In Rio de Janeiro, the year 1922 was marked by the celebrations of the Centenary of the Independence of Brazil. To this end, a large International Exhibition was organized, and a number of discussions on national identity were triggered. Sports were not far behind, and several international sports tournaments and competitions were held in the country to celebrate the official commemorative date.
In football, the sixth edition of the South American Championship took place. The stage chosen for this was the imposing Laranjeiras Stadium, belonging to the Fluminense Football Club. Its headquarters, located in an upscale area of the city, had a room for piano recitals and art nouveau stained glass windows. The field, created in 1904, was expanded until it became a stadium. Its inauguration took place in 1919, to host the third South American Championship. But it was only in 1922 that its most definitive expansion was consolidated, thanks to the raising of two floors of stands in reinforced concrete, and the capacity to receive 25,000 people, being the largest and most exuberant sports venue in the country at that time.
In 1922, the Brazilian National Team managed to reach the final of the tournament against Paraguay and became two-time South American champion in the year of the Centenary of Independence, amid the ovation and euphoria that took hold of the fans in Laranjeiras, in the city and throughout the country. As Fon-Fon magazine observed and commented on September 30th of that year: “The fever, the eagerness, the ardor – stamped on the face of each one of the 'fans' – with which the lovers of universal sport, among us, came to see a sensational 'match', show well the degree of progress that football has been making in this great land.”
View of the Fluminense Football Club sports complex, where the 1922 South American Championship matches took place, also won by Brazil. Compared to the 1919 photo, the stadium has expanded its capacity, with the erection of a second floor. Photograph: Unknown Author | Fluminense Football Club Collection.
Aerial view of the Laranjeiras stadium, located in the South Zone of Rio de Janeiro, where the 1922 South American Championship matches took place. Photograph: Unknown Author | Fluminense Football Club Collection.
The Brazilian team poses for a photo in the first match against Paraguay for the 1922 South American Championship, whose score was 1 to 1. In the photo, goalkeeper Marcos de Mendonça appears standing, on the right, holding the ball. Photograph: Unknown Author | Fundação Biblioteca Nacional. [PHOTO OUT OF LAYOUT]
Cover of O Impartial effusively salutes the conquest of the South American Championship in 1922 by the Brazilian National Team. In the headline, the men’s football team becomes, in a metonymic way, “Brazil” itself, which highlights the role of the media in the construction and affirmation of national identity in the 1920s. Photograph: O Imparcial | Fundação Biblioteca Nacional.
Portrait of the 1919 South American Championship final between Brazil and Uruguay, Laranjeiras Stadium, Rio de Janeiro. Friedenreich’s goal, in the second overtime, secured the first international title in Brazilian football. Photograph: Unknown Author | Fluminense Football Club Collection.
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Public from the tribunes and general standing, and athletes profiled at the Laranjeiras Stadium. Photos: Unknown Author | Fluminense Football Club Collection.