It was a Brit called Charles Miller who brought football to Brazil by introducing the beautiful game to Sao Paulo Athletic Club in 1892. Following a recent study, today 1 in 3 Britons sadly cannot pick out Brazil on a world map and more than half of 2000 people polled did not know the nation’s first language is Portuguese!

Back then this chap Miller had no idea how the sport would become part of the nation’s DNA. There are very few places where football is so passionately supported than Brazil. As I write this piece, the entire Brazilian nation is expecting their national team to win the tournament as an issue of national pride…no pressure there, I guess!

It is said that when Brazil lost to Uruguay in the final of the 1950 World Cup the entire nation mourned. The heartbreak was so much that a name was created for the disaster (the “Maracanazo”) in much the same way as an earthquake or hurricane might be titled.

Brazil is the most successful country in football history. They have won the World Cup five times (in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002), one more than Italy and are only one of five countries to have won it more than once, and one of eight to have ever won it at all. Their players have won the Ballon D’Or six times in the past 15 years and the World Player of the Year eight times in its 19 years of existence. That’s more than any other country.

They can boast to having produced some of the greatest ever players, including Socrates, Carlos Alberto, Garrincha, Rivaldo, Jairzinha, Romario, Rivelino, Zito, Ronaldo and Tostao, to name just a few. In the Brazilian team there were some of the finest players in the world including Ronaldinho, Lúcio, Alexandre Pato, Júlio Cesar, Maicon and Luis Fabiano. Obviously they boast having the greatest player ever to play the game Pele.

Coming back to Charles William Miller (24 November 1874 – 30 June 1953), he was born in Sao Paulo to John Miller, a Scottish railway engineer and Brazilian mother of English descent, Carlota Fox. In 1884 he was sent to the Banister Court public school in Southampton, England where he learnt to play football and cricket.

When he returned to Brazil in 1894, Miller brought two footballs along with a set of Hampshire FA rules.

Miller was instrumental in setting up the football team of the São Paulo Athletic Club (SPAC) and the Liga Paulista, the first football league in Brazil.

It was Miller that suggested the name to the first President of Sport Club Corinthians Paulista. British Vice-Consul in 1904. The first players to take part in the football games were all staff members of the railway company. The beautiful game was then regarded as an elitist game and no black players were allowed to play at all.

Can you imagine now the FIFA 100 hall of fame list without Pele?

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