Half time scores in brackets.
Sweden 3 (1) West Germany 1 (1)
The tournament now began to attract much more interest
in Sweden, as the belief started to enthuse the
home crowds that their team might actually win.
Perhaps the increased liveliness was engendered
by the presence of cheerleaders on the pitch in
Gothenburg before the match against West Germany
had begun. At first it looked as though home advantage
would count for nought when Schäfer scored for West
Germany; but then the Swedish crowd started to roar
and chivy their side. Liedholm of Sweden illegally
handled the ball when passing to Skoglund for the
equaliser, an offence missed by the referee which
incensed the West German players. An injury followed
by a sending off would have finished all but the
greatest of teams in an era without substitutes;
yet the score remained at one-one until the eight-second
minute, after which the Swedes quickly scored again.
The match left a sour taste, so it occasioned no
surprise when Fifa banned the appearance of any
cheerleaders in the final.
Stockholm 29 June 1958
Sweden Svensson, Bergmark, Axborn, Boerjesson,
Gustavsson, Parling, Hamrin,
Gren, Simonsson, Liedholm, Skoglund.
Brazil Gylmar, D. Santos, N. Santos, Zito, Bellini,
Orlando, Garrincha, Didi,
Vava, Pelé, Zagalo.
Referee: Bill Ling (England).
Half time scores in brackets.
Sweden 2 (1) Brazil 5 (2)
The 1958 World Cup final was to be between the oldest
and slowest team, Sweden, and the most exhilarating,
Brazil. The ever optimistic George Raynor, Sweden’s
inspirational manager, enthused his players with
the observation that Brazil had yet to go a goal
down in a match in the 1958 Finals; the path to
victory was simple, just score first. Then the drawbacks
to Brazil’s 4-2-4 formation would lead to panic
and a Swedish victory. Twenty-four hours of rain
before the final only helped to encourage this optimism,
as such weather traditionally helped European sides
in their battles with South American teams.
On the sodden field Gunner Gren passed quickly
to Nils Liedholm who threaded his way past one defender
and the weak challenges of two others. One-nil to
Sweden, perhaps Raynor was right? The crowd, far
quieter than in the semi-final, would see. But Brazil
summed to more than Pelé, Garrincha on the right
wing skipped past his marker to the base line, quickly
whipping in a pass that Vava is able to ease in,
one each now. And the demolition of the theory that
Brazil would fold after going behind. Pelé then
piled on the pressure thumping the goal post with
a hard shot from distance, it was clear who was
on top now. After more than half an hour’s play,
Garrincha links up with Vava in a reprise of the
first goal. Thus the Swede’s themselves were one
down, would they panic? No, there would be no more
goals before half time. Cometh the second half,
cometh the man; Djalma Santos passed the ball diagonally
to Pelé who has his back to the goal and two defenders
behind him, ten minutes of the second half had been
played; the Brazilian maestro, only seventeen years
of age, controlled the ball with his chest, letting
it fall onto his right foot, swivelling to his right
he then flicked the ball over the Swedish defenders,
charging in to collect it as it dropped, he then
smashed the ball past a helpless Svensson in goal
for Sweden. A two goal cushion and a time for Brazil
to show-off their skills, a battered Sweden were
forced to chase the ball to comical effect; Zagalo
of Brazil then put paid to any lingering dreams,
his powerful drive increased the lead to four-one.
Yet Sweden did not collapse, Simonsson’s industry
finally resulting in a consolation goal, four-two.
A back heel from Pelé and a quick run into the penalty
area left him beautifully place to head home the
last of the Brazilian goals. Perhaps for the first
time the World Cup had a convincing winner, and
the winner’s name was Brazil. Brazil also showed
great sportsmanship and vision; after the match
was over the Brazilian players saluted their hosts
by doing a lap of honour with the Swedish flag.