Pele helps Brazil to World Cup title - HISTORY
Year
1958

Pele helps Brazil to World Cup title

On June 29, 1958, Brazil defeats host nation Sweden 5-2 to win its first World Cup. Brazil came into the tournament as a favorite, and did not disappoint, thrilling the world with their spectacular play, which was often referred to as the “beautiful game.”

The star of the tournament was an undersized midfielder named Edson Arondes do Nascimento, known the world over as Pele. Edson, the son of a professional footballer called Dodhino, was named for the American inventor, Thomas Edison. His mother, having watched her husband struggle to earn money in the game, discouraged Pele from playing football. Pele’s will won out, and at 14 he was discovered by de Brito, a former Brazilian team member, who took the young scorer under his wing. Pele earned his first cap with the national team at 16, and made his debut on the international stage at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden at 17 years old.

In that year’s Cup, Pele did not make an appearance until Brazil’s third group play match against the Soviet Union, in which he set up a goal for Vava. His first goal came in the quarterfinal against Wales; it was the only goal Brazil scored in a 1-0 win. It was in the semifinal against France, though, that Pele truly came into his own. As the crowd at Rasunda Stadium listened to the Sweden-West Germany game on their radios, Pele put on a show of offensive brilliance against the second best team in the tournament. He scored three goals from his left side, and left the French team dumbfounded at their inability to contain a 17 year old. Pele and Vava scored two goals each in the final. Upon receiving the Jules Rimet Cup as the best team in the world, the entire team wept.

Brazil went on to win the World Cup again in 1966 and 1970, which gave them the right to retain the Jules Rimet Cup permanently as the first country to win three World Cups. In 1999, the International Olympic Committee honored Pele along with 10 others as one of the best athletes of the century.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Germans advance in USSR

One week after launching a massive invasion of the USSR, German divisions make staggering advances on Leningrad, Moscow, and Kiev.Despite his signing of the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin knew that war with Nazi Germany–the USSR’s natural ideological ...read more

Vietnam air war escalates

During the Vietnam War, U.S. aircraft bomb the major North Vietnamese population centers of Hanoi and Haiphong for the first time, destroying oil depots located near the two cities. The U.S. military hoped that by bombing Hanoi, the capital of North Vietnam, and Haiphong, North ...read more

U.S. ground troops return from Cambodia

U.S. ground combat troops end two months of operations in Cambodia and return to South Vietnam. Military officials reported 354 Americans had been killed and 1,689 were wounded in the operation. The South Vietnamese reported 866 killed and 3,724 wounded. About 34,000 South ...read more

First New Zealand troops arrive

Twenty-four New Zealand Army engineers arrive in Saigon as a token of that country’s support for the American effort in South Vietnam. The contingent was part of the Free World Military Forces, an effort by President Lyndon B. Johnson to enlist other nations to support the ...read more

The Stones fight the law, and the law wins

On June 29, 1967, Keith Richards sat before magistrates in Chichester, West Sussex, England, facing charges that stemmed from the infamous raid of Richards’ Redlands estate five months earlier. Though the raid netted very little in the way of actual drugs, what it did net was a ...read more

The Globe Theater burns down

The Globe Theater, where most of Shakespeare’s plays debuted, burned down on this day in 1613.The Globe was built by Shakespeare’s acting company, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, in 1599 from the timbers of London’s very first permanent theater, Burbage’s Theater, built in 1576. ...read more

Katharine Hepburn dies at age 96

On this day in 2003, Katharine Hepburn–a four-time Academy Award winner for Best Actress and one of the greatest screen legends of Hollywood’s golden era–dies of natural causes at the age of 96, at her home in Old Saybrook, Connecticut.Hepburn was born into a well-to-do New ...read more

Seoul department store collapses

The Sampoong department store in Seoul, South Korea, collapses on this day in 1995, killing more than 500 people. The tragedy in the upscale store occurred due to a series of errors made by the designers and contractors who built the store and the criminal negligence of the ...read more

Boston doctor found guilty of killing wife

On June 29, 2001, Boston doctor Dirk Greineder, 60, is found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Mabel Greineder, 58, his wife of more than 30 years.Dirk Greineder was a distinguished allergist. His wife, known as May, worked for him as a nurse and was pursuing an ...read more

Congress votes new sanctions against China

In yet another reaction to the Chinese government’s brutal massacre of protesters in Tiananmen Square in Beijing earlier in the month, the House of Representatives unanimously passes a package of sanctions against the People’s Republic of China. American indignation, however, was ...read more

Actress Jayne Mansfield dies in car crash

Blonde bombshell actress Jayne Mansfield is killed instantly on this day in 1967 when the car in which she is riding strikes the rear of a trailer truck on Interstate-90 east of New Orleans, Louisiana.Mansfield had been on her way to New Orleans from Biloxi, Mississippi, where ...read more