Football - World Cup 1958 Facts

Posted in Sport

After Switzerland, Sweden was named host country for the 1958 FIFA World Cup™ - a Cup which, on 16 October 1956, lost its founding father, when Jules Rimet died in Paris at the age of 83.

Brazil, inspired by a 17-year-old youngster called Pel?, won the trophy for the first time. Pel? scored against Wales, hit a hat-trick in a 5-2 win over France in the semi-finals and struck two more in the final, a 5-2 triumph over the hosts.

Frenchman Just Fontaine scored 13 goals in the tournament, a record which still stands. It was also the first FIFA World Cup™ in which a match ended in a 0-0 draw: the first round game between England and Brazil.

By television to the world

For the first time the FIFA World Cup received international television coverage and the world could watch the mastery of the stars of modern football: Kopa, Fontaine, Charlton, Yashin, Garrincha, Vava and Pel?, who at 17 scored six goals, including two in the final when the Brazilians, at last, were crowned world champions.

The sixth FIFA World Cup was also to be marked by a record number of countries taking part (55). The qualifying rounds threw up some startling surprises: Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Uruguay and, most unexpectedly, Italy, all failed to qualify. The first round of the finals offered the public the chance to discover new footballing nations such as Wales, Northern Ireland, the USSR and Sweden.

Most notably, however, it was the team from France which caught the public's eye with its incisive attacking trio of Kopa, Piantoni and Fontaine. The "Blues" were to garner a string of honours: Best goal-scorer (Just Fontaine-13 goals; Fontaine's record stands to this day, unlikely ever to be suppressed), best attack (23 goals) and best player, elected by an international panel, Raymond Kopa. France finished top of its group in the first round, scoring 11 goals in three games. The fairy-tale ended in the semi-finals, however, against the competition favourites Brazil.

After consecutive disappointments in 1950 and 1954, the Brazilians set out to make amends. They finished on top of a difficult group which included Austria (3-0), England (0-0) and the USSR (2-0). In the quarter-finals against Wales, Brazil pegged away for an hour before a stroke of brilliance by a young 17-year old made the difference. This was the first FIFA World Cup goal scored by Pel? - a star was born. In the semis, Pel? went on to devastate a French side which could do nothing to stop him scoring.

Mercenaries and magicians

Once again Brazil had made it to the final, this time against Sweden. The Swedes' presence in the final was astonishing in that it was a side built from scratch for the tournament, a great deal of debate having gone on before deciding whether to make professional players in the Italian league eligible for FIFA World Cup competition. Yet the Swedes proved to be a solid, well-built unit, beating West Germany, the defending Champions, in the semi-finals (3-1). In the "mercenaries" vs. "magicians" final, it was the former who started more strongly. For the first time in the competition the Brazilians were behind. Not for long, however: thanks to goals by Zagallo, Vava and above all Pel?, who scored twice, Brazil won its first FIFA World Cup (5-2). FIFA President Arthur Drewry presented the gold statuette to the Brazilian captain Bellini.

Did You Know?

After TV coverage had been introduced for the World Cup games in Switzerland in 1954, the world entered a new era. Eight years after the disappointment of Rio, Brazil proved unstoppable with a 17 year-old Pele in the team and won the first of their four titles. Another of the players was a certain Mario Zagallo, who was there again in 1962 as a player and then in 1970 as coach, when the team took home the Jules Rimet Cup forever after their third win.

That new names will appear near the top of the list of goal-scorers in 2002 seems unlikely; still in the lead are Gerd M?ller (Germany) with 14 goals (1970 and 1974) and Just Fontaine (France) with 13 in 1958. Pele scored at least once in each of his four World Cup appearances (1958-70), and has a total of 12 to his credit. Best among active players is the Argentinean centre forward Gabriel Batistuta, on nine.

FourthGermany FR
adidas Golden Shoe winnerJust Fontaine (France) 1


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