Sweden 1958

The remainder of these will be spread out this blog throughout the remainder of the tournament, in case you were wondering. It was a tall order, but I feel as if I’ve at least made a reasonable start on it. Obviously, I need to switch to the more pressing issues of this year’s tournament from today on. The tournament stayed in Europe in 1958. Sixteen teams again, and this time we’d finally reached agreement over the tournament layout that would remain until 1974. Still no goal difference, though. Teams on level points would have to go through a play-off match. Group Stages: For the first and only time (so far), all four home nations had qualified for the finals. Northern Ireland lined up in tight group with West Germany, Argentina and Czechoslovakia. After an opening victory against the Czechs, they were beaten by Argentina, and then edged through to a play-off with a surprise 2-2 draw against West Germany. They were lent a hand by both of their opponents, who beat Argentina. The Irish then beat the Czechs 2-1 in the play-off. The Germans qualified with them. Scotland, setting a pattern that lasts to the present day, under-achieved in Group B. Just one point from three matches, with the real eye-opener being a 3-2 defeat by Paraguay. France, for whom Just Fontaine scored scored six goals in the group...

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