Joedir Belmont was supposed to be one of the estimated 200,000 people in attendance for the decisive 1950 World Cup match between Brazil and Uruguay. He had a ticket, but his mother was ill, so he skipped the match in order to tend to her. What he ended up missing was a 2-1 Uruguay win that has haunted Brazil ever since and has gone down as one of the greatest upsets in World Cup history.
But Belmont kept his ticket — a relic of Brazil's greatest sporting shame — and it has ended up serving him well.
According to Globo, the now 85-year-old from the state of Rio de Janeiro tried to buy tickets to the 2014 World Cup final, but came up empty. So he decided to write to FIFA and offer to donate his unused 1950 ticket for display in the governing body's planned museum at its Zurich headquarters. In return, FIFA has given Belmont two tickets to this year's World Cup final.
The trade took place Friday in Rio between Belmont and FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke. From FIFA.com:
“A few months ago we received a letter from a Brazilian man who said he might be one of the only people to still have a match ticket from 1950. He knew that we were going to open a football museum,” recalled Valcke. “We said that we’d love to have it. And now, in return, we’ve given him tickets for this FIFA World Cup.”
Naturally, Belmont hopes he can actually make it to the match this time and that Brazil will reach the final so he can witness what everyone at the Maracana Stadium hoped to see 64 years ago. But he could also just skip the match, hold on to these tickets and maybe trade them back to FIFA for four World Cup final tickets in another 64 years. So that's also something to consider.