England took on Chile in their first World Cup game in 1950.
England played their first-ever World Cup Finals match on this day in 1950. We beat Chile 2-0 in the famous Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro with goals by Stan Mortensen and Wilf Mannion.
An England team hadn’t entered the three pre-war tournaments because The FA had withdrawn their membership of FIFA, the World Cup organisers. But England qualified for the 1950 Finals in Brazil by winning the Home International Championship and were one of the favourites to lift the Jules Rimet Trophy.
England had never met Chile before and it turned out to be a difficult match in difficult conditions, the rain lashing down throughout.
The Chilean attack included Newcastle’s Jorge Robledo and they looked lively in the first half. But it was England who took a 38th-minute lead, Mortensen having the honour of scoring his country’s first-ever World Cup goal with a firm header from Jimmy Mullen’s centre.
Chile twice hit the woodwork in the first half and England did the same in the second.
The Chileans’ robust approach had stopped England from establishing a proper rhythm, but they couldn’t stop them scoring a decisive goal midway through the second period.
Tom Finney supplied the cross and Mannion beat ‘keeper Livingstone with a low shot. Four days later England had an easy match against USA!