Association Football At the 1956 Summer Olympics
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Association Football At the 1956 Summer Olympics
Association football at the 1956 Summer Olympics
Tournament details
Host countryAustralia
DatesNovember 24 - December 8
Final positions
Champions Soviet Union
Runners-up Yugoslavia
Third place Bulgaria
Fourth place India
Tournament statistics
Matches played12
Goals scored53 (4.42 per match)
Attendance194,333 (16,194 per match)
Top scorer(s)India Neville D'Souza
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Todor Veselinovi?
Bulgaria Dimitar Milanov
(4 goals each)[1]

The association football tournament at the 1956 Summer Olympics was won by the Soviet Union.[2]


Following five withdrawals, the tournament featured three Eastern bloc teams and four from Asia. The other sides included in the draw were from the United States, Germany (West and East united), Great Britain and the hosts Australia, competing in their first Olympic football tournament.

The tendency of Eastern bloc countries to provide state-funding for their athletes put Western amateurs at a significant disadvantage. As a result, all Olympic football tournaments 1952 onwards were dominated by the Soviet Union and its satellites.[3]


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

As five of the original sixteen teams withdrew, USA vs Yugoslavia match was postponed to the quarterfinals.

Attendance: 12,000
Referee: Robert Mann (Great Britain)

Great Britain 9-0 Thailand
Twissell Goal 12 Goal 20
Lewis Goal 21 (p.k.)
Laybourne Goal 30 Goal 82 Goal 85
Bromilow Goal 75 Goal 78
Topp Goal 90

Australia 2-0 Japan
McMillan Goal 26 (p.k.)
Loughran Goal 61
Attendance: 3,568
Referee: Reginald Lund (New Zealand)

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.[4]

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 9-1 United States
Veselinovi? Goal 10 Goal 84 Goal 90
Anti? Goal 12 Goal 73
Muji? Goal 16 Goal 35 Goal 56
Papec Goal 20
Report Zerhusen Goal 42
Attendance: 5,292
Referee: Maurice Swain (New Zealand)

Soviet Union 4-0 Indonesia
Salnikov Goal 17 Goal 59
Ivanov Goal 19
Netto Goal 43
Attendance: 6,735
Referee: Reginald Lund (New Zealand)

Bulgaria 6-1 Great Britain
Dimitrov Goal 6
Kolev Goal 40 Goal 85
Milanov Goal 45 Goal 75 Goal 80
Report Lewis Goal 30
Attendance: 6,748
Referee: Ron Wright (Australia)

Australia 2-4 India
Morrow Goal 17 Goal 41 Report D'Souza Goal 9 Goal 33 Goal 50
Kittu Goal 80
Attendance: 7,413
Referee: Chris Wensveen (Indonesia)


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.

Yugoslavia 4-1 India
Papec Goal 54 Goal 65
Veselinovi? Goal 57
Salam Goal 78 (o.g.)
Report D'Souza Goal 52

Attendance: 21,079
Referee: Robert Mann (Great Britain)


Yugoslavia were playing Red Star Belgrade's Dragoslav ?ekularac 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.

Bulgaria took Bronze defeating India 3-0.

Bronze Medal match

Bulgaria 3-0 India
Diev Goal 37 Goal 60
Milanov Goal 42

Gold Medal match

Attendance: 86,716
Referee: Ron Wright (Australia)


Indian team at a tussle against Australia in the quarterfinal match.
First round Quarter-finals Semi-finals Final
November - Olympic Park
  Yugoslavia 9
  United States 1
December - MCG
  Yugoslavia 4
  India 1
  Australia 2
December - MCG
  Japan 0
  Australia 2
  India 4
  India w/o
December - MCG
  Yugoslavia 0
  Soviet Union 1
  Indonesia w/o
December - Olympic Park
  South Vietnam
  Indonesia 0
  Soviet Union 4
  Soviet Union 2
December - Olympic Park
  Germany 1
  Soviet Union 2 (a.e.t.)
  Bulgaria 1
  Bulgaria w/o
December - MCG
  Bulgaria 6
November December - MCG
  Great Britain 1
  Great Britain 9   India 0
  Thailand 0   Bulgaria 3


4 goals
3 goals
2 goals
1 goal
Own goals


See also


  1. ^ Olympic Football Tournament Melbourne 1956 - Top goalscoring players.
  2. ^ "Football at the 1956 Melbourne Summer Games". Sports Reference. Retrieved 2018.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2005-11-03. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "News .....taken from "The Socceroos and their Opponents" by Laurie Schwab". Australian Online Soccer Museum. Australian Soccer Preservation Society. Archived from the original on 27 August 2006.

External links

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