Cup as inferior to the Olympics (though a common myth is that they withdrew since it was forbidden to play barefoot). Winning against Japan - as opposed to qualifying by default since all other teams withdrew as in OTL - would surely have raised their confidence and made them less inclined to pull out. Also, with two additional World Cups having been played in TTL, they would maybe not have prioritized one tournament above the other. Travel costs were also cited as a withdrawal reason, but FIFA offered to pay those expenses, so it just seems like an excuse. At least a moot point. Long story short, I don't think India would have withdrawn in TTL.
 
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Some interesting groups there - Group 1 looks hard for all the teams. England and Germany together, though without the war things will play out differant. Scotland could be in a hard group or in for an easy ride excepting Argentina.

Are the matches being played at odd times for the European TV audience?
 
[1] As Argentina hosted TTL's 1942 World Cup, they wouldn't have withdrawn from the 1950 tournament over a hosting dispute as in OTL.

It wasn't just a hosting dispute, though - to add to it, there was also the fact that the Argentine Football Association and the Brazilian Football Confederation had broken off relations and were refusing to play each other at the time thanks to a massive brawl that happened in their South American championship match in 1946. They would only resume relations in 1956.

Also, some information that you might want to use, even if that brawl hadn't happened or they had reconciliated sooner, Argentina would probably come weaker than usual to the World Cup - there had been a player's strike in 1948-49, that failed, prompting many important players to go play in the Colombian league, which wasn't recognized by FIFA, which meant that Argentina couldn't call up the players that were there.

And unrelated, but judging by the flags on this and the last post, it seems like Yugoslavia still goes communist even without World War II. is that intentional?

Some interesting groups there - Group 1 looks hard for all the teams. England and Germany together, though without the war things will play out differant. Scotland could be in a hard group or in for an easy ride excepting Argentina.

Are the matches being played at odd times for the European TV audience?

This is 1950 - TV is just starting to become popular (in the first world - it still will be even longer before it becomes popular in the third), and it's not important enough to actually influence on the match schedules the way it does today. Instead, the matches would be at the time that's more convenient for the people who are there at the stadium, which in that case, meant roughly 3 o'clock in the afternoon. OTL practically every match in that World Cup was played at that time.

Moreover, there's no satellites either, so live intercontinental transmission is basically impossible. Back in these days, the matches were filmed and the newsreels shown in movie theaters.
 
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My predictions:
Group 1: Hungary, Brazil, Belgium, Mexico
Group 2: Spain, England, Germany, Chile
Group 3: Sweden, Italy, Paraguay, India
Group 4: Uruguay, Scotland, Argentina, Yugoslavia
 
To answer your question about Scotland's withdrawal from the OTL 1950 WC, it is said to be one of the most hubris reasons ever in which the Scottish mindset had been always about beating England and never about everyone else in which if you got anything other than a win then the year would he considered a failure and even though Scotland had technically already qualified for 1950 prior to that game with England which the match was nothing more than bragging rights of who would top the group, the SFA's chairman I believe stated they'd only go to Brazil if they were British champions (same went with both the Welsh and the Irish with this mindset with England commited to go no matter what) which just reeks of utter ego when you see that four years later when England and Scotland qualified for the 1954 WC, England were British champions and Scotland would go along without fuss which makes the reason look utterly baffling.

However, it seems another plausible reason was the obvious costs of flying to and travelling round Brazil which the SFA couldn't afford themselves even if the Brazilians were happy to fund all the teams in question. This is not really a surprise given this is why a large number of teams all pulled out from playing in Brazil and perhaps the situation of failing to win the group was a perfect excuse for the SFA not go to even if the players and fans all wanted otherwise.

Hell, this could even be a POD for creating a Great Britain football side in which an angry Scotland side decide to go on a full on Mutiny to join the English (with some Welsh and Irish for good measure) all for the want for Brazilian sun which actually is plausible as both Scottish and English captains were very friendly with each other then and it's not hard to imagine the two cooking up this plan. Need to think more about this idea for a full TL.
 
1950 FIFA World Cup - Group Stage
Part 8 - Strike Out
1950 FIFA World Cup - Group Stage


Hosts Brazil breezed through Group 1, starting with a 4-0 demolition of Mexico before finding a last-minute winner to beat Belgium 3-2. A blistering 5-3 victory over Hungary cemented Brazil's top spot. Hungary won 4-2 against Belgium and hammered Mexico 5-1 to advance as runners-up with equal comfort. Belgium's 2-1 win over Mexico was insufficient to reach the quarter-finals.

1950 group 1.png

Group 1 of the 1950 FIFA World Cup.


After a disastrous campaign in 1946, Spain now topped a highly competitive group by drawing 2-2 with Germany, breezing past Chile 2-0 and edging out England 1-0. Counterintuitively, The Three Lions made their debut, having had a complicated relationship with FIFA. They ultimately advanced as the runners-up thanks to a 2-0 win over Chile and 2-1 triumph against Germany, who failed to advance, even losing 3-2 to Chile.

1950 group 2.png

Group 2 of the 1950 FIFA World Cup.


Italy's squad was ravaged by the 1949 Superga air disaster and it showed in the opening match, which was lost 3-2 to defending champions Sweden, who also beat India 4-0 and drew 2-2 with Paraguay to top the group. The Italians did bounce back, defeating India 3-0 and Paraguay 2-0 to finish in second. Paraguay had a respectable campaign, but failed to advance despite the 3-1 triumph over debutants India.

1950 group 3.png

Group 3 of the 1950 FIFA World Cup.


Uruguay won every match in a really tough Group - 2-1 against Argentina and Yugoslavia [1] before breezing past Scotland 3-0 with unexpected ease. Argentina was a major talking point. Some of their best players were missing due to playing in the FIFA-unrecognized Colombian League, following a failed strike. Needless to say, the Argentinians appeared to be negatively affected by it, crashing out in the group stage. They only picked up points in a 2-2 draw with Scotland and lost 2-1 to Uruguay and Yugoslavia, who finished in second because of that triumph and 1-1 draw with the Scots.

1950 group 4.png

Group 4 of the 1950 FIFA World Cup.



Here are the quarter-finals! Let me know your predictions:
1950 knockout.png



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[1] The really perceptive of you will notice the Kingdom of Yugoslavia flag is used instead of the communist one. I realized I don't think the communists would have risen to power without World War II. At least not by 1950.

[2] As also noted by @Mildtryth, Argentina and Brazil severed their relations following a brawl in 1946, which was a contributing reason for Argentina not participating in 1950. Not to mention the strike. However, given Argentina's 1942 success and there being no hosting dispute in TTL, I don't think Argentina would have boycotted the tournament. That said, their squad would still be pretty divided and weaker than usual.
 
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That is one heck of a set of Quarter-Finals there.

One would like to hope England gets through, but yeah...

Yugoslavia going further would be nice.

Spain vs Hungary should be good football.

Uruguay vs Italy got to have Uruguay as favs here.
 
Brazil would be favourites, but can choke under pressure at home. However, you would fancy them to beat England and the winner of Sweden vs Yugoslavia.

Uruguay have a tougher draw, but they were the best national side in the world in 1950, and there don't seem to be many variances from OTL to change it ITTL.
 
Suprised England did OK given how shambolic their OTL preparations were for that WC, could have some interesting effects without the humiliation of a loss to the US here plus with India taking part, Indian football might have some interesting butterfly effects.
 
Suprised England did OK given how shambolic their OTL preparations were for that WC, could have some interesting effects without the humiliation of a loss to the US here plus with India taking part, Indian football might have some interesting butterfly effects.
Yeah, I thought about having England lose to Germany, but just couldn't justify it since their record against the Germans was impeccable before losing in a 1968 friendly.

Seven straight wins and just one draw.
 
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1950 FIFA World Cup - Knockout Stage
Part 9 - All That Glitters Is Not Silver
1950 FIFA World Cup - Knockout Stage


Hosts and big favourites Brazil [1] picked up where they left off in the group stage with a superb performance against debutants - and inventors of the game - England. Though it's unclear The Three Lions would've stood a chance even if they were allowed to change the Laws of the Game to benefit them as the match progressed. Brazil were unplayable that day, accumulating a 2-0 lead at half-time. It's not uncommon for matches to show vastly different sides between two halves, but the Brazilians had no intentions of parking the bus, adding a third and fourth goal before the hour-mark. Clumsy defending in the 71st minute put England on the scoresheet from the penalty spot, though it's unclear if anyone celebrated.

Hungary grew immaculately into the tournament despite not being favoured against Spain, who topped a hard group. But the Hungarians had a two-goal lead before the opening 45 minutes were completed, and added a third midway through the second half. Spaniards late consolation goal failed to inspire a comeback. Too little too late.

Defending champions Sweden had little reason to fear Yugoslavia, despite their solid team. The Balkan side had only scraped through a group with a divided Argentinian squad and underperforming Scots. Accordingly, the Swedes took the lead - after just nine minutes. However, it took fewer than ten minutes before the Yugoslavs made it 1-1 and even less time before they'd completely turned the game on its head. The usually offensively blistering Swedes appeared toothless in the second half due to Yugoslavia's diligent defending, which saw them successfully protect their lead.

Along with Brazil, Uruguay had emerged as the big favourite after their impeccable group stage display, but they were in for a shock when Italy opened the scoring in the sixth minute. The Uruguayans had a nasty habit of falling behind only to come back later, though, and this match was no different. They found the equalizer in the 29th minute and made it 2-1 not long thereafter. Halftime came and went, and the match showed no signs of slowing down, with the Italians equalizing almost exactly an hour into the match. Uruguay seemed superior and more energetic. Indeed, they had another gear, highlighted by the 3-2 goal in the 74th minute.

The first semi-final saw a convincing Brazilian display with a deceivingly close scoreline in Rio. Nevertheless, one Brazilian goal in each of the halves proved more than enough.

Sao Paulo was blessed with a much more dramatic affair. A tie with history. Uruguay denied Hungary a place in the semi-finals of the 1942 World Cup, winning 3-2 in a thrilling encounter. Now the stakes were even higher, with a final on the line. The ball barely crossed the line in the 15th minute, following a Uruguayan strike from distance that struck the underside of the bar, making it 1-0 for the South Americans. Hungary got back into the game 22 minutes later, and even made it 2-1 right on the stroke of half-time. Complete silence in Sao Paulo, except in the dressing rooms it seems, because both teams came out guns blazing in the second half. It did take close to 30 minutes before Uruguay equalized though, but the match was extremely entertaining. Extra time showed no hint of the teams playing for a replay. Chance after chance. Goals were inevitable. The Uruguayans turned this notion into reality, finding a third and fourth goal to secure a spot in the final.

The 1946 bronze match was an 11-goal thriller. Football fans didn't get to see the ball strike the back of the net nearly as much in Sao Paulo, but the two goals by Hungary were enough to secure them a second consecutive World Cup bronze.

But in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Uruguay were going for gold. The Uruguayans were hoping to expand their trophy cabinet after the 1930 triumph, while Brazil wanted to etch themselves in as the third World champions from South America. With 200,000 Brazilians behind them - at least attending the match - it's not surprising the hosts went in front in the first half. The title was well within their grasp. Uruguay looked tired at first, perhaps a bit drained by their intense semi-final. However, something just changed. All of the sudden it was 1-1. They grew and grew into the match. Brazil were shaken. Nervous, and yes, the Uruguayans punished them in the worst way possible, finding the second goal to secure their second World Cup title. Brazil suffered a devastating defeat in their own backyard.

1950 knockout 2.png

Knockout stage of the 1950 FIFA World Cup.



1950 infobox.jpg

Infobox created by jycee.

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[1] Side note related to the previous post: I've realized OTL's 1946 brawl between Argentina and Brazil would not have happened in TTL, since that year's South American Championship is unlikely to have been played. Though played in different months, that tournament has NEVER been played in a World Cup year. The 1946 South American Championship would probably have been cancelled or postponed if a World Cup was played that year. However, this doesn't affect the matches at the 1946 World Cup of this ATL. Threat not!
 
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Ouch for England there, but I guess Brazil was the Juggernaut here.

Hungary and Uruguay sounds like a blistering match.

Yugoslavia will be one to watch next time round cos they will be out for revenge.

Brazil and Uruguay - good final, will be lots of unhappy locals. Hope the security is good…

If there is no WW2 presumably British colonial drawdown is more like convert to dominion (West Indies, West Africa, India) and then let them govern themselves inside the Commonwealth structure- are we seeing a Commonwealth Federation (sorta EU) here?

Did Malta become part of the UK as they wanted to?

What about France’s holdings? They were governed as if they were France rathe than an Empire as such, without the Fall and the war is France having better luck holding on to its Departments?

French Indo-China- given up?
Dutch East Indies- given self-rule?

Without the war stresses did South Africa reject apartheid? It’s is certainly possible!

I ask all this because it changes who can play for each team. If France can call on all of N. Africa which star players can they pull into the national side for example.

A British Commonwealth will have its own sporting events which will see other players emerge. Which genius’ can the Dominion of West Africa produce?
 
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