After the turbulent events of the Second World War and the difficult years for international sport that followed, football managed to get back on its feet fairly quickly. As early as 1946 a FIFA Congress was held in Luxembourg, one of the items on the agenda being to select the host country for the 1950 World Cup.

Brazil were assigned the task of organising the 1950 competition for the World Cup trophy, now to be called the Jules Rimet Cup in honour of the long-serving French President of FIFA. South America as a whole had not been greatly affected by the Second World War and in fact, from a football point of view, had experienced a boom. Argentina especially had been the team of the 40s, winning the Copa America four times. But their decline had already begun with their stars moving to Colombia and Mexico in search of greater rewards, and their association were again denied the World Cup as it went this time to their great rivals Brazil.

The Brazilian Association had begun campaigning back in 1947 against the knock-out format and so two years later a preliminary round began, from which more and more associations withdrew yet again - including Argentina. For political reasons the East European countries did not even enter, which deprived the competition right away of some of the potentially strongest teams, - Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Hungary. Title-holder Italy however did enter, despite the air disaster of Superga in 1949 in which the entire AC Turin team were killed, a number of whom were national team players. Understandably, the weakened Italian national team travelled to Brazil by ship.