Association football at the 1956 Summer Olympics
|Dates||November 24-December 8|
|Champions||Soviet Union (1st title)|
|Goals scored||53 (4.42 per match)|
|Attendance||194,333 (16,194 per match)|
Neville D'Souza |
(4 goals each)
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.
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:
Medal of Excellence → Frank Loughran
|Olympic Park Stadium||Melbourne Cricket Ground|
|Capacity: 40,000||Capacity: 104,000|
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.
November 24, 1956
| Isayev 23'
November 26, 1956
| Twissell 12' 20'
Lewis 21' (p.k.)
Laybourne 30' 82' 85'
Bromilow 75' 78'
Australia v Japan
November 27, 1956
| McMillan 26' (p.k.)
Melbourne Cricket Ground
Referee: R.Lund (NZL)
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.
Yugoslavia v United States
November 28, 1956
| Veselinović 10' 84' 90'
Antić 12' 73'
Mujić 16' 35' 56'
November 29, 1956
December 1, 1956
| Salnikov 17' 59'
November 30, 1956
| Dimitrov 6'
Kolev 40' 85'
Milanov 45' 75' 80'
Australia v India
December 1, 1956
|Morrow 17' 41'||Report|| D'Souza 9' 33' 50' |
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
| Papec 54' 65'
Salam 78' (o.g.)
December 5, 1956
|Soviet Union||2–1 (a.e.t.)||Bulgaria|
| Streltsov 112'
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
| Diev 37' 60'
Gold Medal match
December 8, 1956
|Soviet Union||2 (AET)|
- 4 goals
- 3 goals
- 2 goals
- 1 goal
- Frank Loughran (Australia)
- Graham McMillan (Australia)
- Georgi Dimitrov (Bulgaria)
- Ernst-Günter Habig (Germany)
- Laurie Topp (Great Britain)
- Krishna Kittu (India)
- Anatoli Ilyin (Soviet Union)
- Anatoli Isayev (Soviet Union)
- Valentin Kozmich Ivanov (Soviet Union)
- Igor Netto (Soviet Union)
- Boris Tatushin (Soviet Union)
- Al Zerhusen (United States)
- Own goals
- Association football at the 1956 Summer Olympics – Men's team squads
- Association football at the 1956 Summer Olympics – Men's qualification
- Olympic Football Tournament Melbourne 1956 - Top goalscoring players. FIFA.com
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2005-11-03. Retrieved 2006-11-03.