Association football at the 1956 Summer Olympics

Association football at the 1956 Summer Olympics
Tournament details
Host country Australia
Dates November 24-December 8
Teams 11
Final positions
Champions  Soviet Union (1st title)
Runners-up  Yugoslavia
Third place  Bulgaria
Fourth place  India
Tournament statistics
Matches played 12
Goals scored 53 (4.42 per match)
Attendance 194,333 (16,194 per match)
Top scorer(s) India Neville D'Souza
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Todor Veselinović
Bulgaria Dimitar Milanov
(4 goals each)[1]

The Football tournament at the 1956 Summer Olympics was won by the Soviet Union.


Following five withdrawals, the tournament featured three Eastern bloc teams and four from Asia in a tournament that matched professionals against the amateurs required in Olympics. The other sides included in the draw were from the United States, Germany (West and East united), Great Britain and the hosts Australia, featuring in their very first Olympic football tournament.

The ability to develop an "amateur" side around two or three long-term internationals could only be achieved by use of the tendency of Eastern bloc sides to provide state-funding for their athletes. This compared most favourably with the Australians who did not pay their footballers during the tournament; player income was supported by community fund-raising.[2]

Of the Australian squad, in Melbourne's The Age newspaper, Alex Barr wrote:

"The original [Australian] squad was not the best and four weeks of intensive training did nothing to improve the standard. Australian soccer has lost a wonderful chance to gain world prominence and the game has suffered a body blow."

Some of the players selected in the 1956 Australian squad included the following Football Hall of Fame inductees:

Hall of Champions → Bob Bignall and Ron Lord

Medal of Excellence → Frank Loughran

Award of Distinction → William Henderson, Graham McMillan, Bruce Morrow and Cliff Sander


Olympic Park Stadium Melbourne Cricket Ground
Capacity: 40,000 Capacity: 104,000
Association football at the 1956 Summer Olympics (Melbourne)

Final tournament

First round

German players Rudi Hoffmann (left) and Max Schwall (right)

Five teams withdrew (Egypt, China, Turkey, South Vietnam, and the football team of Hungary, a nation that was cheered in other Olympic contests due to the ongoing suppression by Soviet troops), which left only three games to play in the first round.

The tournament got under way with the match Soviet Union against Germany. Germany appeared in Olympics as United Team of Germany including East German athletes. The West German Amateur team (de:Deutsche Fußballnationalmannschaft der Amateure) had been selected to represent Germany. It was not the favourite against the Soviets as even the proper semi-pro German squad, reigning 1954 FIFA World Cup champions, had lost two games against them in 1955. Coached by Sepp Herberger, the German side was defeated 1-2 by the eventual Gold medal winners. Just as the 1928 Summer Olympics had introduced the world to the future World Champions, Uruguay, so here the Soviets fielded the makings of a side that four years later would win the 1960 UEFA European Football Championship in France. In goal they played Lev Yashin. Their side was led by Igor Netto, their left-half; the forward-line led by Torpedo Moscow's Valentin Kozmich Ivanov, father to the Russian referee Valentin Valentinovich Ivanov.

The Great Britain football team eliminated Thailand 9-0, and Australia defeated Japan 2-0.

India  w/o 1  Hungary



Indonesia  w/o 1  South Vietnam



China PR  2  Turkey



Bulgaria  w/o 1  Egypt



United States  3  Yugoslavia



November 24, 1956
Soviet Union  21  Germany
Isayev  23'
Streltsov  86'
Report Habig  89'
Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne
Attendance: 12,000
Referee: R.H. Mann (GBR)

November 26, 1956
Great Britain  90  Thailand
Twissell  12'  20'
Lewis  21' (p.k.)
Laybourne  30'  82'  85'
Bromilow  75'  78'
Topp  90'
Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne

Referee: Latyshev (USSR)

Attendance: 3,693

November 27, 1956
Australia  20  Japan
McMillan  26' (p.k.)
Loughran  61'
Melbourne Cricket Ground

Referee: R.Lund (NZL)

Attendance: 3,568

1 Egypt, South Vietnam, and Hungary withdrew.
2 Both teams withdrew; the match was scratched.
3 As five of the original sixteen teams withdrew, the match was postponed to the quarterfinals.


Yugoslavia defeated the United States 9-1.

Great Britain lost 6-1 to Bulgaria. Halfway through the game, ratings from HMS Newcastle vaulted the fence and exhorted the team to show more grit. They were peacefully escorted off the field.

The Soviets drew their game against Indonesia 0-0 and won 4-0 in the replay.

The Indians defeated Australia 4-2 with a hat trick by centre forward Neville D’Souza - the first by an Asian in the Olympics. Prior to the game there had been debate, once again, as to whether the Indians should be shod. Sir Stanley Rous respected their decision either way, although in the end, the Indians decided to wear boots. The Indonesian referee disallowed two first half goals. Bob Bignall the Australian captain was unable to get an intelligible reply out of him during the break.

November 28, 1956
Yugoslavia  91  United States
Veselinović  10'  84'  90'
Antić  12'  73'
Mujić  16'  35'  56'
Papec  20'
Report Zerhusen  42'
Olympic Park Stadium, Melbourne
Attendance: 5,292
Referee: Swain (NZL)

November 29, 1956
Soviet Union  00  Indonesia
Olympic Park Stadium, Melbourne
Attendance: 3,228
Referee: Takenokoshi (JPN)

December 1, 1956
Soviet Union  40  Indonesia
Salnikov  17'  59'
Ivanov  19'
Netto  43'
Olympic Park Stadium, Melbourne
Attendance: 6,735
Referee: Lund (NZL)

November 30, 1956
Bulgaria  61  Great Britain
Dimitrov  6'
Kolev  40'  85'
Milanov  45'  75'  80'
Report Lewis  30'
Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne
Attendance: 6,748
Referee: Wright (AUS)

December 1, 1956
Australia  24  India
Morrow  17'  41' Report D'Souza  9'  33'  50'
Kittu  80'
Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne
Attendance: 7,413
Referee: C.H. Wensveen (IDN)


Yugoslavia defeated India 4-1. It would be their third consecutive Olympic final.

The Soviets defeated Bulgaria 2-1. Bulgaria scored first and conceded two goals in the last six minutes of the game.

December 4, 1956
Yugoslavia  41  India
Papec  54'  65'
Veselinović  57'
Salam  78' (o.g.)
Report D'Souza  52'
Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne

Referee: Latyshev (USSR)

Attendance: 16,626

December 5, 1956
Soviet Union  21 (a.e.t.)  Bulgaria
Streltsov  112'
Tatushin  116'
Report Kolev  95'
Olympic Park Stadium, Melbourne

Referee: R.H. Mann (GBR)

Attendance: 21,079


Yugoslavia were playing Red Star Belgrade's Dragoslav Šekularac in this tournament; he would feature in the 1960 UEFA European Football Championship final. They lost 1-0 to a second half Anatoli Ilyin goal. This was the first international tournament win for the Soviet Union.

Bulgaria took Bronze defeating India 3-0.

Bronze Medal match

December 7, 1956
Bulgaria  30  India
Diev  37'  60'
Milanov  42'
Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne

Referee: Latyshev (USSR)

Attendance: 21,236

Gold Medal match

December 8, 1956
Soviet Union  10  Yugoslavia
Ilyin  48' Report
Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne

Referee: R. Wright (AUS)
Linesmen: R. H. Mann (GBR) & M. Swain (NZL)

Attendance: 86,716


  First Round Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
    Yugoslavia 9  
      United States 1  
    Yugoslavia 4  
    India 1  
  Japan 0  
  Australia 2  
    Australia 2
      India 4  
  India w/o
    Yugoslavia 0
    Soviet Union 1
  South Vietnam  
  Indonesia w/o  
    Indonesia 0-0
      Soviet Union 0-4  
  Soviet Union 2
  Germany 1  
    Soviet Union 2 (AET)
    Bulgaria 1  
  Bulgaria w/o  
    Bulgaria 6
      Great Britain 1  
  Great Britain 9
  Thailand 0  


4 goals
3 goals
2 goals
1 goal
Own goals


Gold Silver Bronze
 Soviet Union  Yugoslavia  Bulgaria
Lev Yashin
Nikolai Tishchenko
Mikhail Ogonkov
Aleksei Paramonov
Anatoli Bashashkin
Igor Netto
Boris Tatushin
Anatoli Isayev
Eduard Streltsov
Valentin Kozmich Ivanov
Vladimir Ryzhkin
Boris Kuznetsov
Iosif Betsa
Sergei Salnikov
Boris Razinsky
Anatoli Maslenkin
Anatoli Ilyin
Nikita Simonyan
Vladimir Belyayev
Anatoli Porkhunov
Sava Antić
Ibrahim Biogradlić
Mladen Koščak
Dobroslav Krstić
Luka Liposinović
Muhamed Mujić
Zlatko Papec
Petar Radenković
Nikola Radović
Ivan Santek
Dragoslav Šekularac
Ljubiša Spajić
Todor Veselinović
Blagoja Vidinić
Stefan Bozhkov
Todor Diev
Georgi Dimitrov
Milcho Goranov
Ivan Petkov Kolev
Nikola Kovachev
Manol Manolov
Dimitar Milanov
Georgi Naydenov
Panayot Panayotov
Kiril Rakarov
Gavril Stoyanov
Krum Yanev
Yordan Yosifov
Iliya Kirchev

See also


External links

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