World Cups: 1958 - 1966

2006-05-31 14:32

London - This is the second part of a brief history of the World Cup finals covering the tournaments from 1958 to 1966:

SWEDEN 1958

Final: BRAZIL 5 SWEDEN 2

Four years previously, Hungary were the hottest-ever favourites to lift the World Cup, but they never had a chance to make amends for their failure in the 1954 final.

Two years after that disappointment, the 1956 uprising against the Soviet Union meant their great team was scattered to the winds.

Instead, there were new kids on the block. Or, more specifically, one new kid on the block, a 17-year-old Brazilian called Pele who was about to transform the World Cup.

His story is too well-known to repeat here. Suffice to say he made his World Cup debut in a 2-0 win against the Soviet Union in Gothenburg on June 15, 1958, and went on to become the undisputed master of world football.

Garrincha, 'the Little Bird' with the deformed legs and incredible dribbling ability, also made his first appearance in the same match and bamboozled the Soviets as Vava scored twice.

Brazil had arrived.

West Germany, the champions, made it through to the semis where they lost 3-1 to the hosts in Gothenburg while Brazil saw off France 5-2 in the other semi-final, with Pele scoring a hat-trick.

The stage was set for the final in Stockholm on June 29 and, in front of King Gustav of Sweden, Pele and Brazil were crowned kings of the soccer world for the first time.

Sweden took the lead with a goal of individual brilliance from skipper Nils Liedholm but Brazil stormed back to win 5-2 with Pele scoring twice.

It was the first time a team had won the World Cup outside its own hemisphere, a record that remained intact until Brazil equalled it themselves by winning in Asia in 2002.

CHILE 1962

Final: BRAZIL 3 CZECHOSLOVAKIA 1

Argentina, Chile and West Germany applied to stage the 1962 finals and for a while it looked as though Argentina would win Fifa?s vote.

But in May 1960 Chile was devastated by a series of earthquakes which cost thousands of lives.

Chilean FA president Carlos Dittborn famously pleaded to Fifa: "We have nothing, that is why we must have the World Cup."

Fifa agreed and Chile embarked on a massive building programme to stage the seventh finals in the southern hemisphere winter of 1962.

Unfortunately, Dittborn was not there to see them. Aged 41, he died of a heart attack a month before the tournament began.

This was a very different World Cup from the three staged in the 1950s.

Defences were tighter, growing professionalism had changed the attitude of many players and the overall goal tally dropped from a carefree high of 140 in 1954 to a meagre 89 in 1962.

But Brazil were still imperious.

After winning the World Cup in Europe in 1958, they now had the easier task of winning again closer to home.

Pele and Garrincha were four years older, more experienced and even more difficult to play against. Brazil again began as the tournament favourites.

Chile, taking advantage of being hosts, also had a good World Cup, as did Czechoslovakia.

The Soviet Union, who had won the first European Championship in 1962, had the incomparable Lev Yashin in goal and were also expected to do well. But they went out to Chile in the quarter-finals.

Brazil won a titanic semi-final against Chile 4-2 but were without the injured Pele, who also missed the final, while the Czechs saw off Yugoslavia in the other semi.

Josef Masopust put Czechoslovakia ahead against Brazil early in the final in Santiago but Brazil stormed back to win with goals from Amarildo, Vava, who became the first player to score in two finals, and Zito.

They were already being widely tipped to win the World Cup for the third successive tournament in 1966.

ENGLAND 1966

Final: ENGLAND 4 WEST GERMANY 2 (after extra-time)

Alf Ramsey did a brave thing in 1963 when he was appointed England manager, saying his team would win the World Cup in 1966. He was, of course, proved right but, after an opening 0-0 draw with Uruguay, there were many who doubted him.

The eighth World Cup was the first to be televised live to most of the world and, again, consisted of 16 teams in four first round groups.

But there was a scare for the organisers four months before the tournament began when the World Cup trophy was stolen from an exhibition in central London.

It was found a week later in a south London suburb by a dog named Pickles.

Brazil were perceived as the biggest threat to England's hopes even though they were showing signs of age, while the North Koreans arrived as total unknowns but left an indelible mark behind.

They beat Italy 1-0 in an opening round match, the greatest upset since England had lost to the United States 16 years previously.

Brazil, with Pele hacked out of the competition by unscrupulous opponents, did not survive the opening phase after defeats by Hungary and Portugal.

Ramsey's prediction that England would become world champions looked hollow after a 0-0 draw with defensive Uruguay in the opening match but the hosts improved to reach the final against West Germany after conceded only one goal.

That was against Portugal in a semi-final which England won 2-1. Portugal survived a scare in the quarter-finals when they trailed 3-0 to the North Koreans before Eusebio scored four times in a remarkable 5-3 victory.

West Germany, with 20-year-old Franz Beckenbauer attracting notice, reached the semis with wins over Switzerland (5-0) and Spain (2-1), in their group, and then a thumping 4-0 victory against Uruguay in the quarter-finals. They were too good for the Soviet Union in the semi-finals, Beckenbauer firing the winner past Yashin in a 2-1 victory.

There were still strong anti-German feelings in Britain in the mid-1960s, following the Second World War, and that added to the drama in the final at Wembley.

Germany led through Helmut Haller before England equalised with a Geoff Hurst header and then went 2-1 ahead 12 minutes from time through Martin Peters.

Germany forced the match into extra-time with a goal in the dying seconds from Wolfgang Weber before England went 3-2 ahead in the 100th minute after the most controversial incident in World Cup history.

The debate over whether the ball crossed the line for Hurst's second goal will continue for as long as the game is played.

There was no doubt about the winner, brilliantly executed by Hurst with the last kick of the finals. It confirmed England's win and made him the only player to score a hat-trick in a final.

For England, the moment has never been bettered. For the Germans, it was a stumble on a path to future successes.

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