In 1950, Ghiggia claimed the match-winner against Brazil, sealing La Celeste’s second FIFA World Cup™ to the despair of a world record 200,000 crowd in Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana stadium.
Ghiggia, who sealed Uruguay’s shock 2-1 victory at the Maracana, passed away on Thursday, the 65th anniversary of the match.
He was admitted to a private hospital in Montevideo and died from a cardiac arrest. With just 11 minutes left to play, Ghiggia broke down the right wing to score what proved the victor.
“I don’t like to talk much (about the Maracanazo) because my teammates are no longer here”.
All 12 of his appearances and four goals with Uruguay’s national team came in the 1950 World Cup.
“Only three people have silenced the Maracana”, Ghiggia once said, “the Pope, Frank Sinatra, and me”.
The Uruguayan government has declared a day of national mourning and flags will fly at half mast on Friday.
Born 22 December 1926, Ghiggia played for Peñarol, one of Uruguay’s leading teams and was part of the 1949 squad which was known as the “1949 machine”.
“It is impressive what that man did”, Tabarez said. “What he did in his life, his leadership and his personality”, he said.
He later joined AC Milan and also represented Italy, something made possible by his ancestry and eligibility regulations of the era.
As a grandchild of Italian immigrants he also played for the Italian national team.
Ghiggia began his career at the Sudamerica club before moving Uruguay giants Penerol.
Ghiggia was visibly overwhelmed when he was honored in 2009 at the Maracana, placing his footprints in a plastic mold along with other greats of the game like Pele, Eusebio and Franz Beckenbauer.
The World Cup took a rather different format at the time, functioning as a round robin; Brazil went into their last game only needing a draw to secure the trophy. Suarez “plays well but he has done things that are not normal for a player, nor for a soccer game”, Ghiggia told The Associated Press.
Associated Press writer Raul O.