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JUAN SCHIAFFINO


BORN: July 28, 1925  
COUNTRY: Uruguay  
WORLD CUP APPEARANCES:  2 tournaments ('50, '54) 
CLUBS: Penarol, Milan, Roma 
INTRODUCTION:  Member of Uruguay's 1950 winning team and the greatest Uruguayan attacker of all time. 

1950 World Cup - Brazil Schiaffino was a key player of the 1950 team.  He made a tremendous debut in the World Cup.  Scoring four goals in the opening match against their South American neighbours Bolivia.  But his most important goal was saved in the last match of the torunament, against the host and overwhelming favourites Brazil.  With Brazil leading 1-0 and leading only a draw to win the World Cup, Schiaffino received a cross from winger Ghiggia and beat the Brazilian goalkeeper to equalized.   He then set up the second goal and Uruguay went on to win the match and thus the Cup.

1954 World Cup - Switzerland

He also played the 1954 tournament, this time making an even larger impact, playing magnificently in every game in the series.  In the opening match, he got off to a perfect start with a powerfully struck free-kick.  He was splendid again in the next game, twisting and turning the Scottish defenders with ease and created goal after goal in a 7-0 victory.

In the quarter-final against England, Schiaffino played a another superb match, orchestrating waves of attack and also scoring a goal himself in a 3-1 victory.  In the next match, the Uruguayan master faced his best test ever, having to face Hungary, the Golden Team of the fifties. In this semi-final match, Schiaffino played in what would be known as one of the greatest matches in World Cup history.  With Varela injured, Schiaffino played a leading role in his South American side. 


After Hungary went up 2-0, Schiffino began to assert his influence, building attacks with skill and flair.  He went close to scoring with two powerful shots.  Fifteen minutes from time, he created a goal for his center-forward Hohberg to score.  They appeared to be running out of time, but amazingly, three minutes from the end, Schiaffino split the Hungarian defense again and set up Hohberg.  The match went into extra time.  Schiaffino nearly produced a great upset when he found Hohberg yet again but this time the striker hit the post and Hungarian goalkeeper Grocsis produced an excellent save from Schiaffino's rebound.  It was only after Andrade's injury that Hungary won the match.  It was Uruguay's first ever World Cup defeat but perhaps the most memorable performance by Schiaffino and his teammates.

His tremendous displays at the world stage earned him a transfer to Italian club Milan, only six months after the match against Hungary.  With Italian ancestry, he started representing the Italian national team as an oriundi (foreign-born Italians).  Ironnically, he could still not stop the Azzuri from failing to qualify for the 1958 World Cup, losing to Northern Ireland.
HIS GOALS IN THE WORLD CUP - COMPLETE RECORD
1950
1st round: 1st match v. Bolivia (4)
Final Pool: 3rd match v. Brazil
1954
1st round: 1st match v. Czechoslovakia
Quarter final v. England


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