world cup 1958

The 1958 FIFA World Cup was the sixth FIFA World Cup, and was played in Sweden from 8 to 29 June 1958. It was the first FIFA World Cup to be played in a Nordic country. Brazil beat Sweden 5–2 in the final in Råsunda Stadium, Solna to claim their first title.

Host selection

Argentina, Chile, Mexico, and Sweden expressed interest in hosting the tournament. However by the time of the 1950 FIFA congress held in Rio de Janeiro Sweden was awarded the 1958 tournament unopposed.

Fifty five1 countries entered the qualifying competition. As several teams had qualified for previous World Cup finals without playing a match due to the withdrawl of their opponents, FIFA imposed a new rule that no team could qualify without playing at least one match.

The hosts, Sweden, and the defending champions, West Germany, qualified automatically. Of the remaining 14 places, nine were allocated to Europe, three to South America, one to North/Central America, and one to Asia/Africa.



Qualifying

The 27 European teams were divided into 9 groups, each featuring 3 teams with the Soviet Union and Iceland took part for the first time. Wales were drawn into Group 4 where they would face Czechoslovakia and East Germany for the first time.

Uefa qualifying Group 4

no.datescorescorers (wales)venue 
21601/05/1957Wales 1-0 CzechoslovakiaVernonNinian Park, CardiffWCQ
21719/05/1957East Germany 2-1 WalesM CharlesZentralstadion, LeipzigWCQ
21826/05/1957Czechoslovakia 2-0 Wales Stadion Československé Armády, Strahov, PragueWCQ
 06/06/1957Czechoslovakia 3-1 East Germany BrnoWCQ
21925/09/1957Wales 4-1 East GermanyPalmer (3, 1pen), C JonesNinian Park, CardiffWCQ
 27/10/1957East Germany 1-4 Czechoslovakia Zentralstadion, LeipzigWCQ


Final table
  PWDLFAPts2
1.Czechoslovakia4301936
2.Wales4202654
3.East Germany41035122


Play-Off

Israel's opponents had withdrawn in succession. Firstly Turkey withdrew in protest at being placed in the Asian qualifying group, Indonesia withdrew after FIFA rejected their request to play against Israel on neutral ground and finally Sudan refused to play against Israel because of the Arab League boycott of Israel.

Because of FIFA's ruling that no country bar the hosts and holders should be allowed to advance to the World Cup Finals without playing a single match it was decided Israel would have to meet one of the runners-up which was to be determined by the lot.

Uruguay and Italy refused to take part in the draw and Belgium, the first country drawn out of the Jules Rimet Trophy, declined the invitation. Wales were the next to be drawn and agreed to face Israel in a two-legged play-off.

World Cup Eur/Asia Play-Off

no.datescorescorers (wales)venue 
22215/01/1958Israel 0-2 WalesI Allchurch, BowenNational Stadium, Ramat Gan, Tel AvivWCQ
22305/02/1958Wales 2-0 IsraelI Allchurch, C JonesNinian Park, CardiffWCQ


World Cup Finals

Seeding for the group stages of the 1958 FIFA World Cup was made on a geographical basis with each group containing one western European team, one eastern European team, one of the four British teams that had qualified, and one from the Americas.

Wales were drawn to face Hungary, Mexico and Sweden.

World Cup Group C

no.datescorescorers (wales)venue 
22508/06/1958Hungary 1-1 WalesJ CharlesJernvallen, Sandviken, SwedenWC
22611/06/1958Mexico 1-1 WalesI AllchurchRåsunda Fotbollstadion, Stockholm, SwedenWC
22715/06/1958Sweden 0-0 Wales Råsunda Fotbollstadion, Stockholm, SweWC


Group table
  PWDLFAPts2
1.Sweden3210515
2.Hungary31116333
3.Wales31113333
4.Mexico3012181


1958 World Cup Group C (play-off)

no.datescorescorers (wales)venue 
22817/06/1958Hungary 1-2 WalesI Allchurch, MedwinMalmö Stadion, MalmöWC


1958 World Cup Quarter Final

no.datescorescorers (wales)venue 
22919/06/1958Brazil 1-0 Wales Nya Ullevi Stadion, GothenburgWC


Wales and the 1958 World Cup

Qualifying campaign

FIFA decided not to use the 1958 Home Championships as a qualifying tournament for the 1958 FIFA World Cup meaning Wales joined the 27 European teams for an open draw. Wales were drawn into Group 4 where they would face Czechoslovakia and East Germany for the first time.

Colin Webster of Manchester United made his debut as Wales opened their campaign with a 1-0 victory over Czechoslovakia, however the baffling decision by the FAW to travel to Leipzig and Prague in May 1957 with just 13 players, would see an end to Wales' hopes of qualification from the group.

Des Palmer and Ray Daniel were late call-ups for the second match in Prague, Palmer making his debut alongside Swansea Town club mate, Dai Thomas, whilst Daniel won the last of his 21 caps for Wales.

By the time East Germany arrived in Cardiff they had already lost twice to Czechoslovakia meaning the Czechs had already won the group. Des Palmer, winning his second cap because of Juventus' refusal to release John Charles, became the seventh player to score a hat-trick for Wales.

Play off

Following the withdrawl of Israel's opponents, FIFA's ruling that no country bar the hosts and holders should be allowed to advance to the World Cup Finals without playing a single match saw a draw between all of the group runners-up to determine who would play Israel for the right to advance to the 1958 FIFA World Cup in Sweden.

Belgium were the first country drawn out of the Jules Rimet Trophy but they declined the invitation. Wales were the next to be drawn and agreed to face Israel in a two-legged play-off.

Wales won both legs 2-0 with Ron Hewitt of Cardiff City making his debut in the home leg.

World Cup Finals

Seeding for the group stages of the 1958 FIFA World Cup was made on a geographical basis with each group containing one western European team, one eastern European team, one of the four British teams that had qualified, and one from the Americas.

Wales were drawn to face Hungary, Mexico and Sweden for the first time.

Wales' travelled to Sweden with a squad of 18 players - four short of the 22 allowed by FIFA. John Charles' participation was in the balance right up to the opening match as Italy had failed to qualify and his club, Juventus, were initially blocked from releasing him due to the Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio arranging a cup competition to fill the unexpected empty dates.

John Elsworthy (Ipswich Town) was named as members of Wales' squad but did not travel to Sweden.

Wales' record goalscorer at the time, Trevor Ford who was playing for Dutch club PSV Eindhoven, was overlooked for selection as he was banned by the Football League for admitting in his 1956 autobiography to receiving illegal payments whilst playing for Sunderland.

Notes

1Of the 55 countries who entered, Chinese Taipei, Cyprus, Egypt, Turkey and Venezuela withdrew without playing a single match. The entries of Ethiopia and the Korea People's Republic were not accepted by FIFA.

22pts for a win / 1pt for a draw

3In the days before Fifa used goal difference to separate teams level on points, play-off matches were arranged. Wales faced Hungary for a second time within the space of nine days for the right to face Brazil in the World Cup quarter finals.