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On This Date in Sports June 29, 1958: Pele is Brazil's Teen Idol

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

Brazil wins the World Cup for the first time thanks to their 17-year-old star Pele who scores twice in a 5-2 win over host Sweden. The young star had six goals in the knockout stage, including a hat trick against France in the semifinals. It was just a sign of great things to come for Pele as Brazil won three of the four World Cups, during his international career.

Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento on October 23, 1940, in Minas Gerais, Brazil. He earned the nickname based on how he pronounced his favorite player Bile’s name. Pele showed an incredible gift on the pitch early and began paying with adults as young as 14 in an indoor soccer league. A year later he was named to Brazilian National Team.

When the 1958 FIFA World Cup began, Pele was nursing an injury, leading Brazil to consider leaving him off the team. However, the remaining players rallied around their young star, and he made the trip to Sweden as he had just helped Santos win its league championship. Pele made his World Cup after the missing the first two games in a 2-0 win over the Soviet Union to win the Group.

In the knockout stage, Pele began to find the scoring touch as he netted the game’s only goal in a 1-0 win over Wales in the quarterfinals. Against France in the Semifinals, it was Pele providing the heroics again as he scored three times to lead Brazil to a 5-2 win. Facing Sweden, the host nation of the 1958 World Cup, Pele scored two more goals as Brazil won 5-2 in a stadium just outside of Stockholm. For his strong play in the knockout stage, Pele was named the best young player of the 1958 World Cup with 6 goals in three games.

Pele and Brazil returned four years later and won the World Cup again in Chile. An injury to Pele in England in 1966 led to a disappointing early exit, but in 1970 it was Brazil becoming the first country to win the World Cup three times thanks to the electric play Pele in Mexico. It would be the final time Pele participated in the World Cup, as he retired from international play as the consensus greatest player ever in Soccer.