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🔢 City by number: No. 14

A reminder of the Grecians' trip to South America back in 1914.

27 December 2018

They're arguably the best international team of all time and they have the stats to back that up.

Four Confederation Cups, eight Copa Americas and five World Cups – the history of the Brazilian national team isn’t shabby at all. While most people know about the trophies, they don’t know how it all started. They don’t know that in the 14th year of the 20th century, Exeter City made the trip to South America to play Brazil in the Seleção’s first ever game.

As Britain was on the eve of war, Exeter’s chairman Michael McGahey accepted the FA’s offer of a tour to Argentina after Tottenham Hotspur had rejected. At the same time, Michael had conversations about playing some matches in Rio, however nothing was confirmed until the Grecians actually reached South America.

In June 1914, after a three week trip, a ship containing club directors and 15 players docked in Argentina. The players only had a few days before the first match of the tour, a 3-0 defeat to Combinado Norte at Racing Club's stadium.

That proved to be City’s only defeat of their time in Argentina as the remaining seven games resulted in six wins and one draw.

While the team were excelling on the pitch, Michael McGahey was busy sorting out a contract to play additional games in Brazil, eventually leading to a deal to play three additional games in Rio.

The Grecians thus became the first professional team to ever play in Brazil when they kicked off on the July 18 against the ‘English of Rio.’ An easy 3-0 victory followed before, just a day later, City dispatched of Rio de Janeiro FC 5-3.

The big day came on July 21, as the Grecians took on a team made up of Brazilian players from Rio and Sao Paulo who played under the name Brasileiros, affectively becoming the first Brazilian national team.

While there has been some debate over the final score of the match, it is now generally accepted that the Brazilians beat City 2-0, meaning that Exeter ended the tour with a record of eight wins, one draw and two defeats.

100 years later, the Grecians returned to Brazil to play a friendly in the Estádio das Laranjeiras against Fluminense under-23s. The two sides shared the trophy in a 0-0 draw watched by around 600 fans, including 170 very loyal Grecians.


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