Year: 1954

Host country: Switzerland

Champions: West Germany (first title)

The 1954 World Cup was hosted by Switzerland having been chosen eight years earlier. This was an exciting spectacle with the tournament full of goals – a pattern that lasted all the way to the competition’s final. There were 16 teams and 26 matches, with the games beginning on 16th June and it was the first to be televised.

West Germany and Hungary were the two sides in the final and they were both drawn in Group 2, with the Hungarians finishing top on four points from their two games. In the quarter-finals they beat Brazil 4-2 and then Uruguay by the same scoreline, with West Germany seeing off Yugoslavia and then Austria.

The 1954 final is one of the most famous in the competition’s history – it is known as the Miracle of Bern and contributed significantly towards national identity for both countries. Ferenc Puskás opened the scoring after just six minutes with the West Germans then coming back from behind to win 3-2 courtesy of a Helmut Rahn double.

Sándor Kocsis scored an incredible 11 goals in the tournament, with the Hungarian claiming the Golden Boot.


Year: 1958

Host country: Sweden

Champions: Brazil

The sixth World Cup was held in Sweden in 1958. Another classic tournament, it is remembered for many reasons, including the fact it was the first time that Pele was introduced on the global stage as his country claimed the trophy – the first of three for the legendary attacker.

As with four years previously there were 16 teams competing across the Nordic country, with 12 stadiums being used. Each of the countries from Great Britain – England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – were represented for the first and final time to date, with UEFA providing 12 of the tournament sides.

Brazil were drawn in Group 4 and they were unbeaten in their three games against the Soviet Union, England and Austria. The knockout stage was where Pele came to life and the 17-year-old scored six times in the remaining three rounds, including a stunning hat-trick in the semi-finals.

The South Americans had to do it the hard way with some tricky knockout fixtures – they faced Wales and France before overcoming Sweden 5-2 in the final. Just Fontaine’s France side were knocked out in the semis, but he still scored 13 goals, which remains the record for a single tournament.

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