Snap shot: Wales qualify for 1958 World Cup
Sunday, September 6, 2015
The last time Wales qualified for a major tournament they had to beat Israel, and history may yet repeat itself as the teams meet again on the road to UEFA EURO 2016.
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With Wales on the verge of UEFA EURO 2016 qualification, memories are stirred of their only previous final tournament appearance, when they faced Israel in a play-off for a place at the 1958 FIFA World Cup.
A 2-0 victory in Tel Aviv was mirrored in the return match at Cardiff's Ninian Park on 5 February 1958, where goals from Ivor Allchurch and Cliff Jones booked Jimmy Murphy's team a ticket to Sweden with a 4-0 aggregate win. The dream would end at the quarter-final stage as a solitary Pelé goal sent eventual winners Brazil to the last four. Here is the starting 11 that defeated Israel in Cardiff.
1. Jack Kelsey
A Swansea-born goalkeeper who played over 350 competitive games for Arsenal between 1949 and 1963 and is regarded as one of the club's greatest-ever keepers. Establishing himself as Wales's No1 in 1954, Kelsey represented his country 41 times, including all five matches at the 1958 World Cup. Retired through injury in 1963.
2. Stuart Williams
Full-back who played the majority of his football for West Bromwich Albion after moving from home-town club Wrexham, before a later switch to Southampton in 1962. Represented Wales 43 times between 1954 and 1965 and went into club management with teams in Iran and Norway after his playing days ended.
3. Alan Harrington
Spent his entire professional playing career at local side Cardiff City, making over 300 outings between 1951 and 1966 before being forced out of the game through injury. Featured for Wales between 1956 and 1961, yet earned only 11 caps.
4. Mel Hopkins
A double winner with Tottenham Hotspur in 1960/61, Hopkins had 12 years at White Hart Line before joining Brighton & Hove Albion in 1964. Left-back for Wales at the 1958 World Cup, Hopkins figured 34 times for his country between 1956 and 1963. Retired in 1970.
5. Mel Charles
The brother of John, Mel played over 200 matches for local club Swansea Town (now Swansea City) before going to Arsenal in a £42,750 move in 1959. A versatile player who could operate in defence or attack, Charles scored six goals in 34 appearances for Wales between 1955 and 1962. Scored all four when Wales defeated Northern Ireland 4-0 in 1962.
6. Dave Bowen
The captain of the side, the Arsenal winger made 19 outings for Wales between 1954 and 1959, and later managed his country between 1964 and 1974. Had two stints at Northampton Town as a player and a further two as manager.
7. Ron Hewitt
A striker and squad player who played just five games for Wales, his final cap being the World Cup quarter-final loss to Brazil. A journeyman footballer who turned out for 13 different clubs between 1948 and 1971, Hewitt enjoyed his best years with home-town side Wrexham, netting 94 goals in 231 matches in two stays between 1951 and 1960.
8. Ivor Allchurch
A Swansea-born veteran of almost 700 Football League appearances that yielded 249 goals for Swansea, Newcastle United and Cardiff. Scored 23 times in 68 outings for Wales between 1950 and 1966, including two at the 1958 World Cup. Played semi-professional football in the Swansea area until retiring aged 50 and is considered one of Wales's all-time greats.
9. Terry Medwin
One of three members of the team to win the double with Tottenham Hotspur in 1960/61, this Swansea-born winger started his career at his local club before signing for Spurs in 1956. Scored six goals in 30 appearances for Wales between 1953 and 1963, including one goal at the World Cup. Later coached at Fulham and Swansea City.
10. John Charles
The headline act in the side and seen by some as Britain's greatest-ever player. Went to Juventus in a British-record transfer of £65,000 in 1957 after almost a decade at Leeds United. Labelled 'Il Gigante Buono' (The Gentle Giant) by Juve's fans, Charles hit 108 goals in 155 games during his time in Turin. Played 38 times for Wales after debuting as an 18-year-old in 1950, scoring 15 goals for his country, but missed the World Cup quarter-final against Brazil through injury.
11. Cliff Jones
An attacking winger and a key member of the Tottenham team that won the double in 1960/61, Jones amassed over 300 matches for the London club between 1958 and 1968. Also compiled 16 goals from 59 appearances for Wales, including the second in the 2-0 win over Israel in Cardiff that ensured World Cup qualification.
Manager – Jimmy Murphy (not pictured)
A Rhondda-born winger who played for West Brom and Wales between 1928 and 1939. Appointed manager of Wales in 1956, Murphy held the post for eight years and also worked as assistant to Matt Busby at Manchester United. In a twist of fate, Wales's victory over Israel took place the day before the Munich air disaster, with Murphy's Welsh commitments meaning he did not travel with United for their fateful European fixture. Murphy stepped up to manage the Mancunians during Busby's recovery before leading Wales at the World Cup.
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