Argentina seemed favourites to host but Chile lobbied FIFA’s member nations and eventually landed rights to host it.
Format: Group stage, knockouts
Golden boot: Garrincha, Vava, Leonel Sanchez (Chile), Florian Albert (Yugoslavia), Valentin Ivanov (Soviet Union), Drazen Jerkovic (Yugoslavia)
Following FIFA’s decision to change the host continent every four years, and South America’s threat to boycott the tournament if it was hosted in Europe again, the World Cup returned to the southern hemisphere after 12 years.
Argentina seemed favourites to be picked but Chile lobbied FIFA’s member nations during various tournaments and congresses and managed to gain support and eventually landed rights to host it.
Chilean Football Federation’s President Carlos Dittborn said “Porque nada tenemos, lo haremos todo [Because we have nothing, we will do everything]”, and those words became the unofficial slogan of the tournament. They rang truer when the country was hit by the most powerful earthquake ever recorded (9.5 magnitude) in 1960.
Preparations for the tournament were severely affected and the number of host cities was cut down from eight to three.
When the tournament finally began, all four South American giants started with a win. Europe’s big names slowly registered their points following low-scoring draws and wins. Goal difference was introduced as the deciding factor for qualification into the knockouts, doing away with replays in case of a draw.
On-field action included clashes and not just football. The worst show was during Chile’s group match against Italy when both sets of players exchanged kicks and punches.
The match was termed the Battle of Santiago, and the Italian team was escorted out of the ground by police.
The home side exceeded expectations by winning two of their three group matches and beating European champions USSR to make it to the semis where they were beaten by defending champions and favourites Brazil.
In the other semi-final, Czechoslovakia beat Yugoslavia in front of a small crowd.
In the decider, Brazil trailed early on but once again found their way back to land a second consecutive World Cup title.
Garrincha took on the responsibility of leading Brazil’s attack after Pele got injured in the group match against Czechoslovakia.
After the devastating earthquake of 1960, the host nation had much to cheer about as they were able to put together the tournament and finish third.
Four players shared the golden boot award.
After lighting up the 1958 World Cup, Pele was widely regarded as the best player in the world and was under the spotlight four years later. However, his injury in the group stages kept him out of the rest of the tournament.
The introduction of goal difference as the deciding factor in qualification for the quarterfinal brought out defensive tactics and low-scoring games. The average number of goals scored per tournament dropped to 2.78, the lowest it has ever been.
Fights marred the games and the use of police to protect the players became a necessity.