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Sunday, May 3, 1998 Published at 17:36 GMT 18:36 UK

Meet the BBC Team
Sweden 1958
image: [ World Cup winners 1958, Brazil ]
World Cup winners 1958, Brazil

Several big names failed to qualify for the sixth World Cup, but this was Brazil's year at last.

Sadly the tournament's founder, Jules Rimet, died two years earlier and never witnessed the magical arrival of players like Charlton, Fontaine, Vava - and Pele.

Who played?

A record 53 nations entered the competition but former champions Italy and Uruguay failed to qualify, along with Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Spain.


Danny Blanchflower talks about Northern Ireland's campaign [1'06'']
This was the year for the "new" footballing nations with Wales, Northern Ireland and the USSR going as far as the quarter-finals.

What happened?

The defending champions, West Germany, the hosts, Sweden, the hugely impressive French team and Brazil topped their groups and were joined in the quarter-finals by Wales and Yugoslavia.

Northern Ireland beat Czechoslovakia and the USSR knocked out England in the play-offs to make up the last eight, but they both lost their quarter-final matches to France and Sweden respectively.


[ image: Brazilian Pele in action]
Brazilian Pele in action
Wales went out after a 1-0 defeat by Brazil. The goal came from a 17-year-old named Edson Arantes do Nascimento, soon to be known by the world as Pele. It was his first in the World Cup and he went on to score a hat-trick in Brazil's semi-final victory against France.

Their opponents in the final were hosts Sweden, who had beaten West Germany 3-1 in the other semi.

After the disappointments of 1950 and 1954, this was the start of Brazil's dominance. Sweden took lead, but goals by Zagalo, Vava (2) and Pele (2) gave the Brazilians a 5-2 victory and their first World Cup.

Any lasting memories?

Brazil had the Swedish cheerleaders banned from the pitch at the final because they were worried they would give the hosts an added advantage. But when Brazil won, the entire nation showed the world how to celebrate.





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Uruguay 1930

USA 1994

Italy 1990

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Sweden 1958

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