Reported in the News Letter on June 20, 1958: Brilliant France ends Northern Ireland’s World Cup dream

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Northern Ireland were beaten 4-0 by France and eliminated from the World Cup at Norrkoeping last night.

Northern Ireland had most of the play in the first half, and were unlucky to be a goal down at half-time, but after the interval the French slammed in three goals within twelve minutes and carved their way through to a semi-final match against Brazil.

Blanchflower and Cush, the Irish wing halves, gave their forwards a great service in the first half, but the attack were unable to capitalise on their chances against the mobile, quick-veering French defence.

The world-class French forwards were tremendously difficult to hold once they got well into their stride. The inside trio of Fontaine, Kopa and Plantoni played brilliantly and gave the Irish defence a hectic time.

Gregg, the goalkeeper, whose injured ankle fortunately held through the match, could not be blamed for any of the goals, and he made many daring interceptions and flying saves.

The Northern Ireland team are to be honoured on their return from Sweden by the Lord Mayor, Corporation and citizens of Belfast.

The Lord Mayor, Alderman W Cecil McKee, sent the following telegram to the captain, Blanchflower, last night: “Hard luck. Wonderful fight. Belfast anxious to give team a civic reception worthy of their sportsmanship. Can you arrange date after injuries have been healed?”

Team: Gregg, Keith, McMichael, Blanchflower, Cunningham, Cush, Bingham, Casey, Scott, McIlroy, McParland.

Wales were eliminated from the Cup at Gothenburg last night when they were beaten by Brazil 1-0. The Welshmen held the much-fancied Brazilians in a goalless first half, but 17-year-old Pele gave Brazil victory with a goal 25 minutes after the interval.