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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

WORLD CUP 1958: WHEN PELE GUIDED BRAZIL TO ITS FIRST TITLE

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The qualification process for the 1958 World Cup gave the opportunity to a wider pool of nations.

It saw the qualification of all four British nations, the return of Argentina and the debut of the erstwhile Soviet Union. Former two-time champions Uruguay and Italy failed to qualify.

Three Muslim nations, Indonesia, Sudan and Turkey, refused to play Israel and lost out on any chances of qualifying for the main round. Israel, meanwhile, lost their knock-out game against Wales.

It was the second time that a European country hosted two consecutive editions of the tournament, upsetting the South American nations again.

FIFA decided to move the tournament to a different continent thereon.

This was also the tournament that gave Brazil their first World Cup title and the world the first glimpse of the legend that is Pele.

Although Pele, who was 17 at that time, did not play the first two games, he made up for it by scoring six goals in the remaining four.

Pele scored the winner against Wales in the quarter-final. It was not until his hat-trick against France in the semi-final that the world took notice of him.

In the final against Sweden, the youngster followed it up with two goals helping his side land a first global title in front of 50,000 fans at the Rasunda Stadium in Stockholm.

Highs

France’s Just Fontaine scored 13 goals in the tournament, a record for a player in a single World Cup that still stands.

Pele and Brazil launched their glorious journey at the World Cup by winning their first title. Pele became the youngest scorer at a World Cup when he scored against Wales at the age of 17 years and 239 days.

Seven goals were scored in a final, a record that still stands.

Lows

Argentina’s return to the World Cup was disastrous as they lost two matches and conceded 10 goals, finishing bottom of their group. The team was met with the wrath of angry fans when it returned home.

The average attendance for the matches was low compared with the previous few editions.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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