Friday, June 29, 2012

29 June 1958 - Brazil Starts A World Cup Collection

On 29 June 1958, Brazil won their first World Cup, beating hosts Sweden 5-2.

Both teams were looking to recover from disappointment four years earlier. After finishing as runners-up in 1950, Brazil exited the 1954 tournament in the first knockout round, while Sweden, the third-place finishers in 1950, failed even to qualify in 1954. In 1958, they both won their groups then advanced to the Final, Brazil with wins over Wales (1-0) and France (5-2) and Sweden with wins over the Soviet Union (2-0) and West Germany (3-1).

A crowd of 51,800 turned out to watch the Final, played at the Råsunda Stadium in Solna, while many millions more tuned in to the television broadcast. They were rewarded soon after the opening whistle with a fourth-minute goal from Swedish midfielder Nils Liedholm, but the hosts' lead did not last long. Just five minutes later, Brazilian midfielder Garrincha raced down the right wing and sent in a cross that was tapped home by forward Vavá. The pair connected again on a virtually identical goal in the 32nd minute to give Brazil a 2-1 lead at the break.

In the second half, Brazil resumed control, extending their lead to 4-1 with goals from Pelé (55') and Mario Zagallo (68'). Sweden striker Agne Simonsson pulled one back in the 80th minute, but Pelé added a final punctuation mark with a 90th-minute header.

That final was goal was Pelé's sixth of the tournament, tying him with West Germany's Helmut Rahn for second-most behind France's Just Fontaine (13). He was only 17 years and 249 days old at the time, which remains a record for the youngest player to appear in a World Cup Final. Brazil, meanwhile, have gone on to win a record haul of five World Cups, adding trophies in 1962, 1970, 1994, and 2002.

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