Re-Publishing historical football content digitally

England’s World Cup Play-Off 1958

By on 10 November 2017

The history of England’s World Cup pasts are illustrated and covered in our book 1966: The Road to Wembley – England’s journey to World Cup glory through the pages of Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly between 1951 – 1966. With the World Cup play-offs under way, we are going back in time to the 1958 World Cup to re-visit a “play-off” game involving England against the Soviet Union. This and other gems of England’s history are covered in more detail in the book along with many many fine pictures from the time.

Because several of the World Cup winning squad are suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s, we are donating £5 for every sale of the book to the Alzheimer’s Society. So get a great Xmas stocking filler as well as supporting the fight against dementia!


It is well known that the ’58 England build-up was disrupted by the loss of Manchester United players due to the Munich air crash, but in what would be familiar territory these days, the build-up to England’s opening group match against the USSR was “scandalised” by the breaking news of England Captain, Billy Wright, having an affair with the still-married Joy Beverley of the famous Beverley Sisters. England would come back  from 0-2 down to earn a hard fought 2-2 draw in the group game – their first meeting at the Sweden 1958 World Cup.

In those days, when teams finished level in the group stages of the World Cup, goal averages decided who finished higher in the group. Being totally level on both points and GA, England and the USSR had to play-off for a place in the Quarter Finals.

Final Standings Group 4 1958 World Cup – Sweden

Pos Team Pld W D L F A GA Pts
1 Brazil 3 2 1 0 5 0 5
2 Soviet Union 3 1 1 1 4 4 1 3
3 England 3 0 3 0 4 4 1 3
4 Austria 3 0 1 2 2 7 0.29 1

In what is now very very familiar territory,  England were unlucky in having goals disallowed and the woodwork hit but exited the tournament to a goal in the 69th minute by Ilyin.

Play-off Game Action – England v Soviet Union 1958

Soccer Stocking Fillers From SoccerAttic Gift Shop

If England, Billy Wright or anything soccer history is your thing you will love some of the gifts we have available in our gift shop. Click on the image to browse.