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Brazil in the World Cup 1958 - Sweden

«Home.
«History of Brazil in past World Cups.

Matches and Players



The line-up in the first match, against Austria:
De Sordi, Dino Sani, Bellini, Nilton Santos, Orlando and Gilmar;
Mario Américo, Joel, Didi, Mazzola, Vavá and Zagallo.
Brazil in the 1958 World Cup - Sweden

Notice that neither Pelé nor Garrincha were on the team.

The team (line-up in the first match, against Austria): Gilmar; De Sordi, Bellini (C), Orlando and Nílton Santos; Dino Sani and Didi; Joel, Mazzola, Dida and Zagalo.
Substitutes: Castilho (G), Djalma Santos, Mauro, Zózimo, Oreco, Zito, Pelé, Dino Sani, Moacir, Dida and Pepe.
Coach: Vicente Feola.

The Matches:
»Brazil 3 x 0 Austria
»Brazil 0 x 0 England
»Brazil 2 x 0 USSR
»Brazil 1 x 0 Wales
»Brazil 5 x 2 France
»Brazil 5 x 2 Sweden

Read also information about the World Cup Brazil 2014:
»Cities; matches will take place in twelve host cities.
»Stadiums; photos and information about all stadiums of the World Cup.
»Teams; there will be 32 teams in Brazil.
»Tickets; how and where to buy, what's the price.
»Confederations Cup 2013, a rehearsal for the World Cup.

The Preparation

Brazil would play the qualifying against Peru and Venezuela. Venezuela withdrew. Brazil had a draw with Peru and a winning.
See the results of the South America qualifying for the 1958 World Cup.

1958 poster
1958 Poster

After the disaster in 1950 and the melancholic performance in 1954, people started to doubt whether Brazil would ever win a World Cup.
This article (update: the article was at http://www.museudosesportes.com.br/noticia.php?id=152, but the site was, unfortunately, taken down) informs that both the Brazilian Federation and the French magazine France Football had access to (independent) reports analysing the possibilities of the Brazilian team winning the Cup in Sweden. Both reports agreed: Brazilian players had skills, strenght, talent, but they lacked emotional stability to overcome the pressures of winning a World Cup. Shortly before, the Brazilian team had gone in a tour around Europe (playing against Portugal, Switzerland and Austria), which ended in Viena with Brazilian players and directors involved in discussions and fight with the referee.

In March of 1958, a new President takes over in the Brazilian Confederation: João Havelange (Havelange would be President of the Brazilian Confederation until 1974, and then President of FIFA from 1974 until 1998; he lost much of the prestige he once had, though).

Paulo Machado Carvalho
Paulo Machado
de Carvalho


Havelange invited Paulo Machado de Carvalho to be the manager of the Brazilian team.
Paulo Machado was a successful businessman, owner of radio and TV stations; he passed his managerial capabilities to the team.
For his contributions to the team, he was dubbed "O Marechal da Vitória" (Marshall of Victory), and the Pacaembu stadium, in the city of São Paulo, was given his name.
Thanks to Machado, for the first time the Brazilian staff included a nutritionist, a psychologist and a dentist (thorough exams showed that most Brazilian players had cavities, which caused discomfort and frequent infections, affecting the performance of players).
Paulo Machado drafted a plan, detailing all activities in the three months before the Cup.

The change of mentality included the change of the coach.
The first substitute of Zezé Moreira was Oswaldo Brandão, but for a short period, because Brazil didn't do well in the America Cup of 1957 (for "didn't do well, read: Brazil was vice-Champion, while rival Argentina was champion"; Brandão would, again, for a short period, coach the Brazilian team during the preparation for the 1978 Cup, in Argentina).
To replace Brandão, for the first and only time ever, the Brazilian Federation considered hiring a non-Brazilian coach: the Paraguayan Fleitas Solich, who was doing a good job with Flamengo; Havelange, wisely, decided not to take risks with a foreigner coaching the National team (update: in November 2012, for a very brief time, there was a rumour that Pepe Guardiola could coach Brazil).

Two months before the Cup, Vicente Feola was announced as the new coach.
Feola didn't have the same experience and reputation of Flavio Costa (coach in 1950) or Zezé Moreira (1954), but had a quality: he listened to opinions. The players were chosen after talkings among Feola, Paulo Machado de Carvalho, the doctor Hilton Gosling and the psychologist João Cavalhares.

From the team of 1954, few remained; from the principals, only two: Nilton Santos and Didi.
Nilton Santos, one of the Brazilians frequently listed in the world all-time teams, was known as the Football Encyclopedia, for he seemed to know everything about it.
Didi combined his experiences from 1954 with his enormous talent and became the brain of the 1958 team.
The team had had a better preparation, but no one believed that Brazil was the favourite for the Cup.

A few weeks before arriving in Sweden, Brazil took a short trip to Italy.
On May 29th 1958, Brazil played against Fiorentina; in a given moment, Garrincha takes the ball and dribbles the entire defense (see movie); before kicking to the open goal, he awaits another defender to arrive; he dribbles the adversary again and only then does he score the goal.
The team psychologist said that such a player had no conditions to play in the Brazilian team. In the next match, on June 1st, against Internazionale in Milan, Joel had replaced Garrincha.

The Matches

Brazil's first match was against Austria.
Coach Feola used the matches in Italy to define the team. Dida scored a few goals, and was maintained as center-forward. According to shrinks, Garrincha was obviously misfit to play with Brazil, so Joel would start playing.
Journalists of the epoch noticed that only two players in the principal team were black or mulattoes: Didi and Dida; this was seen as an attempt to bring more emotional stability to the team (as the matches progressed, this theory showed completely wrong).
Brazil won by 3 x 0, goals by Mazola (2) and Nilton Santos; the match was tight, with Brazil scoring the third goal only at the last minute.

Brazil played next against England, and the result was 0 x 0.

Then, Bellini, Didi and Nilton Santos called Paulo Machado and Vicente Feola for a talk to express their concerns (see here and here), regarding the following match, against Soviet Union (update: in 2008, Zito denied the talk between players and Feola).

Brazil in the 1958 World Cup - Sweden

The line-up in the final match against Sweden:
Vicente Feola (coach), Djalma Santos, Zito, Bellini, Nilton Santos, Orlando and Gilmar;
Garrincha, Didi, Pelé, Vavá, Zagallo and Paulo Amaral (physical instructor).

Didi said that Dino Sani, his partner in midfield, was too classical; Zito, his substitute, had less class and more strenght (sidenote: Zito, for years, was captain of Santos FC, the only Brazilian team in which Pelé played; Zito was the only one who shouted at Pelé, when he made mistakes; Pelé always respected Zito, never shout back).
Nilton Santos said that Joel was good, but Brazil needed someone to surprise the Soviets and other strong European defenders; an unpredictable player like Garrincha would do it perfectly. Last, all said that it was time to give a chance to that young guy who seemed to have big potential, called Pelé; Mazolla had received a millionaire offer to play in Italy after the cup and that could be affecting his performance.
Feola agreed with the ideas, and, in the match against Soviet Union, Brazil would play with Zito, Pelé and Garrincha.

Rumours say that the Soviets were happy with the changes in Brazil.
The happiness, if existed, lasted short. In the first minute, Garrincha tricks the entire Soviet defense and shoots against the crossbar. The next minute, Didi served perfectly Vavá, who scored 1 x 0. In the second half, Vavá scored again, and Brazil won by 2 x 0.
Brazil not only played well, but found the best formation for its squad.

Next match was against Wales.
The Welsh played a tight, defensive game. At 20' of second half, Didi sees Pelé shouting to have the ball, among a few adversaries. Didi serves Pelé, but it looks like the defenders will dominate that play. In a fraction of second, Pelé touches the ball, tricks the defense and is face to face with the goalkeeper; Pelé scored his first goal in a World Cup, the first of a serie of nice goals.

Was it a fluke? The following match, against France, showed that it wasn't.
France had the most effective attack in that World Cup. France finished the tournament with 23 goals. Just Fontaine scored 13 goals, setting a record yet to be matched.
This was not enough to stop Brazil. The first half finished 2 x 1. In the second half, Pelé scored three goals in a row, and Brazil won by 5 x 2.

Then came the final match against Sweden.
The Swedes had beaten Soviet Union in the quarter-finals and the always powerful Germany in the semi-finals. The Swedish coach believed that, if his team scored the first goal, the Brazilians would again feel the pressure, and it would be easier for Sweden to take advantage of counter-attacks.

Liedholm scored 1 x 0, at 2 minutes of first half.
Would Brazil lose self control? No. Didi asked the ball. He walked slowly, calmly, chatting with his peers, all the way from the Brazilian goal to the center field; this was his way of saying: "no problem, we are better, we will win". After the kick-off, Garrincha receives the ball, gets past his opponents, shoots strongly and hits the crossbar.
With two goals by Vavá, Brazil finished the first half in advantage of 2 x 1. In the second half, Pelé and Zagallo score for Brazil, and Simonssom for Sweden, making Brazil 4 x 1.
Pelé scored the last goal of that Cup, at the last minute of the match.
Didi passes from far away; Pelé has no more than a few instants to look at the ball, look at the goalkeeper running quickly towards him and decide what to do. Pelé finds his position, jumps just the necessary height and with a very slight head move he touches the ball over the goalkeeper; the ball enters the goal very slowly.
Brazil, at last, was champion. The world of football had been introduced to its King, Pelé.

World Cup 1958 - Other Info

»FIFA Archives of the 1958 World Cup.
»A brief report by Veja magazine.

»Why Pelé was given jacket #10?
Since 1950, all players had numbered uniforms; however, that number could be changed at every game.
In 1958, the numbers in the uniforms should be defined by the respective comissions, and should remain unchanged through the tournament. The Brazilian Comission, however, overlooked this norm. The Swedish comissioner, rushed before the first Brazilian match, decided to assign numbers by himself.
Pelé, the youngest and probably least known of all players, was given the #10. This is one of the mystical stories which surround the career of Pelé.

»Before the final match, Brazilian players entered the field holding a Swedish flag. That was a sincere way to express gratitude for the kind way that the Swedes, despite rivalry, treated the Brazilian team (Garrincha left a son in Sweden).

»The photo at the top of this page shows masseur Mário Américo. He was member of the Brazil crew in all World Cups from 1958 to 1974.
Besides his friendly attitude with all players, Américo was known as a "messenger pigeon" of the team: when the coach wanted to transmit lenghty diretives, a player would simulate a contusion and, while giving a massage, Américo had time to talk to the player.