PARIS, May 5 – 1958 was the year Brazil, so unfortunate in 1950, finally captured the world title they had been threatening to win for so long.In their first-round match against the Soviet Union, the South Americans introduced two new players, a bandy-legged little winger called Manuel Francisco dos Santos, known as Garrincha, and a 17-year-old called Edson Arantes do Nascimento, or more simply, Pele.
Nothing could stand in Brazil’s way. Wales, who along with Northern Ireland made a significant impact in this tournament, did well to limit them to a 1-0 quarter-final win.
France, another revelation, boasted a star striker of their own in Just Fontaine, who was to set an astonishing World Cup scoring record of 13 goals in a single tournament, but they were swept aside 6-3 in the semi-finals as Pele fired in a hat-trick.
Hosts Sweden rode the support of the home fans into the final by beating holders West Germany in the last four. But in the final they too were undone by the boys from Brazil, Pele and Vava grabbing two each in a 5-2 demolition.
At the end of the match, the Swedish crowd rose to salute the Brazilians, and in particular their young prodigy Pele, who was writing the first of many glorious chapters in World Cup history.
1958 WORLD CUP LEGENDS
Valdir Pereira DIDI
Brazil: b. 1928, d. 2001
Midfield star of the 1958 and 1962 World Cups who as a coach led Peru to the 1970 World Cup quarter-finals.
Spent six months in a wheelchair as a 14-year-old after a kick on his right leg resulted in an abscess and almost meant an amputation.
Perfected the curving free-kicks known as ‘folha seca’ (dry leaf) through hours of solitary practice.
Rated the world’s best player in 1958 and joined Real Madrid, where Alfredo di Stefano waged a determined campaign to boycott him.
He eventually returned to Brazil and helped Botafogo win the 1961 and 1962 league titles as well as playing in Brazil’s six games in the 1962 World Cup for a second winner’s medal.
France: b. 1933
Went to Sweden expecting to be a reserve but struck a perfect partnership with Raymond Kopa, scoring in every match and finishing up with a record 13 goals that has yet to be surpassed.
Born in Morocco he was signed by French side Nice. Not tall enough or good enough in the air to be a classic centre-forward, he was nevertheless quick and brave, which, coupled with fine anticipation and a powerful left-foot shot, made him a lethal marksman.
Opened with three goals in France’s 7-3 win against Paraguay, scored both goals in a 3-2 defeat by Yugoslavia, and got the winner against Scotland. Two more followed against Northern Ireland and he got the equaliser against Brazil before French stopper Robert Jonquet went off injured and Brazil pulled away to win 5-2.
Four goals against West Germany in the third-place play-off made him the leading scorer.
Scored 27 goals in 20 internationals for France in a career curtailed by two broken legs.
Coached the French national team for two years before going into business.
France: b. 1931
A superb outside-right who was even better as a deep-lying centre-forward. Kopa — his name is short for Kopazewski — was the son of a Polish miner who was determined to escape working at the coal face.
Initially criticised for dribbling too much, he had superb ball control and the pace to leave a beaten opponent behind.
Helped Reims reach the first European Cup final, which they lost 4-3 to Real Madrid in 1956, but he impressed the Spanish so much they signed him up.
Di Stefano was the chief playmaker at Real so Kopa had to revert to the right wing, winning three European Cup finals. It was only playing for France in the 1958 World Cup that he had the opportunity to show just what a complete forward he was. He supplied the bullets for Fontaine to fire home.
Returned to the right wing for Real Madrid, whom he helped beat Reims in the 1959 European Cup final before returning to the French side.
Finished his 45-cap career in 1962 and became a successful businessman.
1958 WORLD CUP SCORERS
Just Fontaine (FRA) 13
Pele (BRA) 6
Helmut Rahn (GER) 6
Peter McParland (NIR) 5
Vava (BRA) 5
Agne Simonsson (SWE) 4
Kurt Hamrin (SWE) 4
Zdenek Zikan (CZE) 4
Lajos Tichy (HUN) 4
1958 WORLD CUP TRIVIA
– This was the first World Cup without the founder, Jules Rimet, who died on October 16, 1956 in Paris aged 83.
– Sixteen finalists were split into the conventional four groups, with playoffs designed to determine the placings in the event of a tie.
– For the first and only time all four British countries qualified, with Wales and Northen Ireland, who ousted Italy, making their debuts. The Soviet Union, featuring the legendary Lev Yashin in goal, were also making their first appearance in the World Cup finals.
– England arrived under a shadow after eight Manchester United players were killed in an aircrash at Munich, West Germany in February 1958.
– The first ever recorded 0-0 draw in the World Cup was in Group Four when England held mighty Brazil in Gothenburg.
– Brazil introduced a revolutionary new way of playing, with a 4-2-4 formation based on dynamic wing play.
– Brazil’s 5-2 victory over Sweden remains the highest score in a World Cup final.
– The match was watched by King Gustav Adolf from the Royal Box and attracted a gate of 49,737.
– This was the first final to be contested by countries from different continents. Brazil were the first country to win outside their own continent.
– Top scorer was Just Fontaine of France with 13 goals, which is still a World Cup record.
1958 WORLD CUP WINNING SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Castilho, Gilmar
Defenders: Bellini (capt), De Sordi, Djalma Santos, Nilton Santos, Orlando, Zozimo
Midfielders: Didi, Dino, Mauro
Forwards: Canhoteiro, Dida, Garrincha, Gino, Joel, Mazola, Moacyr, Pele, Pepe, Vava, Zagalo