Association football at the 1956 Summer Olympics
Tournament details
Host countryAustralia
Dates24 November – 8 December 1956
Venue(s)Melbourne Cricket Ground
Olympic Park Stadium
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]

The association football tournament at the 1956 Summer Olympics was won by the Soviet Union.[2][3]

Defending champions Hungary were forced to withdraw due to the Soviet invasion of their country.


Following five withdrawals, the tournament featured three Eastern Bloc teams and four from Asia. The other sides included in the draw were the United States, the United Team of Germany (which was de facto West Germany), 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.[4][5]


Olympic Park Stadium Melbourne Cricket Ground
Capacity: 40,000 Capacity: 104,000

Final tournament

See also: Football at the 1956 Summer Olympics – Men's qualification

First round

German players Rudi Hoffmann (left) and Max Schwall (right)

Five of the sixteen qualified teams withdrew before the final draw:  China (who boycotted the Games to protest the reception of Taiwan),  Egypt (who boycotted the Games to protest the Israeli, British and French invasion),  Turkey,  South Vietnam, and the defending Olympic champions and recent World Cup runners-up  Hungary, a nation that was cheered in other Olympic contests due to their ongoing suppression by Soviet troops.

Therefore, only three games were played in the first round: as China and Turkey had been drawn against each other, their match was scratched.

The Soviet Union defeated the United Team of Germany 2–1, Great Britain defeated Thailand 9–0, and Australia defeated Japan 2–0.

Soviet Union 2–1 United Team of Germany
Isayev 23'
Streltsov 86'
Report Habig 89'
Olympic Park Stadium, Melbourne
Attendance: 12,000
Referee: Robert Mann (Great Britain)

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

Australia 2–0 Japan
McMillan 26' (pen.)
Loughran 61'
Olympic Park Stadium, Melbourne
Attendance: 3,568
Referee: Reginald Lund (New Zealand)

Byes: Bulgaria  (drawn against Egypt, who withdrew), India  (drawn against Hungary, who withdrew), Indonesia  (drawn against South Vietnam, who withdrew), United States  and  Yugoslavia (drawn against each other: match was postponed to the quarter-finals).


Yugoslavia defeated the United States 9–1.

Great Britain lost 6–1 to Bulgaria, and at half-time, ratings from HMS Newcastle vaulted the fence and exhorted the team to show more grit, after which they were peacefully escorted off the field.[6]

The Soviet Union 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'
Olympic Park Stadium, Melbourne
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'
Olympic Park Stadium, Melbourne
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'
Olympic Park Stadium, Melbourne
Attendance: 6,748
Referee: Ron Wright (Australia)

Australia 2–4 India
Morrow 17', 41' Report D'Souza 9', 33', 50'
Krishnaswamy 80'
Olympic Park Stadium, Melbourne
Attendance: 7,413
Referee: Chris Wensveen (Indonesia)


Yugoslavia defeated India 4–1. It would be their third consecutive Olympic final, after losing both in 1948 and 1952.

The Soviets defeated Bulgaria 2–1. Normal time finished 0–0, and Bulgaria scored first in extra time before conceding 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'
Olympic Park Stadium, Melbourne
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 European Nations' Cup final again versus the USSR. They lost 1–0 to a second half Anatoli Ilyin goal, with the Soviet Union winning the title.

Bulgaria took Bronze defeating India 3–0.

Bronze Medal match

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

Gold Medal match

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


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


There were 53 goals scored in 12 matches, for an average of 4.42 goals per match.

4 goals

3 goals

2 goals

1 goal

1 own goal


Gold Silver Bronze
 Soviet Union  Yugoslavia  Bulgaria
Lev Yashin
Nikolai Tishchenko
Mikhail Ogonkov
Aleksei Paramonov
Anatoli Bashashkin
Igor Netto
Boris Tatushin
Anatoli Isayev
Eduard Streltsov
Valentin Ivanov
Vladimir Ryzhkin
Boris Kuznetsov
Iosif Betsa
Sergei Salnikov
Boris Razinsky
Anatoli Maslenkin
Anatoli Ilyin
Nikita Simonyan
Yury Belyayev
Anatoli Porkhunov
Sava Antić
Ibrahim Biogradlić
Mladen Koščak
Dobroslav Krstić
Luka Liposinović
Muhamed Mujić
Zlatko Papec
Petar Radenković
Nikola Radović
Ivan Santek
Dragoslav Šekularac
Ljubiša Spajić
Todor Veselinović
Blagoja Vidinić
Stefan Bozhkov
Todor Diev
Georgi Dimitrov
Milcho Goranov
Ivan Petkov Kolev
Nikola Kovachev
Manol Manolov
Dimitar Milanov
Georgi Naydenov
Panayot Panayotov
Kiril Rakarov
Gavril Stoyanov
Krum Yanev
Yordan Yosifov
Pavel Vladimirov
Iliya Kirchev

See also


  1. ^ Olympic Football Tournament Melbourne 1956 – Top goalscoring players.
  2. ^ "Football at the 1956 Melbourne Summer Games". Sports Reference. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 13 October 2018.
  3. ^ Esamie, Thomas (sources: Sydney Morning Herald; personal records of Alan Garside Snr) (25 October 1999). "Games of the XVI. Olympiad: Football Tournament (Melbourne, Australia, 24th November – 8th December 1956)". RSSSF. Archived from the original on 22 September 2008. Retrieved 14 October 2022.((cite web)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ "Australian Online Soccer Museum". Archived from the original on 3 November 2005. Retrieved 3 November 2006.
  5. ^ Fútbol en los Juegos OlímpicosArchived 5 September 2021 at the Wayback Machine by José M. Martín, 8 August 2021
  6. ^ "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.