June 29, 1958: Pelé and the first World Cup for Brazil

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On June 29, 1958, Brazil defeated the host nation Sweden 5-2 and he won his first World Cup.

Brazil came into the tournament as favorites and did not disappoint, thrilling the world with their spectacular game, often referred to as the “beautiful game”

The star of the tournament was a midfielder named Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known worldwide as Pelé. Edson, the son of a professional soccer player named Dodhino, was named after the American inventor Thomas Edison. Her mother, having seen her husband struggle to win money at the game, discouraged Pelé from playing football.

Pelé’s will triumphed, at the age of 14 he was discovered by de Brito, a former player of the Brazilian national team, who took the young scorer under his wing. Pelé played his first game with the national team at the age of 16 and he made his debut on the international stage at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden at the age of 17.

In that year’s Cup, Pelé did not make an appearance until Brazil’s third group stage match against the Soviet Union, in which he assisted Vava.

His first goal came in the quarterfinals against Wales; it was the only goal Brazil scored in a 1–0 victory. Nevertheless, it was in the semi-final against France that Pelé really stood outAs the crowd at the Rasunda Stadium listened to the Sweden-West Germany match on their radios, Pelé put on a show of attacking brilliance against the second-best team in the tournament. He scored three goals from the left and stunned the French team at his inability to contain a 17-year-old.

Pelé and Vava each scored two goals in the final. Upon receiving the Jules Rimet Cup as the best team in the world, the entire team cried.

Brazil won the World Cup again in 1962 and 1970, entitling them to retain the Jules Rimet Cup permanently as the first country to win three World Cups.

He played his last match in an exhibition between New York and Santos in October 1977, competing for both sides, and retired with a total of 1,281 goals in 1,363 games.

In 1999, the International Olympic Committee honored Pelé along with 10 others as one of the greatest athletes of the century.

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