1958 FIFA World Cup qualification

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1958 FIFA World Cup Qualification
Tournament details
Teams 55 (from 6 confederations)
Tournament statistics
Matches played 89
Goals scored 341 (3.83 per match)
1954
1962

A total of 55 teams entered the 1958 FIFA World Cup qualification rounds, competing for a total of 16 spots in the final tournament. Sweden as the hosts and West Germany, as the defending champions, qualified automatically, leaving 14 spots open for competition.

The qualification rounds for the four previous World Cups were very confusing, with controversial rules and many withdrawals. From this tournament onwards, FIFA decided to divide the teams into several continental zones, assign a pre-determined number of places in the final tournament to each zone, and delegate the organization of the qualifying tournaments to its confederations: UEFA of Europe, CONMEBOL of South America, NAFC of North America, CCCF of Central America and Caribbean, CAF of Africa and AFC of Asia (and OFC of Oceania after it was formed later). This led to a more organized qualification process with clearer rules, but not yet withdrawal-proof.

The 16 spots available in the 1958 World Cup would be distributed among the continental zones as follows:

  • Europe (UEFA): 11 places, 2 of them went to automatic qualifiers Sweden and West Germany, while the other 9 places were contested by 27 teams.
  • South America (CONMEBOL): 3 places, contested by 9 teams.
  • North, Central America and Caribbean (NAFC/CCCF): 1 place, contested by 6 teams.
  • Africa (CAF) and Asia (AFC): 1 place, contested by 11 teams (including Israel, Cyprus and Turkey).

However, FIFA also imposed a rule that no team would qualify without playing at least one match because many teams qualified for previous World Cups without playing due to withdrawals of their opponents. Because Israel won the African and Asian zone under this circumstance, FIFA required them to enter a play-off against a team from Europe who initially did not qualify, with the winner of this play-off qualifying. Therefore, effectively in the end, a total of 11.5 places were granted to Europe while only 0.5 places were granted to Africa and Asia.

A total of 46 teams played at least one qualifying match. A total of 89 qualifying matches were played, and 341 goals were scored (an average of 3.83 per match).

Listed below are the dates and results of the qualification rounds.

Europe[edit]

The 27 teams were divided into 9 groups,each featuring 3 teams. The teams played against each other on a home-and-away basis. The group winners qualified. On this edition, former USSR took part for the first time.

UEFA Group 1[edit]

Rank Team Pts Pld W D L GF GA GAv
1  England 7 4 3 1 0 15 5 3.00
2  Republic of Ireland 5 4 2 1 1 6 7 0.86
3  Denmark 0 4 0 0 4 4 13 0.31





England qualified.

UEFA Group 2[edit]

Rank Team Pts Pld W D L GF GA GAv
1  France 7 4 3 1 0 19 4 4.75
2  Belgium 5 4 2 1 1 16 11 1.45
3  Iceland 0 4 0 0 4 6 26 0.23





France qualified.

UEFA Group 3[edit]

Rank Team Pts Pld W D L GF GA GAv
1  Hungary 6 4 3 0 1 12 4 3.00
2  Bulgaria 4 4 2 0 2 11 7 1.57
3  Norway 2 4 1 0 3 3 15 0.20





Hungary qualified.

UEFA Group 4[edit]

Rank Team Pts Pld W D L GF GA GAv
1  Czechoslovakia 6 4 3 0 1 9 3 3.00
2  Wales 4 4 2 0 2 6 5 1.20
3 Germany East Germany 2 4 1 0 3 5 12 0.42





Czechoslovakia qualified. Wales received another chance to qualify after being drawn to play against Israel in a special play-off; see CAF / AFC Final Round and Play-off.

UEFA Group 5[edit]

Rank Team Pts Pld W D L GF GA GAv
1  Austria 7 4 3 1 0 14 3 4.67
2  Netherlands 5 4 2 1 1 12 7 1.71
3  Luxembourg 0 4 0 0 4 3 19 0.16





Austria qualified.

UEFA Group 6[edit]

Rank Team Pts Pld W D L GF GA GAv
1=  Soviet Union 6 4 3 0 1 16 3 5.33
1=  Poland 6 4 3 0 1 9 5 1.80
3  Finland 0 4 0 0 4 2 19 0.11





Poland and USSR finished level on points, a play-off on neutral ground was played to decide who would qualify.

USSR qualified.

UEFA Group 7[edit]

Rank Team Pts Pld W D L GF GA GAv
1  Yugoslavia 6 4 2 2 0 7 2 3.50
2  Romania 5 4 2 1 1 6 4 1.50
3  Greece 1 4 0 1 3 2 9 0.22





Yugoslavia qualified.

UEFA Group 8[edit]

Rank Team Pts Pld W D L GF GA GAv
1  Northern Ireland 5 4 2 1 1 6 3 2.00
2  Italy 4 4 2 0 2 5 5 1.00
3  Portugal 3 4 1 1 2 4 7 0.57





The 15 January 1958 fixture of Italy at Northern Ireland was originally scheduled for 4 December 1957 but heavy fog in London prevented the referee (Istvan Zolt, manager of the Budapest Opera House) from arriving for the match in time. The fixture was postponed but the match continued as a friendly... and ended in a 2-2 draw and a riot as the crowd (infuriated by the postponement and quite rough play from some Italian players) invaded the pitch. The 'friendly' match was dubbed the 'Battle of Belfast'.[1] Danny Blanchflower, Northern Ireland captain at the time, helped save the situation by ordering his players to escort their Italian counterparts off the field while the police dealt with the crowd.[2]

Northern Ireland qualified.

This was the only time that Italy failed to qualify.

UEFA Group 9[edit]

Rank Team Pts Pld W D L GF GA GAv
1  Scotland 6 4 3 0 1 10 9 1.11
2  Spain 5 4 2 1 1 12 8 1.50
3   Switzerland 1 4 0 1 3 6 11 0.55





Scotland qualified.

South America[edit]

The 9 teams were divided into 3 groups of 3 teams each. The teams played against each other on a home-and-away basis. The group winners would qualify.

CONMEBOL Group 1[edit]

Rank Team Pts Pld W D L GF GA
1  Brazil 3 2 1 1 0 2 1
2  Peru 1 2 0 1 1 1 2
 Venezuela withdrew

Brazil qualified.

CONMEBOL Group 2[edit]

Rank Team Pts Pld W D L GF GA
1  Argentina 6 4 3 0 1 10 2
2  Bolivia 4 4 2 0 2 6 6
3  Chile 2 4 1 0 3 2 10





Argentina qualified.

CONMEBOL Group 3[edit]

Rank Team Pts Pld W D L GF GA
1  Paraguay 6 4 3 0 1 11 4
2  Uruguay 5 4 2 1 1 4 6
3  Colombia 1 4 0 1 3 3 8





Paraguay qualified.

North, Central America and Caribbean[edit]

There would be two rounds of play:

  • First Round: The 6 teams were divided into 2 groups with 3 teams each (Group 1 with teams from North America and Group 2 with teams from Central America and Caribbean). The teams played against each other on a home-and-away basis. The group winners would advance to the Final Round.
  • Final Round: The 2 teams played against each other on a home-and-away basis. The winner would qualify.

CCCF/NAFC First Round[edit]

Group 1[edit]

Rank Team Pts Pld W D L GF GA
1  Mexico 8 4 4 0 0 18 2
2  Canada 4 4 2 0 2 8 8
3  United States 0 4 0 0 4 5 21





Mexico advanced to the Final Round.

Group 2[edit]

Rank Team Pts Pld W D L GF GA
1  Costa Rica 8 4 4 0 0 15 4
2 Netherlands Territory of Curaçao 2 3 1 0 2 4 7
3  Guatemala 0 3 0 0 3 4 9




Costa Rica advanced to the Final Round. Territory of Curaçao v Guatemala was not played because the Guatemalan players were not permitted to travel to the Netherlands Antilles (the Netherlands Antilles were still using the nation's former "Curaçao" name).[5] However, neither team would have been able to advance with a win regardless.

CCCF/NAFC Final Round[edit]

Rank Team Pts Pld W D L GF GA
1  Mexico 3 2 1 1 0 3 1
2  Costa Rica 1 2 0 1 1 1 3

Mexico qualified.

Africa and Asia[edit]

FIFA rejected the entries of Ethiopia and South Korea.[2] The remaining 10 teams played in a knockout tournament, with matches on a home-and-away basis. The tournament winner would qualify.

CAF / AFC Preliminary Round[edit]

Rank Team Pts Pld W D L GF GA
1  Indonesia advanced
 Republic of China withdrew

Republic of China withdrew, so Indonesia advanced to the First Round automatically.

CAF / AFC First Round[edit]

Group 1[edit]

Rank Team Pts Pld W D L GF GA Ave
1=  Indonesia 2 2 1 0 1 5 4 1.25
1=  China PR 2 2 1 0 1 4 5 0.8

China PR and Indonesia finished level on points, and a play-off on neutral ground was played to decide who would advance to the Second Round.

Indonesia advanced to the Second Round by having a better goal average. (Penalty shootouts had not been invented.)

Group 2[edit]

Rank Team Pts Pld W D L GF GA
1  Israel advanced
 Turkey withdrew

Turkey refused to compete in the Asian group, so Israel advanced to the Second Round automatically.

Group 3[edit]

Rank Team Pts Pld W D L GF GA
1  Egypt advanced
 Cyprus withdrew

Cyprus withdrew, so Egypt advanced to the Second Round automatically.

Group 4[edit]

Rank Team Pts Pld W D L GF GA
1  Sudan 3 2 1 1 0 2 1
2  Syria 1 2 0 1 1 1 2

Sudan advanced.

CAF / AFC Second Round[edit]

Rank Team Pts Pld W D L GF GA
1=  Israel advanced
1=  Sudan advanced
 Egypt withdrew
 Indonesia withdrew

Indonesia withdrew after FIFA rejected their request to play against Israel on neutral ground. Israel advanced to the Final Round automatically. Egypt withdrew, so Sudan advanced to the Final Round automatically.

CAF / AFC Final Round[edit]

Rank Team Pts Pld W D L GF GA
1  Israel advanced
 Sudan withdrew

Sudan refused to play against Israel for political reasons, so Israel would technically qualify automatically, but before the qualification rounds began, FIFA ruled that no team would qualify without playing at least one match (except for the defending champions and the hosts), and Israel had yet to play any.

UEFA / AFC Play-off[edit]

So a special play-off was created between Israel and the runner-up of one of the UEFA Groups, where the teams played against each other on a home-and-away basis, with the winner qualifying. After Belgium refused, Wales, the runner-up of UEFA Group 4, was the team drawn from the UEFA group runners-up.

Rank Team Pts Pld W D L GF GA
1  Wales 4 2 2 0 0 4 0
2  Israel 0 2 0 0 2 0 4

Wales qualified.

Qualified teams[edit]

FIFA World Cup qualification 1958
Qualifying countries


Team Finals Appearance Streak Last Appearance
 Argentina 3rd 1 1934
 Austria 3rd 2 1954
 Brazil 6th 6 1954
 Czechoslovakia 4th 2 1954
 England 3rd 3 1954
 France 5th 2 1954
 Hungary 4th 2 1954
 Mexico 4th 3 1954
 Northern Ireland 1st 1
 Paraguay 3rd 1 1950
 Scotland 2nd 2 1954
 Sweden [6] 4th 1 1950
 Soviet Union 1st 1
 Wales 1st 1
 West Germany[7] 4th 2 1954
 Yugoslavia 4th 3 1954

Notes[edit]

  • For the first (and as of 2014, only) time, all four UK teams (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) qualified.
  • Wales is the only team to qualify after having been eliminated but then reinstated. This was Wales' only qualification for a World Cup; they have never qualified through the European rounds of World Cup Qualifying.
  • This was the first and, as of 2014, only time that Italy failed to qualify for a FIFA World Cup.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ "Down Memory Lane: Battle of Belfast was far from a golden moment - International, Football". Belfasttelegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  2. ^ a b "FIFA Fact Sheet: History of the FIFA World Cup (TM) Preliminary Competition". FIFA. 2010. Archived from the original on 14 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-09. 
  3. ^ Entire US squad pulled from St. Louis Kutis[1]
  4. ^ Match interrupted in the 66th minute by Guatemala abandoning the pitch; the result was later affirmed.
  5. ^ "History of the FIFA World Cup Preliminary Competition (by year)" (pdf). FIFA.com. Retrieved 8 April 2012. 
  6. ^ Qualified automatically as hosts
  7. ^ Qualified automatically as defending champions

See also[edit]

External links[edit]