66 – Pelé: Brazil v Wales 1958 – 90 World Cup Minutes In 90 Days

WFI‘s Adam Brandon counts down to Russia 2018 with 90 World Cup goals in 90 days, scored in the minute corresponding to the day in the countdown.


Brazil’s heartbreak of the 1950 World Cup wasn’t healed during a disappointing showing in Switzerland in 1954.

Hopes were high going into the 1958 edition that Brazil could finally pick up the Jules Rimet trophy.

They prepared hard for this World Cup, and took with them a large backroom staff to help with everything psychological and physical.

Brazil were comfortable winners in their first match against Austria, but in their second they laboured to a 0-0 draw against England, while Pelé and Garrincha sat on the bench.

Pelé was thought to be too young, and Garrincha too stupid to handle high pressure games, but both were selected for the game against the USSR against the advice of the team’s psychologist.

Pelé and Garrincha made a mockery of the psychologist’s report — as they both produced moments of magic.

Garrincha turned his marker inside out all game and smashed a shot against the post in the first half. Pelé combined brilliantly with Vavá for Brazil’s second goal of the match. The Brazilians were through to the quarter finals where they faced Wales.

Meanwhile, the Welsh were appearing in their first (and only) World Cup and were proving a tough nut to crack.

Wales gained draws against Sweden, Hungary and Mexico. Hosts Sweden won the group, which meant Wales faced Hungary again to decide second spot and the chance to face Brazil in the quarter finals.

The Welsh came from behind to win 2-1, but suffered the blow of losing their best player, John Charles, who the Hungarians targeted in both games.

John Charles was a versatile player: a world class defender and attacker, and some feel Wales may have beaten Brazil with him in the side.

The Wales defence, including Mel Charles, the brother of John, held firm against the talents of Canarinho for over an hour until…


The Goal

Pelé produces a brilliant bit of magic to finally break the Welsh resistance in the 66th minute.


What Happened Next?

Brazil and Pelé got better and better, producing football of incredible quality in the semi-final and final, winning both games 5-2.

Their Swedish hosts gave them an incredible ovation despite being on the losing side in the final as this Brazilian team had really dazzled the Swedish audience.

It remains the only World Cup won in Europe by a non-European team.

Pelé was injured for the majority of the 1962 triumph, but in the glorious victory in 1970 he was the star yet again.



An interview with Mel Charles on the Wales v Brazil game

Pele Number 10, Brazil World Cup top with Toffs