Olympic Football Tournament Melbourne 1956
November 24 - December 08

Olympic Football Tournament Melbourne 1956

Olympic Football Tournament Melbourne 1956

Final Tournament Standing


Melbourne, 1956

Because of the Hungarian Revolution and the Soviet Union's reaction to it, only 11 countries participated in this tournament, making it the smallest football competition since the 1908 & 1912 Summer Games.

The Soviets prevailed, winning their first Olympic football medal -- a gold -- in only their second appearance. Though the Soviets had traditionally downplayed the star system, these Games marked the emergence of goalkeeper Lev Yashin, who surrendered but two goals in four games and who eventually would achieve even more international greatness, including participating in three World Cups, stopping more than 100 penalty kicks and playing for his country 78 times.

On the way to the final -- a 1-0 victory over Yugoslavia, who captured their third successive silver medal -- the Soviets almost did not get past a tough Indonesian squad in the quarter-finals and the Bulgarians in the semi-finals.

Indonesia unveiled an iron curtain of its own, keeping ten players in the penalty area and one striker upfield when the Soviets had the ball. The ploy worked, because they played the favourites to a scoreless tie. In the replay, however, the Soviets prevailed, 4-0, Sergei Salnikov scoring two goals.

In the semi-finals, Soviet right-back Nikolai Tisjenko fractured his collarbone. But remained in the match bandaged up because substitutes were not allowed in those days. After a scoreless tie at 90 minutes, Ivan Kolev lifted Bulgaria into the lead in extra-time but Eduard Streltsov and Boris Tatushin scored for the Soviets in the final minutes for a 2-1 victory.

No great heroics or comebacks were necessary for the Soviets in the final as Anatoly Ilyin's 48th minute header gave them a 1-0 win, a goal by Yugoslavian Zlako Papec being disallowed for offside.

Bulgaria, , won their first Olympic football medal, blanking India in the third-place match, 3-0, as Todor Diev scored twice.