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Association football at the 1956 Summer Olympics

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

Association football at the 1956 Summer Olympics
Tournament details
Host countryAustralia
DatesNovember 24 – December 8
Final positions
Champions Soviet Union (1st title)
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 Veselinović
Bulgaria Dimitar Milanov
(4 goals each)[1]


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 tournamentEdit

First roundEdit

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.

India  w/o 1  Hungary

Bulgaria  w/o 1  Egypt

Soviet Union  2–1  Germany
Isayev   23'
Streltsov   86'
Report Habig   89'
Attendance: 12,000
Referee: Robert Mann (Great Britain)

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

Australia  2–0  Japan
McMillan   26' (p.k.)
Loughran   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
Veselinović   10'   84'   90'
Antić   12'   73'
Mujić   16'   35'   56'
Papec   20'
Report Zerhusen   42'
Attendance: 5,292
Referee: Maurice Swain (New Zealand)

Soviet Union  0–0 (a.e.t.)  Indonesia
Soviet Union  4–0  Indonesia
Salnikov   17'   59'
Ivanov   19'
Netto   43'
Attendance: 6,735
Referee: Reginald Lund (New Zealand)

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

Australia  2–4  India
Morrow   17'   41' Report D'Souza   9'   33'   50'
Kittu   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   54'   65'
Veselinović   57'
Salam   78' (o.g.)
Report D'Souza   52'

Soviet Union  2–1 (a.e.t.)  Bulgaria
Streltsov   112'
Tatushin   116'
Report Kolev   95'
Attendance: 21,079
Referee: Robert Mann (Great Britain)


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.

Bulgaria took Bronze defeating India 3–0.

Bronze Medal matchEdit

Bulgaria  3–0  India
Diev   37'   60'
Milanov   42'

Gold Medal matchEdit

Soviet Union  1–0  Yugoslavia
Ilyin   48' Report
Attendance: 86,716
Referee: Ron Wright (Australia)


Indian team at a tussle against Australia in the quarterfinal match.
  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
      Soviet Union 4²  
  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


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Olympic Football Tournament Melbourne 1956 – Top goalscoring players.
  2. ^ "Football at the 1956 Melbourne Summer Games". Sports Reference. Retrieved 13 October 2018.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2005-11-03. Retrieved 2006-11-03.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 linksEdit