Football World Cup 1958 » Winner – Teams – Statistics – History
The World Cup of 1958 was held in Sweden and was won by Brazil. Sixteen teams qualified for the tournament, playing thirty five matches in twelve venues over twenty two days from 8 to 29 June.
The total attendance for all matches was 819,810 and 126 goals were scored in all. This was the sixth staging of the World Cup after the competition was founded in 1930 by FIFA (the International Football Association) and held every four years thereafter, except for 1942 and 1946 when it was cancelled due to World War Two and its aftermath.
Participating Teams of the 1958 World Cup Finals
The sixteen national teams that qualified for the finals came from three of the five world football federations. UEFA (Europe) provided twelve finalists: Austria, Czechoslovakia, England, France, Hungary, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the Soviet Union, Sweden, Wales, West Germany and Yugoslavia.
From CONMEBOL (South America) came Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.
CCCF/NAFC (North America) was represented by Mexico. Sweden qualified automatically for the finals as did West Germany, the latter as reigning world champions from 1954 and Sweden as the host nation. 1958 is the only World Cup for which Wales has qualified for the finals and it also marks the only time all four home nations of the United Kingdom have been present at the finals.
In addition to Wales, Northern Ireland and the Soviet Union made their debuts at the 1958 competition. The participating teams were divided into four equal-sized groups or mini-leagues with two from each group going into the next round, the quarter finals, when the tournament began its knockout phase.
Winner of the World Cup 1958
Brazil lifted the World Cup trophy for the first time when it defeated the host nation Sweden in the World Cup Final on 29 June 1958. The match finished 5-2, five being the highest number of goals ever scored by a finalist before or since, and was played in front of a crowd of 49,737 people in the Råsunda Stadium in Solna, a suburb of Stockholm.
In the winning team, that day was a seventeen-year-old named Edson Arantes de Nascimento, better known as Pelé. Pelé scored two goals and still holds the record for the youngest goalscorer in a World Cup final.
At the beginning of the tournament, Brazil was involved in the very first goalless draw in World Cup history when it played England in a group match. The eventual champions won its other two group matches, against Austria and the Soviet Union, and topped the group with no goals conceded.
In the quarter-finals Wales was eliminated 1-0, a goal scored by Pelé, and in the semi-finals Brazil triumphed over France 5-2, a winning score to be repeated against the Swedes in its next match and which included a hat-trick from Pele.
The Story of 1958 FIFA World Cup
The group stage saw the elimination of two strong European footballing nations in England and Hungary, but recent events had weakened their squads. England had lost three internationals in the Munich Air Disaster in February whilst some of Hungary’s best players had fled after the unsuccessful uprising against the communist government in 1956.
So it was that both teams lost out in playoffs against teams finishing with the same number of points in their respective groups, England 0-1 against the Soviet Union and Hungary 1-2 against Wales. The teams who qualified for the quarter-finals with the Soviets and the Welsh were Brazil, France, Northern Ireland, Sweden, West Germany and Yugoslavia.
In the quarter-finals, together with the Brazilians’ victory over Wales, France beat Northern Ireland 4-0, Sweden defeated the Soviet Union 2-0 and West Germany overcame Yugoslavia 1-0 which meant that whilst Brazil faced France in one semi-final Sweden took on West Germany in the other.
Sweden defeated the reigning champions 3-1 and so advanced to play Brazil. West Germany lined up against France in the match for third place to be played the day before the final.
France defeated West Germany 6-3 with four goals coming from forward Just Fontaine, the team’s star player. In all Fontaine scored thirteen goals in the 1958 World Cup finals, a feat which no player has come close to equalling before or since.
To date Brazil’s victory in the final means that it is the only non-European national team to win a World Cup held in Europe. As well as Pelé other notable names in the squad included Garrincha and Mário Zagallo, but it was Pelé who became a world superstar. He was voted best young player of the tournament and his rise to prominence in Sweden in 1958 and subsequent achievements have led many to consider him the greatest footballer of all time.