World Cup 1958 Facts
World Cup 1958 Background
4 countries showed interest in hosting the 6th World Cup: Mexico, Chile, Argentina and Sweden. A Swedish delegate however lobbied other countries successfully at the FIFA congress in 1950 in Rio de Janeiro. Therefore Sweden was granted on June 23 1950 to host the 1958 World Cup. No voting took place.
World Cup 1958 Participants
55 countries tried to be 1 of the 16 World Cup participants. Sweden qualified automatically since they were the World Cup host, and West Germany qualified because they won the previous World Cup.
FIFA introduced a new rule for the qualifications rounds: a country would only qualify if they had played at least 1 match. In previous World Cups, this did not always happen. Countries sometimes qualified automatically without having played any qualification matches.
9 places for Europe excluding Sweden and West Germany were allocated to the following countries: Northern Ireland, Scotland, England, Czechoslovakia, France, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Soviet Union and Austria. Soviet Union and Northern Ireland qualified for the first time.
3 places for South America were allocated to the following countries: Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil. Argentina qualified for the first time since 1934.
1 place for North/Central America and Caribbean was allocated to country Mexico.
Since in the AFC/CAF qualifications Turkey, Indonesia and Sudan refused to play against Israel, then AFC country Israel automatically advanced as the winner. However due to the new FIFA rule, which was that no country could qualify if they hadn’t played at least 1 match, Israel had to play a play-off match.
1 special World Cup intercontinental play-off had to be therefore played due to this FIFA rule. Israel’s opponent was UEFA country Wales, the runner-up of UEFA qualification Group 4 that was initially eliminated.
Wales won this match, which means no Asian country qualified for the 1958 World Cup. Wales was very lucky and is the only country in World cup history to have qualified after being initially eliminated! if Israel had played at least 1 qualification match, Israel would have probably gone to the World Cup since an intercontinental play-off match would have not been necessary. Wales would then not have the chance to qualify. Due to this unique chance, Wales qualified for the first and only time so far.
All the United Kingdom’s Home Nations (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) qualified all together for the first and last time so far.
World Cup 1958 Pools
The 1958 World Cup initiated a format which would be used in many World Cups to come. Not the complete format, but a huge part of it. The round-robin format that wasn’t used in the 1954 World Cup has returned in this World Cup. There are 4 pools with each containing 4 teams. All the teams of each pool had to play against each other without extra time. This means there would be 6 matches per pool and draws were allowed after 90 minutes of play.
1 point was rewarded for a draw, and 2 points for a win. When there are 2 top teams with equal points, lots would be normally drawn. However this time a new rule would be implemented. This new rule which is introduced in this tournament is called the goal average. The goal average can be calculated by dividing the number of goals scored by the number of goals conceded. So when Brazil for example has scored 5 goals in the 3 pool matches, and 2 goals have been scored against them, then the goal average would be 2.5 (5/2). The team with the highest goal average would occupy the first place in the pool.
The teams on the first and 2nd place of each pool would advance to the Quarter-Finals, the knockout stage. If the 2nd and 3rd team in a pool obtained equal points, a play-off had to be played. If this match ended in a draw, the goal average would be used as well to determine who is going to the next round. If the goal averages were equal, lots would be drawn.
Sweden ’58 is the first World Cup where the number 1 teams of each pool would play against the number 2 teams of each pool in the Quarter-Finals. In every World Cup this rule has been used where sometimes number 2 teams had to play against number 3 or other number 2 teams.
This new format was introduced during the World Cup, since these rules had not been finalized before the 1958 World Cup started on the 8th of June.
Although this was the first time that the goal average rule was available to decide whether a country goes to the next round, the rule has not be used after a play-off since all 3 play-offs in this World Cup ended in a win.
There were no seed teams in the 1958 World Cup. Each pool simply had to contain at least 1 Western European team, 1 Eastern European team, 1 of the 4 British teams (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) and 1 team from the American continent.
This was the last World Cup where the pools were referred as ‘pools‘. From the next World Cup on, pools would be referred as ‘groups‘.
The pools were as followed:
World Cup 1958 Stadiums
12 host cities and 12 stadiums have been used to host the 1958 World Cup matches. There were doubts whether there was enough funding to build the Ullevi and Malmö Stadion especially for the tournament. Therefore the organisers arranged 2 stand by stadiums just in case. Both stadiums however were located in the countries Denmark (Copenhagen) and Norway (Oslo). If Denmark had qualified for the 1958 World Cup, the Danish stadium would have been used. But it turned out that Denmark wasn’t able to qualify, and the Ullevi and Malmö Stadion were finished successfully and on time.
The following 12 cities and 12 stadiums were used in Sweden:
World Cup 1958 Schedule
World Cup 1958 Memorable Matches
Northern Ireland – Czechoslovakia 1-0, 2-1
Pool 1 contained the countries West Germany, Northern Ireland, Argentina and Czechoslovakia. Surely it was little Northern Ireland which didn’t stand a chance against the 3 respectable, experienced and strong teams. However what happened was, that West Germany was the only country to go for sure to the Quarter-Finals after all pool matches have been played. Northern Ireland and Czechoslovakia had to play an extra play-off to determine who would join West Germany to the next round. Argentina surprisingly was out. Northern Ireland’s first encounter with Czechoslovakia resulted in 1-0 scored by striker Wilbur Cush for Northern Ireland. The play-off was also won by Northern Ireland due to 2 goals scored by striker Peter McParland. 1 goal was scored in extra time. Zdeněk Zikán scored the only goal for Czechoslovakia . The final score of 2-1 resulted in the elimination of Czechoslovakia. The elimination of both Argentina and Czechoslovakia in 1958 is considered as a big upset in World Cup history Pool 2
France – Paraguay 7-3
France never really impressed anyone yet in a World Cup till this match. Everyone immediately knew who Just Fontaine was. A French player who scored 13 goals in this World Cup. Never again has any player scored so many goals in 1 World Cup. 6 of the 13 goals were scored in the first round. He scored his first World Cup hat-trick in this match. Roger Piantoni, Maryan Wisnieski, Raymond Kopa and Jean Vincent scored as well for France. Florencio Amarilla and Jorge Lino Romero scored for Paraguay. By the way, Justin Fontaine was only included in the starting lineup since his team player René Bliard hurt his ankle in training before the tournament! France advanced well deserved and was joined by Yugoslavia. Both teams had equal points which resulted in the use of the goal average rule. France had a higher average so they topped the pool.Pool 3
Wales – Hungary 1-1, 2-1
Wales was lucky to have the opportunity to play in this World Cup. But no one really expected they would be able to beat Hungary. The Hungarian Golden Team aka Magical Magyars from the 1954 World Cup suffered the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. Certain star players like Sándor Kocsis and Ferenc Puskás left their homeland and never played for the Hungarian team again. Nevertheless, it was expected Hungary would make it at least to the Quarter-Finals. The first match against Wales ended in a 1-1 draw. József Bozsik scored for Hungary and John Charles for Wales. Sweden topped the pool so a play-off had to be played between Wales and Hungary which both had equal points. It was the play-off rematch which Hungary lost due to 2 goals scored by Ivor Allchurch and Terry Medwin for Wales. Lajos Tichy scored for Hungary. If the match ended in a draw, Hungary would have advanced because of the goal average rule. Wales joined pool member Sweden to the Quarter-Finals.Pool 4
Brazil – England 0-0
Only in the 6th World Cup, there was a match where for the first time in World Cup history, 0 goals were scored. It was in this match between Brazil and England. It was the first time both teams met each other in a World Cup. It only took 4 days before the 2nd match was played which also ended in 0-0. This would be the match between Sweden and Wales. England didn’t make it to the Quarter-Finals. While Brazil topped the pool, Soviet Union and England had to play a play-off since both had equal points. Soviet Union won with 1-0. An event that contributed to England’s poor performance was the Munich air disaster in February 1958. Several key players lost their lives in this disaster.Brazil – Soviet Union 2-0
Ullevi, Gothenburg – attendance: 50,928
Pool 4 was considered as the strongest pool. Brazil was considered immensely strong and they would prove this was the case indeed. This match became memorable since 2 Brazilian legends made their debut: The then 17 years old Pelé and the then 24 years old Garrincha. But both didn’t score their first goal yet in this match. It was Brazilian Vavá who scored both goals. Because of the win, Brazil topped pool 4 and met Wales in the Quarter-Finals. Soviet Union advanced as well since they defeated England in a play-off match.Quarter-Final
Brazil – Wales 1-0
Brazil won because of 1 goal scored. It was Pelé who scored the first and only goal of the match. It was hard to break Wales’s defense, but the goal was finally scored in the 2nd half. Brazil advanced to the Semi-Finals and Pelé became an instant hero. He later described this goal, which was his first World Cup goal, as the most important goal of his career.Semi-Finals
France – Brazil 2-5
1 of the most exciting matches of the 1958 World Cup. Both legendary players Just Fontaine and Pelé in action. This was the first time they encountered each other in a World Cup. Both teams were highly in the attack mode. Vavá scored the first goal in 2 minutes after kick-off. Just Fontaine equalized 7 minutes later. It became rapidly clear Brazil was dominating the match. Didi scored Brazil’s 2nd goal and then it was Pelé who showed an outstanding performance. He scored a hat-trick in the 2nd half in a time span of 20 minutes. Roger Piantoni scored another goal for France, but their defeat was already a fact. France had to play the match for the third place.West Germany – Sweden 1-3
Ullevi, Gothenburg – attendance: 25,000
West Germany made it to the Semi-Final by scoring 1 goal against Yugoslavia. However their luck run out in this match. German striker Hans Schäfer scored the first goal of the match, but it was also their last. Swedish left winger Lennart Skoglund scored their only goal in the first half. Gunnar Gren and Kurt Hamrin scored each 1 goal in the last 10 minutes of the 2nd half. Sweden reached the Final for the first time. Match for third place
West Germany – France 3-6
France ended the 1958 World Cup in style. This match showed the best performance of Just Fontaine. He scored 4 goals in total, contributing highly to the end score of 6-3. Raymond Kopa scored a penalty and Yvon Douis scored 1 goal. Hans Cieslarczyk, Helmut Rahn and Hans Schäfer scored the 3 goals for West-Germany. Just Fontaine became the ultimate World Cup top scorer with 13 goals scored in total. This record would only be beaten in the 1974 World Cup by German Gerd Müller. However no player has beaten yet his record of having scored 13 goals in 1 single World cup.
World Cup 1958 Final
Sweden was playing their best World Cup in 1958 and only drew 1 match against Wales before reaching the Final. Brazil drew 1 match as well against England and won all the other matches.
Brazil and Sweden encountered each other for the 3rd time in a World Cup. Brazil defeated Sweden in 1938 and in 1950.
On the 28th of June, the Final was held in Stockholm in the Råsunda Fotbollstadion. The 1958 World Cup holds the record of the highest amount of goals scored in a World Cup Final: 7 goals in total. This meant lots of entertainment for the 51,800 attendees. This was by the way a record low amount!
The first goal of the Final was quickly scored in the 4th minute. It was Swedish captain and player Nils Liedholm who boosted the confidence of the Swedish team. This however changed quickly in the 9th minute by Brazilian Vavá who changed the score to 1-1. Vavá was not done yet, and changed the score again to 1-2 within 20 minutes (32′).
The 2nd half of the match contained 4 goals. It was the then 17 years old Pelé (nicknamed the Black Pearl) who became 1 of the star players of the match. He scored 2 goals in the Final. His first goal was scored 10 minutes after the 2nd half started (55′) and his 2nd goal, a header, was scored in injury time (90′). Before Pelé’s 2nd goal, it was Mário Zagallo who scored the 4th goal for Brazil (68′). Swedish player Agne Simonsson was able to score for the Swedish team (80′), but this didn’t change anything.
Brazil finally won their first World Cup with a 2-5 score, with many more World Cup wins to come. Star player Pelé became immediately famous worldwide, with many more memorable moments to come in World Cup history.
For Sweden, the 1958 World Cup Final was their first and only Final so far.
Not only were the Brazilians celebrating their first World Cup win in the stadium. It was also the Swedish people who were applauding the new world champions as a sign of respect. Because of this gracious and kind gesture from Sweden, Brazilian players did a lap around the field holding the Swedish flag.
2 interesting records were set in this Final. Both the youngest and oldest goalscorer in a World Cup Final played in this match. The youngest goalscorer was Pelé (17 years and 249 days) and the oldest goalscorer was Nils Liedholm (35 years, 263 days).
World Cup 1958 Records
Did You Know
World Cup 1958 FIFA Awards
World Cup 1958 FIFA All-Star Team
This is the only All-Star Team so far which includes players from Northern Ireland. France is included for the first time. For the Brazilian players Garrincha and Pelé it is their first time to be included. Both players would be included again in the upcoming All-Star Teams.
World Cup 1958 in Action
Greatest goals World Cup 1958 – Colour footage of Sweden vs Brazil Hinein! – Official 1958 World Cup Movie (in Portuguese)
World Cup English