The most violent World Cup in history.. How did the stadium turn into a “wrestling arena”?

In 1962, Chile hosted, between May 30 and June 17, the activities of the seventh edition of the world Cup. During that year, Brazil won for the second time in a row this world championship after winning the final match against Czechoslovakia, with a score of three goals to one.

In the midst of this seventh edition, the FIFA World Cup witnessed the most violent match in its history, as security forces had to intervene 4 times to control the situation and stop the state of tension between the players of the Italian and Chilean national teams.

growing enmity

During that period, hostility between the Italian and Chilean national teams increased after articles by Italian journalists Antonio Ghirelli and Corrado Pizzinelli appeared in Italian newspapers about the situation in Chile. According to these articles, which were described as “humiliating”, the two Italian journalists likened the Chilean capital, Santiago, to a dumping ground and talked about the absence of a telephone network and the city’s lack of a sufficient number of taxis.

On the other hand, they described the Chilean population as “miserable” and talked about a high level of poverty coinciding with the suffering of most people from malnutrition and hunger. At the same time, these press articles spoke of a significant rise in crime and alcoholism in Chile.

An image of the intervention of the security forces to expel an Italian player

An image of the intervention of the security forces to expel an Italian player

In response, the Chilean newspapers tended to describe Italy as “a fascist state and a country of the mafia, criminality and drugs.”

On the other hand, Chile witnessed a devastating earthquake in 1960, just two years before giving the starting signal World Cup. Because of this, the construction of stadiums and infrastructure has been suspended for a while. Faced with this situation, some Italian newspapers described the decision to grant the Chilean the honor of organizing the 1962 World Cup as “stupid and reckless.” With the spread of these Italian articles, hostility and hatred between Chileans and Italians increased.

quarrel and spit

During the 1962 World Cup, the draw put Chile and Italy into one group with Switzerland and West Germany. On June 2, 1962, the national teams of Chile and Italy met in a match at the Estadio Nacional, which was run by English referee Ken Aston, in a period that preceded the emergence of the yellow and red card system.

And only 12 seconds after the start of the match, the referee whistled the first offense. Within the eighth minute, the Italian midfielder Giorgio Ferrini was sent off after kicking the Chilean player Honorino Landa.

Italian player Giorgio Ferrini

Italian player Giorgio Ferrini

However, due to his refusal to leave the field, the police intervened and took Ferrini off the field. On the other hand, the referee did not react minutes later after Chilean player Lionel Sánchez punched Italian Mario David.

Later, the Italian Mario David responded to Sanchez when he directed him a scissor kick to the level of the face, after which he was expelled directly from the field. In the midst of the following events, Sanchez smashed the nose of Italian striker Humberto Maschio with a punch.

Italian player Humberto Macchio

Italian player Humberto Macchio

However, the referee refused to expel Sanchez from the field. And with the rest of the match, in which the security men intervened 4 times, clashes were renewed between the Chilean and Italian players, who spit on each other throughout the match, which ended with the victory of the Chileans with two goals to zero.

In the following days, international newspapers described the match between Chile and Italy as the ugliest match in the history of the World Cup. It was also classified as the fiercest interview in the history of the World Cup.

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