Pregame Warm-up: World Cup Stories

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Our friend Giri A of the PubStumpers Trivia League has been sharing some World Cup history via email. As the world anxiously awaits today's Spain-Germany match, we figured we'd pass her stories along to the group. Enjoy!

Ottorino Barassi, Italian vice-president of FIFA, secretly kept the original World Cup trophy, known as the Jules Rimet trophy, under his bed in a shoebox to prevent the Nazis from taking it. Italy won the title in 1934 and 1938, but World War II caused the next two tournaments to be cancelled and Dr. Barassi felt that the trophy would be safer at home than in a Roman bank.
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When the Brazilian team of 1970—perhaps the greatest national team ever assembled—won the World Cup a third time, the Jules Rimet trophy was theirs to keep. Unfortunately, 13 years later, it was stolen and is still missing, leading people to believe that it was melted down and gone forever. [Read about another time the World Cup trophy went missing, and the dog who found it.]

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Sócrates, that great Brazilian World Cup star of 1982 and 1986, was a medical doctor! What's more amazing was that he achieved his medical degree while playing professionally.
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A funny moment in World Cup history took place in the 1962 tournament in Chile. A quarter-final match between England and defending champion Brazil was interrupted when a stray dog walked onto the field and evaded being caught by several players. English star Jimmy Greaves got down on all fours, approached the dog and caught it. It was taken away, but not before urinating on Greaves. Amused Brazilian legend Garrincha took the mutt home. Garrincha scored 2 goals to help Brazil knock England out by 3-1 and eventually take home the World Cup for the second straight time.
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One of the biggest shocks in World Cup history occurred in 1950, when Joe Gaetjens' goal helped the US beat mighty England 1-0. A Haitian immigrant, Joe had gone to the US to study accounting at Columbia University. In an addition to his studies, Gaetjens worked as a dishwasher and played football for the American Soccer League's Brookhattan Galicia team when he was recruited to play for the US World Cup team.
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The very first World Cup, held in Uruguay in 1930, saw the host nation triumph over Argentina. Even back then, there were petty things they'd argue about. Like schoolboys, Argentina wanted to use their ball; Uruguay wanted to use theirs. In the end, each ball was used in one half. Uruguay's fourth goal in their 4-2 victory was scored by Héctor Castro, perhaps the only World Cup winner with only one arm. Héctor had accidentally amputated his right forearm while using an electric saw at the age of 13.

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July 7, 2010 - 6:36am
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