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Brazilian champs or Brazilian chumps? The strange case of Bela Vista

Bela Vista Football Club (Brazil) 1958

Bela Vista FC Tour of Europe 1958

Back in the fifties many Brazilian sides toured Europe and one club who hoped to cash in on the success of the 1958 World Cup winning Brazilian national team was Bela Vista Futebol Clube de Sete Lagoas. They weren’t a big club by any stretch of the imagination though a resourceful Brazilian businessman with an eye for an opportunity organised a tour of Europe by the club in the hope of making some money.

Trumpeted as one of Brazil’s leading and most popular clubs they played 16 games in continental Europe including an opening match against the mighty Real Madrid  which they narrowly lost 2-1. More fixtures in France, Germany, Italy, Denmark and Holland saw them win just two games. Things got much worse, much worse when they crossed over into the UK.

Their opening game of the UK leg of the tour saw them get soundly beaten 5-0 by Birmingham City. They then travelled up to Newcastle where a crowd of 25000 witnessed a goalfest as the hapless visitors were hammered 12-1. The next two games against Middlesbrough and Sheffield United brought 4-0 thrashings for the Brazilians.

Newcastle United v Bela Vista (Brazil) 1958 Sheffield United v Bela Vista (Brazil) 1958 Luton Town v Bela Vista (Brazil) 1958

By this time word of the exploits or rather lack of them had reached Brazil and the Brazilian FA tried in vain to recall the team claiming they were an embarrassment to Brazilian football. Finally the team returned to Brazil but not before an 8-0 thumping at Luton Town and a 3-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.

Finishing with a playing record of P22 W2 D2 L18 with 20 goals scored and 76 conceded, the tour was an abject failure. However the team returned to Brazil as heroes and in their home town of Sete Lagoas were greeted with a fireworks display and granted a parade through the town.


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