1958 – Sweden

World Cup 1958 Final

The Brazilian team – 1958 World Cup champion

World Cup 1958 Facts

World Cup 1958 Poster

1958 World Cup poster

  • Date: 8 June – 29 June
  • Final: Sweden – Brazil 2-5
  • 3rd place: West Germany – France 3-6
  • Teams: 16
  • Stadiums: 12
  • Host cities: 12
  • Matches played: 35
  • Goals: 126
  • Attendance: 919,580
  • Top scorer: Just Fontaine (France) (13 goals)

World Cup 1958 Background

4 countries showed interest in hosting the 6th World Cup: Mexico, Chile, Argentina and Sweden. A Swedish delegate however lobbied other countries successfully at the FIFA congress in 1950 in Rio de Janeiro. Therefore Sweden was granted on June 23 1950 to host the 1958 World Cup. No voting took place.

World Cup 1958 Background

12 host cities in Sweden

World Cup 1958 Participants

55 countries tried to be 1 of the 16 World Cup participants. Sweden qualified automatically since they were the World Cup host, and West Germany qualified because they won the previous World Cup.

FIFA introduced a new rule for the qualifications rounds: a country would only qualify if they had played at least 1 match. In previous World Cups, this did not always happen. Countries sometimes qualified automatically without having played any qualification matches.

9 places for Europe excluding Sweden and West Germany were allocated to the following countries: Northern Ireland, Scotland, England, Czechoslovakia, France, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Soviet Union and Austria. Soviet Union and Northern Ireland qualified for the first time.

3 places for South America were allocated to the following countries: Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil. Argentina qualified for the first time since 1934.

1 place for North/Central America and Caribbean was allocated to country Mexico.

Since in the AFC/CAF qualifications Turkey, Indonesia and Sudan refused to play against Israel, then AFC country Israel automatically advanced as the winner. However due to the new FIFA rule, which was that no country could qualify if they hadn’t played at least 1 match, Israel had to play a play-off match.

1 special World Cup intercontinental play-off had to be therefore played due to this FIFA rule. Israel’s opponent was UEFA country Wales, the runner-up of UEFA qualification Group 4 that was initially eliminated.

Wales won this match, which means no Asian country qualified for the 1958 World Cup. Wales was very lucky and is the only country in World cup history to have qualified after being initially eliminated! if Israel had played at least 1 qualification match, Israel would have probably gone to the World Cup since an intercontinental play-off match would have not been necessary. Wales would then not have the chance to qualify. Due to this unique chance, Wales qualified for the first and only time so far.

All the United Kingdom’s Home Nations (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) qualified all together for the first and last time so far.

World Cup 1958 Match Ball

1958 World Cup match ball “Top-Star” – Similar to the 1954 ball

World Cup 1958 Pools

The 1958 World Cup initiated a format which would be used in many World Cups to come. Not the complete format, but a huge part of it. The round-robin format that wasn’t used in the 1954 World Cup has returned in this World Cup. There are 4 pools with each containing 4 teams. All the teams of each pool had to play against each other without extra time. This means there would be 6 matches per pool and draws were allowed after 90 minutes of play.

1 point was rewarded for a draw, and 2 points for a win. When there are 2 top teams with equal points, lots would be normally drawn. However this time a new rule would be implemented. This new rule which is introduced in this tournament is called the goal average. The goal average can be calculated by dividing the number of goals scored  by the number of goals conceded. So when Brazil for example has scored 5 goals in the 3 pool matches, and 2 goals have been scored against them, then the goal average would be 2.5 (5/2). The team with the highest goal average would occupy the first place in the pool.

The teams on the first and 2nd place of each pool would advance to the Quarter-Finals, the knockout stage. If the 2nd and 3rd team in a pool obtained equal points, a play-off had to be played. If this match ended in a draw, the goal average would be used as well to determine who is going to the next round. If the goal averages were equal, lots would be drawn.

Sweden ’58 is the first World Cup where the number 1 teams of each pool would play against the number 2 teams of each pool in the Quarter-Finals. In every World Cup this rule has been used where sometimes number 2 teams had to play against number 3 or other number 2 teams.

This new format was introduced during the World Cup, since these rules had not been finalized before the 1958 World Cup started on the 8th of June.

Although this was the first time that the goal average rule was available to decide whether a country goes to the next round,  the rule has not be used after a play-off since all 3 play-offs in this World Cup ended in a win.

There were no seed teams in the 1958 World Cup. Each pool simply had to contain at least 1 Western European team, 1 Eastern European team, 1 of the 4 British teams (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) and 1 team from the American continent.

This was the last World Cup where the pools were referred as ‘pools‘. From the next World Cup on, pools would be referred as ‘groups‘.

The pools were as followed:

Pool 1Pool 2Pool 3Pool 4
West Germany
Northern Ireland
Soviet Union
World Cup 1958 Logo

1958 World Cup logo

World Cup 1958 Stadiums

12 host cities and 12 stadiums have been used to host the 1958 World Cup matches. There were doubts whether there was enough funding to build the Ullevi and Malmö Stadion especially for the tournament. Therefore the organisers arranged 2 stand by stadiums just in case. Both stadiums however were located in the countries Denmark (Copenhagen) and Norway (Oslo). If Denmark had qualified for the 1958 World Cup, the Danish stadium would have been used. But it turned out that Denmark wasn’t able to qualify, and the Ullevi and Malmö Stadion were finished successfully and on time.

The following 12 cities and 12 stadiums were used in Sweden:

Råsunda Fotbollstadion
Location: Stockholm
Opened: 1937
Capacity: 52,400
Matches: 8
Status: Swedish national football stadium closed down in 2012
Location: Gothenburg
Opened: 1958
Capacity: 30,000
Matches: 7
Status: One of the biggest stadiums in the Nordic countries
Malmö Stadion
Location: Malmö
Opened: 1958
Capacity: 30,000
Matches: 4
Status: Expanded in 1992 and is a multi-purpose stadium
Location: Eskilstuna
Opened: 1924
Capacity: 20,000
Matches: 1
Status: Renovated in 2002 and is a multi-purpose stadium
Location: Norrköping
Opened: 1904
Capacity: 20,000
Matches: 3
Status: Renovated in 2009 and is a multi-purpose stadium
Location: Sandviken
Opened: 1938
Capacity: 20,000
Matches: 2
Status: Is the northernmost stadium to have hosted a World Cup match
Location: Uddevalla
Opened: 1921
Capacity: 17,778
Matches: 2
Status: Still exists and is a multi-purpose stadium
Location: Helsingborg
Opened: 1898
Capacity: 16,000
Matches: 2
Status: Rebuilt in 1993 and 1997
Location: Borås
Opened: 1941
Capacity: 15,000
Matches: 2
Status: Mostly used for athletics and is a multi-purpose stadium
Örjans Vall
Location: Halmstad
Opened: 1922
Capacity: 15,000
Matches: 2
Status: Renovated in 1972 and was almost demolished due to a new stadium, but this wasn't built
Location: Örebro
Opened: 1923
Capacity: 13,000
Matches: 1
Status: Goes by the name Behrn Arena and has gone through many developments
Location: Västerås
Opened: 1932
Capacity: 10,000
Matches: 2
Status: Still exists and is a multi-purpose stadium

World Cup 1958 Schedule

Pool 1 matches
Date Home Team Results Away Team
08 June Argentina 1:3 (1:2) Germany FR
08 June Northern Ireland 1:0 (1:0) Czechoslovakia
11 June Argentina 3:1 (1:1) Northern Ireland
11 June Germany FR 2:2 (0:2) Czechoslovakia
15 June Czechoslovakia 6:1 (3:0) Argentina
15 June Germany FR 2:2 (1:1) Northern Ireland
17 June Northern Ireland 2:1 a.e.t. (1:1, 1:1) Czechoslovakia
Pool 1 results
TeamPlayedWonDrawLostGoals ForGoals AgainstPoints
Northern Ireland4211665
Germany FR3120754
Pool 2 matches
Date Home Team Results Away Team
08 June Yugoslavia 1:1 (1:0) Scotland
08 June France 7:3 (2:2) Paraguay
11 June Yugoslavia 3:2 (1:1) France
11 June Paraguay 3:2 (2:1) Scotland
15 June Paraguay 3:3 (1:2) Yugoslavia
15 June France 2:1 (2:0) Scotland
Pool 2 results
TeamPlayedWonDrawLostGoals ForGoals AgainstPoints
Pool 3 matches
Date Home Team Results Away Team
08 June Sweden 3:0 (1:0) Mexico
08 June Hungary 1:1 (1:1) Wales
11 June Mexico 1:1 (0:1) Wales
12 June Sweden 2:1 (1:0) Hungary
15 June Sweden 0:0 Wales
15 June Hungary 4:0 (1:0) Mexico
17 June Wales 2:1 (0:1) Hungary
Pool 3 results
TeamPlayedWonDrawLostGoals ForGoals AgainstPoints
Pool 4 matches
Date Home Team Results Away Team
08 June Soviet Union 2:2 (1:0) England
08 June Brazil 3:0 (1:0) Austria
11 June Soviet Union 2:0 (1:0) Austria
11 June Brazil 0:0 England
15 June Brazil 2:0 (1:0) Soviet Union
15 June England 2:2 (0:1) Austria
17 June Soviet Union 1:0 (0:0) England
Pool 4 results
TeamPlayedWonDrawLostGoals ForGoals AgainstPoints
Soviet Union4211545
Date Home Team Results Away Team
19 June Brazil 1:0 (0:0) Wales
19 June France 4:0 (1:0) Northern Ireland
19 June Germany FR 1:0 (1:0) Yugoslavia
19 June Sweden 2:0 (0:0) Soviet Union
Date Home Team Results Away Team
24 June Sweden 3:1 (1:1) Germany FR
24 June Brazil 5:2 (2:1) France
Match for third place
Date Home Team Results Away Team
28 June France 6:3 (3:1) Germany FR
Date Home Team Results Away Team
29 June Brazil 5:2 (2:1) Sweden

World Cup 1958 Memorable Matches

Pool Matches

Pool 1

Northern Ireland – Czechoslovakia 1-0, 2-1
Örjans Vall, Halmstad – attendance: 10,647

Pool 1 contained the countries West Germany, Northern Ireland, Argentina and Czechoslovakia. Surely it was little Northern Ireland which didn’t stand a chance against the 3 respectable, experienced and strong teams. But what happened was, that West Germany was the only country to go for sure to the Quarter-Finals after all pool matches have been played. Northern Ireland and Czechoslovakia had to play an extra play-off to determine who would join West Germany to the next round. Argentina surprisingly was out. Northern Ireland’s first encounter with Czechoslovakia resulted in 1-0 scored by striker Wilbur Cush for Northern Ireland. The play-off was also won by Northern Ireland due to 2 goals scored by striker Peter McParland. 1 goal was scored in extra time. Zdeněk Zikán scored the only goal for Czechoslovakia . The final score of 2-1 resulted in the elimination of Czechoslovakia. The elimination of both Argentina and Czechoslovakia in 1958 is considered as a big upset in World Cup history.

Pool 2

France – Paraguay 7-3
Idrottsparken, Norrköping – attendance: 16,500

France never really impressed anyone yet in a World Cup till this match. Everyone immediately knew who Just Fontaine was. A French player who scored 13 goals in this World Cup. Never again has any player scored so many goals in 1 World Cup. 6 of the 13 goals were scored in the first round. He scored his first World Cup hat-trick in this match. Roger Piantoni, Maryan Wisnieski, Raymond Kopa and Jean Vincent scored as well for France. Florencio Amarilla and Jorge Lino Romero scored for Paraguay. By the way, Justin Fontaine was only included in the starting lineup since his team player René Bliard hurt his ankle in training before the tournament! France advanced well deserved and was joined by Yugoslavia. Both teams had equal points which resulted in the use of the goal average rule. France had a higher average so they topped the pool.

Pool 3

Wales – Hungary 1-1, 2-1
Råsunda Stadium, Solna – attendance: 20,000

Wales was lucky to have the opportunity to play in this World Cup. But no one really expected they would be able to beat Hungary. The Hungarian Golden Team aka Magical Magyars from the 1954 World Cup suffered the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. Certain star players like Sándor Kocsis and Ferenc Puskás left their homeland and never played for the Hungarian team again. Nevertheless, it was expected Hungary would make it at least to the Quarter-Finals. The first match against Wales ended in a 1-1 draw. József Bozsik scored for Hungary and John Charles for Wales. Sweden topped the pool so a play-off had to be played between Wales and Hungary which both had equal points. It was the play-off rematch which Hungary lost due to 2 goals scored by Ivor Allchurch and Terry Medwin for Wales. Lajos Tichy scored for Hungary. If the match ended in a draw, Hungary would have advanced because of the goal average rule. Wales joined pool member Sweden to the Quarter-Finals.

Pool 4  The Battle of the Giants (giganternas kamp)

Brazil – England 0-0
Ullevi, Gothenburg – attendance: 40,895

Only in the 6th World Cup, there was a match where for the first time in World Cup history, 0 goals were scored. It was in this match between Brazil and England.  It was the first time both teams met each other in a World Cup. It only took 4 days before the 2nd match was played which also ended in 0-0. This would be the match between Sweden and Wales. England didn’t make it to the Quarter-Finals. While Brazil topped the pool, Soviet Union and England had to play a play-off since both had equal points. Soviet Union won with 1-0. An event that contributed to England’s poor performance was the Munich air disaster in February 1958. Several key players lost their lives in this disaster. Since pool 4 contained strong teams, Swedish hosts named the group giganternas kamp which means the ‘Battle of the Giants’. The term ‘Group of Death’ didn’t exist yet back in 1958, but the Battle of the Giants basically means the Group of Death.

Brazil – Soviet Union 2-0
Ullevi, Gothenburg – attendance: 50,928

Pool 4 was considered as the strongest pool. Brazil was considered immensely strong and they would prove this was the case indeed. This match became memorable since 2 Brazilian legends made their debut: The then 17 years old Pelé and the then 24 years old Garrincha. But both didn’t score their first goal yet in this match. It was Brazilian Vavá who scored both goals. Because of the win, Brazil topped pool 4 and met Wales in the Quarter-Finals. Soviet Union advanced as well since they defeated England in a play-off match.


Brazil – Wales 1-0
Ullevi, Gothenburg – attendance: 25,000

Brazil won because of 1 goal scored. It was Pelé who scored the first and only goal of the match. It was hard to break Wales’s defense, but the goal was finally scored in the 2nd half. Brazil advanced to the Semi-Finals and Pelé became an instant hero. He later described this goal, which was his first World Cup goal, as the most important goal of his career.


France – Brazil 2-5
Råsunda Stadium, Solna – attendance: 27,000

1 of the most exciting matches of the 1958 World Cup. Both legendary players Just Fontaine and Pelé in action. This was the first time they encountered each other in a World Cup. Both teams were highly in the attack mode. Vavá scored the first goal in 2 minutes after kick-off. Just Fontaine equalized 7 minutes later. It became rapidly clear Brazil was dominating the match. Didi scored Brazil’s 2nd goal and then it was Pelé who showed an outstanding performance. He scored a hat-trick in the 2nd half in a time span of 20 minutes. Roger Piantoni scored another goal for France, but their defeat was already a fact. France had to play the match for the third place.

West Germany – Sweden 1-3
Ullevi, Gothenburg – attendance: 25,000

West Germany made it to the Semi-Final by scoring 1 goal against Yugoslavia. However their luck run out in this match. German striker Hans Schäfer scored the first goal of the match, but it was also their last. Swedish left winger Lennart Skoglund scored their only goal in the first half. Gunnar Gren and Kurt Hamrin scored each 1 goal in the last 10 minutes of the 2nd half. Sweden reached the Final for the first time.

Match for third place

West Germany – France 3-6
Ullevi, Gothenburg – attendance: 25,000

France ended the 1958 World Cup in style. This match showed the best performance of Just Fontaine. He scored 4 goals in total, contributing highly to the end score of 6-3. Raymond Kopa scored a penalty and Yvon Douis scored 1 goal. Hans Cieslarczyk, Helmut Rahn and Hans Schäfer scored the 3 goals for West-Germany. Just Fontaine became the ultimate World Cup top scorer with 13 goals scored in total. This record would only be beaten in the 1974 World Cup by German Gerd Müller. However no player has beaten yet his record of having scored 13 goals in 1 single World cup.

World Cup 1958 Final

Sweden was playing their best World Cup in 1958 and only drew 1 match against Wales before reaching the Final. Brazil drew 1 match as well against England and won all the other matches.

Brazil and Sweden encountered each other for the 3rd time in a World Cup. Brazil defeated Sweden in 1938 and in 1950.

World Cup 1958 Final

The 1958 Brazilian team

On the 28th of June, the Final was held in Stockholm in the Råsunda Fotbollstadion. The 1958 World Cup holds the record of the highest amount of goals scored in a World Cup Final: 7 goals in total. This meant lots of entertainment for the 51,800 attendees. This was by the way a record low amount!

The first goal of the Final was quickly scored in the 4th minute. It was Swedish captain and player Nils Liedholm who boosted the confidence of the Swedish team. This however changed quickly in the 9th minute by Brazilian Vavá who changed the score to 1-1. Vavá was not done yet, and changed the score again to 1-2 within 20 minutes (32′).

World Cup 1958 Final

Pelé trying to dribble his way out

The 2nd half of the match contained 4 goals. It was the then 17 years old Pelé (nicknamed the Black Pearl) who became 1 of the star players of the match. He scored 2 goals in the Final. His first goal was scored 10 minutes after the 2nd half started (55′) and his 2nd goal, a header, was scored in injury time (90′). Before Pelé’s 2nd goal, it was Mário Zagallo who scored the 4th goal for Brazil (68′). Swedish player Agne Simonsson was able to score for the Swedish team (80′), but this didn’t change anything.

Brazil finally won their first World Cup with a 2-5 score, with many more World Cup wins to come. Star player Pelé became immediately famous worldwide, with many more memorable moments to come in World Cup history.

World Cup 1958 Final

Orlando, an emotional Pelé, Gilmar and Didi after the Final

For Sweden, the 1958 World Cup Final was their first and only Final so far.

Not only were the Brazilians celebrating their first World Cup win in the stadium. It was also the Swedish people who were applauding the new world champions as a sign of respect. Because of this gracious and kind gesture from Sweden, Brazilian players did a lap around the field holding the Swedish flag.

World Cup 1958 Final

Hilderaldo Bellini: the first captain to lift the trophy up high

2 interesting records were set in this Final.  Both the youngest and oldest goalscorer in a World Cup Final played in this match. The youngest goalscorer was Pelé (17 years and 249 days) and the oldest goalscorer was Nils Liedholm (35 years, 263 days).

World Cup 1958 Final

Brazil = Yellow (Coach: Vicente Feola)
Sweden = Blue (Coach: George Raynor)

World Cup 1958 Records

  • 3 countries qualified for the first time: Soviet Union, Northern Ireland and Wales
  • Pool match Brazil against England is the first World Cup match where 0 goals have been scored
  • First and last World Cup so far for Wales
  • Only World Cup so far held in Europe, which was not won by an European country
  • Only time so far a South American country won a World Cup on European soil
  • The Final has the greatest victory margin (3) together with the 1970 and 1998 Final

  • 51,800 attendees is a record low attendance in a Final
  • First time Brazil won a World Cup
  • Brazil is the 4th country to win a World Cup
  • Brazilian player Pelé became the youngest player, the youngest scorer in a World Cup Final and the youngest World Cup winner with the age of 17 and 249 days
  • Pelé is so far the youngest player in World Cup history to have scored a hat-trick (against France) with the age of 17 and 244 days
  • Pelé and German Uwe Seeler are the only players to have scored in 4 World Cups, coincidentally both in 1958, 1962, 1966 and 1970
  • Pelé is the only player to have won 3 World Cups (1958, 1962, 1970)
  • The Final has the highest number of goals scored by the winning team (5) and the highest number of total goals scored (7) of all World Cup Finals
  • Swedish player Nils Liedholm (35 years old) is the oldest player to have scored in a World Cup Final
  • This is the only World Cup where Sweden made it to the Final
  • French player Just Fontaine, the all-time topscorer of the World Cup, scored 13 goals in this World Cup, the highest amount of goals so far in 1 single World Cup
  • Just Fontaine is the 3rd player in World Cup history to have scored in every match
  • Just Fontaine is the 2nd player in World Cup history to have scored 2 World Cup hat-tricks, both were scored in the 1958 World Cup
  • Brazilian Mário Zagallo is the first person to have won the World Cup Final as a player (1958) and as a coach (1970)
  • Scottish player Bobby Collins scored the 500th World Cup goal in the pool match against Paraguay (2-3)
  • Although Mexico drew their 2nd pool match, they have the record of having lost 9 consecutive World Cup matches from 1930 till 1958

  • Both the 1958 and 1938 World Cups have the record of highest number of rematches: 3

Did You Know

  • This World Cup received international television coverage which made it possible for the first time, to watch the matches from many countries around the globe
  • Last World Cup which contained rematches
  • Only World Cup where Italy failed to qualify (Because of Northern Ireland)
  • Paraguay would only qualify for their next World Cup in 1986
  • Northern Ireland would only qualify for their next World Cup in 1982
  • Austria would only qualify for their next World Cup in 1978
  • Hungary were missing good players (Ferenc Puskás, Sándor Kocsis and Zoltán Czibor) from the previous World Cup Final since they moved to Spain after the Soviet invasion, they would never play for Hungary again
  • In 1 match (Argentina – West Germany) Argentina had to play in the kit of a local team (yellow) since they didn’t bring their away kit, this is the first of 2 times a team didn’t play a World Cup match in their own official kit
  • This was the World Cup that introduced legendary Brazilian player Pelé to the world
  • Brazilian captain Hilderaldo Bellini is the first champion to lift the Jules Rimet trophy up high, he did this so the journalists could see it but the gesture became a symbol of triumph
  • Only World Cup so far where United Kingdom’s Home Nations: Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland participated together
  • Northern Irish players were initially not allowed by the FA to play matches on Sunday the ‘holy day’ since it was against Irish law, the rule however was eventually cancelled
  • Top-Star match ball was made by local supplier Sydsvenska Läder och Remfabriken in Sweden
  • Top-Star match ball has a similar design as the 1954 World Cup ball and also contains 18 leather panels

World Cup 1958 FIFA Awards

  • Golden Ball: Didi (Brazil)
  • Silver Ball: Pelé (Brazil)
  • Bronze Ball: Just Fontaine (France)
  • Golden Boot: Just Fontaine (France) (13 goals)
  • Silver Boot: Pelé (Brazil), Helmut Rahn (West Germany) (6 goals)
  • Bronze Boot: Vavá (Brazil), Peter McParland (Northern Ireland) (5 goals)
  • Best Young Player Award: Pelé (17 years old) (Brazil)
World Cup 1958 FIFA Awards

Didi (Brazil)

World Cup 1958 FIFA Awards

Just Fontaine (France)


World Cup 1958 FIFA All-Star Team

This is the only All-Star Team so far which includes players from Northern Ireland. France is included for the first time. For the Brazilian players Garrincha and Pelé it is their first time to be included. Both players would be included again in the upcoming All-Star Teams.

Harry Gregg (Northern Ireland)Djalma Santos (Brazil)
Bellini (Brazil)
Nílton Santos (Brazil)
Danny Blanchflower (Northern Ireland)
Didi (Brazil)
Gunnar Gren (Sweden)
Raymond Kopa (France)
Pelé (Brazil)
Garrincha (Brazil)
Just Fontaine (France)

World Cup 1958 in Action

Greatest goals

World Cup 1958 – Colour footage of Sweden vs Brazil

Hinein! – Official 1958 World Cup Movie (in Portuguese)

Share with World Cup Fans!

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Delicious
  • Reddit