com’s complete coverage of the FIFA World Cup

com’s complete coverage of the FIFA World Cup

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

Frenchman Just Fontaine scored 13 goals in the tournament, still a record.

A new era began in World Cup soccer as 17 year old Edson Arantes do Nascimento, who played under the name Pel, burst onto the world scene to lead Brazil to its first World Cup triumph. After disappointing in 1950 and 1954, the Brazilians went out to make amends, finishing atop a difficult group that included Austria (3 0), England (0 0) and the Soviet Union (2 0). In the quarterfinals against Wales, Brazil worked away for an hour before Pel scored his first World Cup goal with a stroke of brilliance. In the semifinals, it was the tournament’s best offense in France against its best defense in Brazil; Pel devastated a French side that could do nothing to stop him scoring.

The Swedes’ spot in the final was surprising in that it was a side built from scratch for the tournament, after a great deal of debate having gone on before deciding whether to make professional players in the Italian league eligible for the competition. Sweden started faster in the final, and for the first time in the competition the Brazilians were behind. But thanks to goals by Zagallo, Vava and, above all, Pel (with the latter pair scoring twice), Brazil won its first FIFA World Cup 5 2. Brazil’s win marked the first time a team had taken the crown outside of its own continent.

Brazil roster: Gilmar dos Santos Neves, Joel Antonio Martins, Orlando de Carvalho Pecanha, Edson Arantes do Nascimento (Pele), Dino Sani, Djalma Santos, Evaldo Izidio Neto (Vava), Mario Zagallo, Jose Ely de Maranda (Zito), Joao Jose Altafini (Mazola), Hideraldo Luiz Bellini, Nilton de Sordi, Evaldo Alves Santarosa (Dida), Valdir Pereira (Didi), Manoel dos Santos (Garrincha), Carlos Jose Castilho, Mauro Ramos de Oliveira, Alvez Calazans (Zozimo), Jose Macia (Pepe), Moacir, Claudio Pinto and Valdemar Rodrigues Martins.

Fifty five nations competed for the 16 berths at the sixth FIFA World Cup, a record number at the time. Germany and Sweden qualified automatically, as defending champion and host, respectively. Among those failing to qualify were Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Uruguay and, most unexpectedly, Italy. The first round of the finals offered new faces such as Wales, Northern Ireland, the USSR and Sweden. The 16 teams were divided into four groups with each of the four teams playing the other; two teams from each group advanced to the single elimination quarterfinals.

Brazil led by the trio of Pele, Didi and Garrincha is considered by some to be the greatest team ever to take part in World Cup competition. But Just Fontaine of France was the tournament’s leading scorer with 13 goals. Pele and Germany’s Helmut Rahn had six goals each, while Pele’s teammate Vava had five. Gilmar was a stalwart for Brazil in goal. A panel of journalists voted France’s Raymond Kopa as the tournament’s top player. Midfielder Nils Liedholm> captained the surprising Swedes to the final.

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