History of the World Cup 1930-1958 - 1958 Sweden: He Scored Six Goals Including Two in the Final.The World Meets Pele for the First time.(Football)
THIS was perhaps the birth of the modern World Cup as we know it today... and it was all down to one man.
The 1958 tournament saw Brazil take the honours for the first time and introduce Pele to the rest of the world.
Pele's contribution to the global game went down in football history. But it was in Scandinavia 44 years ago that his skills first came to the fore.
It was not just Pele, just a teenager in Sweden, who starred for Brazil. They had Didi and Garrincha and started comfortably against Austria, beating them 3-0 in the same group as England who drew with Russia in their first game.
Simonian and Ivanov gave the Russians a solid lead but England staged a fine comeback. West Bromwich Albion's Derek Kevan pulled one back though and Tom Finney capped an inspired performance with a late penalty to force a 2-2 draw.
Northern Ireland, with Peter McParland and Derek Dougan in their line-up, sprung an early shock by beating Czechoslovakia thanks to a goal by Wilbur Cush. A draw against Germany and defeat by Argentina was not enough though in a tight finish to the group. However, they made it into the play-offs where they beat the Czechs thanks to two goals from Aston Villa striker McParland.
But Wales made it to the quarter-finals after drawing all of their group games then beating Hungary in a play-off.
They were to lose out in the last eight to Brazil, where Pele scored the only goal of the game.
England met Brazil in their group but it was not a memorable game. The match finished goal-less with England unlucky not to be awarded a penalty after early Brazil pressure.
All four of the home nations were represented in Sweden, but Scotland finished bottom of a group won by France.
Johnny Haynes and Kevan scored for England in a 2-2 draw but it was not enough to go through. They finished level with Russia who beat them 1-0 in a play-off although England were unlucky to go out.
Pele came into his own in the semi-finals, hitting a hat-trick as Brazil swept past a French side for whom Fontaine had promised so much. Brazil won 5-2 to set up a final with hosts Sweden who had beaten Germany 3-1 in their last four clash.
And the Brazilians gave the world a taste of the sort of football that was to live on to the present day. …