When Pele Broke Our Hearts: Wales & the 1958 World Cup


When Pele Broke Our Hearts: Wales & the 1958 World Cup Pele scored his first World Cup goal for Brazil against Wales in the Quarter finals of the 1958 Tournammment Wales lost 1 0 and have not qualified for football s Soccer premier event since The fascinating story of Wales and the 1958 World Cup is told here for the first time by Mario Risoli The team s initial failure to qualify after finishing second in their garoup to Czechoslovkia was dramatically turned around when they beat Israel in a playoff Not only did Wales win but two Manchester United players choose country over club and were in Cardiff when many of their team mates died on the runway in Munich The Welsh FA, in their wisdom, decided to save money by reducing the squad by two players yet travelled to Sweden with 36 committee men and seats booked on the first plane to London following the first round games Much to their surprise and inconvenience the team qualified for the quarter finals forcing the men in blazers to fly to London only to catch the first flight back to Sweden.


3 thoughts on “When Pele Broke Our Hearts: Wales & the 1958 World Cup

  1. Maxi Maxi says:

    A brilliant story for all football fans Really great gift that can be passed around Loads of good input from players.


  2. Ross1927 Ross1927 says:

    Who would have thought that the Welsh national side ever qualfied for a tournament,after this there were a couple of times that Wales almost qualified but always missed out by a toothcomb the recent ones being Romania at home in 93 and Russia in the Euro play offs in 2003.Onto the review I first read this book after borrowing it from a friend and reading it was very interesting how disorganised and naive the FAW were back then sounds like now I mean they didn t know most of the players and they booked their flights back early because they thought that Wales would not make it to the quarter finals.It was also good reading about manager Jimmy Murphy who was Bubsy s assistant at Man utd who missed out from being killed in the Munich air disaster as he went to manage Wales in the play off qualifier against Israel and John Charles almost missing the tournament due to the Italian FA wanting him to play a Italian pre season competition as Italy did not qualify that year.What probably makes things hard to swallow was that we lost against Brazil by one goal with John Charles injuried and that when Wales returned they were not given a heros welcome home, most of the Welsh public didn t even know they were in the world cup.Recommended for any Welsh football fan.


  3. Charlie Bartel Charlie Bartel says:

    1958 was the first and so far only World Cup where all 4 British Associations Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales qualified for the finals WHEN PELE BROKE OUR HEARTS is the story of Wales participation at their only World Cup It is a story of heroes who dared to reach for the sun.Wales was one of the smallest countries in Europe to try and qualify for the World Cup finals They seemed to have fallen short when an unexpected decision from FIFA gave them a second chance to make the final field of 16 They seized this opportunity and made the final field All along the way their administrators did everything in their power to sabotage their efforts Welsh football administrators dictated they could only take a squad of 18 when FIFA rules allowed a nation up to 22 players When injuries took the team apart, the squad paid for this ridiculous decision Capable players were not chosen because of religious bigotry or the singing of Broadway show tunes on the team coach Meanwhile 16 administrators selectors made the trip, all traveling together, while the players were scattered on different flights.Cliff Jones, Jack Kelsey, Ivor the Golden Boy Allchurch, and the gentile giant John Charles were the core of the team, and among the best players in Europe But the biggest hero of all was team manager Jimmy Murphy Murphy, the assistant to Matt Busby at Manchester United was doing double duty when in February 1958 4 months before the final the United charter flight crashed taking off from Munich killing than 20 including 9 players and hospitalizing Matt Busby for months That meant Murphy had to run United through a dramatic FA Cup run while preparing Wales for the World Cup.There are moments of heartbreak and laughter in this story I picked up a number of phrases I never heard before like Niggling However the way the story is told may have little appeal to the average reader Those with an in depth knowledge of the World Cup or of Welsh heritage will find this a quick and easy read will Anyone else may be lost by the references to famous players or with the structure of British Football in the 50 s.And what of Pele In 1958 he was just 17, virtually unknown outside of Brazil The crucial match against against Wales served as his calling card to the world that something special was about to happen.One final note MARIO RISOLI interviewed nearly the entire Welsh team for the book, finding players throughout Wales and England, going as far as Australia to find team members These first hand accounts raise the value of WHEN PELE BROKE OUT HEARTS from a mere re cap of newspaper articles to a personal memoir It was interesting to read how different team mates saw the same incidents through different sets of eyes.There aren t many true heroes left in modern football In 1958 19 men the players and their brave manager were true heroes taking a little country near the top of world football Long may their memories live.


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