World Cup 2014 countdown: The only appearance of Wales, back in 1958

Counting down the 100 greatest moments in the history of the World Cup
  • @simonrice

The World Cup in Brazil is coming into view and everyone is hoping this summer's carnival can take its place among some of the great tournaments of the past.

That won't be easy though, as this series will testify. In the run-up to the tournament, we're counting down the 100 greatest World Cup moments.

Check out our latest instalment below, and for any you missed, see the gallery at the end of the article.

The only appearance of Wales

Wales have made just one World Cup appearance, and when they did so back in 1958, they needed some good fortune to make it.

They finished second in their qualifying group behind Czechoslovakia and were therefore not going. But unrest in the Middle East saw Egypt and Sudan refuse to play against Israel, who were subsequently named winners of their group.

With Fifa unhappy with this outcome, a play-off featuring Israel and a European runner-up was organised. Wales were the lucky team picked out of the hat to play them and they would go on to comfortably beat Israel over two-legs.

When they reached the tournament in Sweden, they gave an excellent account of themselves, going through the group stage unbeaten. Jimmy Murphy's side drew all three games before beating Hungary 2-1 in a play-off.

That set up a tantalising quarter-final with eventual winners Brazil. A 17-year-old Pele scored the only goal of the game with a sublime finish and Wales were out - but they left with their heads held high.