Silver Road and Golden Stripes, Yet Another Football TL

Final 1956-57
The final came to South America this time around, with 60,000 people stacked in Lima's Estadio Nacional to watch the final of the second edition of the Nation's League. Most of these 60,000 were already embracing the Argentinian cause but about 700 Spaniards came to support their team in Lima. The first shock of the final would come before the game even started, with Alfredo Di Stefano, one of Spain's star strikers, declining the call to play in the final, citing political and personal pressures not to do so. The ex-argentinian therefore wouldn't be playing on the field that day, and would be a critical point of contention later on once the result would be known. Argentina soon found themselves in the driver's seat, scoring two before half-time quite easily. The Spanish, used to have Di Stefano in front, had to move Gento to center and therefore were not used to playing in this configuration. This would result in them only managing to find the net after 53 minutes of play, but wouldn't matter as Spain could not come forth with one more goal, letting Argentina escape with the game.

Humberto Maschio, captain of the Argentine team, poses for a photo before kick-off

Alonso saves a shot by Cruz during the second half of the final

Picture of the winning Argentinian team after the end of the match


1956-57 Stats & 57-58 Intro
Nations League 1956-57

Winners: Argentina - 1st title

Top Scorer: Fontaine (FRA) - 14 goals
Participants: Argentina (2), Uruguay (2), Brazil (2), Paraguay (2), Taiwan (2), England (2), Scotland (2), Austria (2), France (2), Hungary (2), Italy (2), Yugoslavia (2), Spain (2), West Germany (2), Sweden (2), Peru (1)

1957-58 Participants:
Europe: Hungary, England, West Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, USSR, Yugoslavia, Spain, Scotland, France, Italy & Sweden
South America: Argentina, Brazil & Uruguay
Asia: North Korea

Final Location: Solna, Sweden
Bracket Order:
Brazil v North Korea
Argentina v Uruguay
West Germany v Yugoslavia
USSR v Spain
Austria v Scotland
Czechoslovakia v France
Hungary v Sweden
England v Italy
Round of 16 1957-58
The Round of 16 starts off as usual in South America, with both Brazil and Argentina facing against North Korea and Uruguay respectively. Brazil would absolutely dismember North Korea similarly to what the Taiwanese suffered in the past years. The Argentinians would not have that easy of a road, as even if they handle Uruguay easily during the first leg in Buenos Aires, the game in Montevideo would prove to be much harder, Argentina losing by two and nearly getting eliminated if not for some great saves, leading to another Argentina v Brazil clash.
While West Germany would easily dominate Yugoslavia in Munich before drawing in Zagreb, the big game was Spain versus the Soviet Union. Because of international relations, both nations refused to play on each othe's home soil, leading to the first leg being played in Helsinki, with the second leg in Zurich. Spain would prove to be largely better than the USSR, beating them in Finland, then again in Switzerland with ease.
No luck for the Scots this time around as well, as they lose in Vienna against Austria on a lucky free kick shot finding its way into the top right corner. Scotland would not be able to recover in Glasgow, only managing to hold a draw and exiting the competition. The big game of this side of the bracket was Czechoslovakia v France, with the Czechs snatching the first leg in Prague. However the Czechs would find themselves quickly overrun in Paris as Kopa's squad would blow open the game, eliminating Czechoslovakia.
The final two games would see Hungary snatching their qualification in Sweden by scoring a goal in Stockholm after winning 1-0 at home, moving forward thanks to the away goals rule. England would sink with their Scottish neighbours, but they would sink at home in Wembley where Italy put two goals past the English keeper. With no options left, England was forced into a goaless draw in Milan and would have to exit the competition there and then.

Pele in action against North Korea in Brasilia.

Fontaine scores his second against Czechoslovakia in Paris
Quarter-Finals 1957-58
The Quarter-Finals start as usual with the South American matchup in Rio de Janeiro. This time Argentina was prepared for Brazil, and despite two goals by young prodigy Pele, Brazil conceded a draw with Argentina scoring two. The return leg in Buenos Aires would be a great game, with both teams wanting to secure the win as quickly as possible. Once more Argentina was more prepared than Brazil, and scored two before half-time. Brazil were then desperate to score and although they would put one in with Vava, wouldn't be able to win the day, letting Argentina slip through to the semi-finals. West Germany v Spain would also prove to be a big match, with Germany barely winning the first leg in Frankfurt. The return in Barcelona was a big event, and similarly to the Argentina v Brazil game, it was very close. In the end, Gento and Di Stefano could not answer Rahn and Seeler and would end up also getting eliminated.
France was expected to easily dominate Austria on their side of things but it was not to be. Instead the austrians proved to be a serious match for the French who conceded two. For the return leg in Marseilles, France was not about to let the humiliation go unpunished, and led by Fontaine, who would score four out of the five, would qualify and erase the tragedy of the first leg. Finally, Hungary was in for a big confrontation against Italy, and despite losing their star players, were still a force to be reckoned with. The Hungarians surprised the Italians in Budapest, before assuring themselves their ticket to the Semi-Finals in Naples by holding their draw.


Pele scores in the first leg of Brazil v Argentina
Semi-Finals 1957-58
With the Semi-Finals underway, Argentina were the first to play on their home soil, recieving West Germany in Buenos Aires. It was a tough match, but neither team could emerge victorious, Rahn answering Corbatta in the second half. The second leg would be a whole different story. After taking three different flights and nearly a day of travel, the argentinians came exhausted to West Berlin, where they were absolutely demolished by the West German squad who headed striahg to the final. This would inspire FIFA to generalise charter flights for participating countries in the Nations League.
France on the other hand would pull off a masterful performance in Paris, scoring two (one Fontaine, one Kopa) and heading confident into the return leg. However, Hungary would not go down without a fight and surprised France in Budapest with an early goal from Tichy. It wouldn't be enough to topple the roosters who cruised to the final in Stockholm...


Germany battles Argentina in West Berlin
Final 1957-58
The final of the 1958 Nations League was finally due, with 45,500 fans storming the Rasunda Stadium in Solna, just ahead of the World Cup there. France would take control of the game quite quickly, with Fontaine even scoring a goal. However the French would underestimate the Germans ability to recover, and Rahn quickly headed in an equalizer. But France had more than one trick up their sleeve, with Kopa regulating the midfield as he did in Real Madrid, eventually choking out Germany and scoring one more before half-time. This tactic would continue with Piantoni scoring France's third after 70 minutes. Seeler's late goal would not save West Germany as their collective action would only be a fluke as France won their first ever international tournament, and would soon confirm their good form at the 1958 WC.


Fontaine is held up in triumph after France's win

Di Stefano hands his Real Madrid teammate Kopa the winners trophy
1957-58 Stats & 58-59 Intro
Nations League 1957-58

Winners: France - 1st title

Top Scorer: Fontaine (FRA) - 10 goals
Participants: Brazil (3), Argentina (3), Uruguay (3), West Germany (3), Yugoslavia (3), Spain (3), Austria (3), Scotland (3), France (3), Hungary (3), Sweden (3), England (3), Italy (3), North Korea (1), USSR (1), Czechoslovakia (1)

1958-59 Participants:
Europe: Hungary, England, West Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, USSR, Yugoslavia, Spain, Scotland, France, Italy
South America: Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay
North America: USA
Asia: North Korea

Final Location: Chicago, USA
Bracket Order:
USA v Brazil
Argentina v Uruguay
West Germany v Spain
Hungary v Italy
England v Yugoslavia
Austria v France
USSR v Scotland
Czechoslovakia v North Korea
Round of 16 1958-59
The Americas would kick off the Round of 16 for this edition. And it would begin in Soldier Field, location of the final, where the US would recieve Brazil. It was predicted that Brazil could easily beat the US, however Brazil chose to test its younger squad against the Americans. However, they disappointed and only held a draw, leading to the 1958 winners being fielded in Brasilia, where Brazil won the day 4-0. Argentina and Uruguay met again, and once again Argentina prevailed. The Albiceleste left no chance to Uruguay in Mendoza, and despite losing in Montevideo, the Argentines still had a sufficient margin of error to pass onto the Quarter-Finals, to face off against Brazil once more.
The first part of the European bracket would prove to be most interesting. Particularly, the West Germany v Spain matchup would prove to be one of the biggest games of this tournament. Indeed, everyone thought that when West Germany slammed Spain in Bonn, this was that. However, the Spaniards showed much resilience in Madrid, resilience that allowed them to crawl their way back into a game where they were being led 1-0, to win 3-1 and qualify for the next round. There, they would have to face Hungary, who once again proved to be too much for Italy, who lacked coordination in every spot.
The dark years would continue for England. Facing against the rising Yugoslavians, England would prove to be no match for the squad. In Wembley, England would concede 5 goals, scoring only two in return. The defeat would be so bad, the Three Lions did not even bother sending their A-team to Belgrade. In response, Yugoslavia also sent their U-21s, leading to a dull 1-1 draw. France on the other hand would not let themselves be surprised like last year in Vienna. This time they came focused and wrecked Austria 6-2. Keeping their star players such as Kopa and Fontaine fresh for the Quarter-Final against Yugoslavia, the B-team was fielded in Nantes, where France still won the day, gliding towards the dreaded Yugoslavian matchup.
The bottom side of the bracket would be nicknamed the "Red" bracket, due to the three communist nations competing in it. The second Soviet appearance in the tournament would be the one where the Soviets would pass towards the Quarter-Finals, being no match for Scotland in Leningrad. The Soviets took it easy at Hampden Park, hanging on to a 1-0 victory to secure their ticket for the Quarter-Finals. Czechoslovakia, their European comrades would have a long way to travel after their intitial victory in Prague. Going through the Transsiberian Railway, playing friendlies against the local clubs on the way, the Czechs would finally face North Korea in Pyongyang, to date the only game played in an international FIFA tournament in North Korea. The Czechs would win the day, but come out of this voyage exhausted as they went into their match against the USSR.


Argentinian players celebrate their win over Uruguay

Scotland in action against the USSR in an empty Leningrad Stadium.
Quarter-Finals 1958-59
Brazil and Argentina would once again kick off the Quarter-Finals on the American side of the bracket, and yet again it would prove to be a heated contest for the win. Brazil were the first to recieve, and after a hard fought game, only managed to hold a tie. Argentina would prove to be much tougher than expected, and resisted in Buenos Aires, answering evert Brazilian goal with one of their own. Unfortunately for them, Pele's side was too much to handle and the Albiceleste would not advance, although they technically did not lose to the Selecao. In Europe, after their demonstration against West Germany, Spain were expected to easily win their Quarter-Final against Hungary. It was not to be however, as Hungary held the draw in Valencia, then against all odds forced Spain into a tough spot, leading 2-0 at half-time in Budapest. Despite Gento's best efforts Spain would not be able to recover, letting Hungary slip past into the Semi-Finals.
The "Red" side of the bracket would first see Yugoslavia take on France. Hyped up as a big match, it was indeed a tough contest, but Yugoslavia ended up on top in Belgrade. The return leg in Paris was even more disputed, but Kopa's France would fall due to a wobbly defense to the much superior Yugoslavian offense. The Yugoslavs would find the Soviets in the Semi-Finals, as the Soviet squad easily breezed through a thoroughly tired Czechoslovakian squad, beating them both in Moscow and Prague.



Argentina level against Brazil for the second time in Buenos Aires

Yugoslavia power through France at the Parc des Princes
Semi-Finals 1958-59
Brazil headed into the Semi-Finals as clear favorites against Hungary. This sentiment would be further proven as the Brazilians absolutely dismantled Hungary in every single line, beating the Europeans 4-0 in Sao Paulo. However, Hungary would not go down without a fight, butting heads with Brazil in Budapest, even surprising the Brazilians with a single goal, winning the game and going out with their heads high.
The real contest was between Yugoslavia and the USSR, who fought each other in neutral Greece and Finland, with Yugoslavia conceding a draw in the former. Everyone then thought the Soviets would just breeze through in the return leg, but it was not to be, as Yugoslavia got their act together, and despite an impressive performance by Lev Tashin, managed to slip through into the Final against Brazil.


The Soviets try to force a play onto Yugoslavia in their "Home" leg in Helsinki
Final 1958-59
The United States would for the first time be treated to international football via the final of the Nations League of 1959 at Chicago's Soldier Field. The Americans were curious as what this new sport had to offer, and the draw against Brazil had even more people hopeful about the future of the sport in the US. The venue was then packed for the clash between Brazil and Yugoslavia for the final. Both Brazil and Yugoslavia had come a long way to play, and so were both in quite tired spirit. However, the week spent in the US had benefitted both, and the tiredness factor wouldn't be much of an issue. Brazil started strong, with their young prodigy Pele scoring after only 10 minuted of play. However, Yugoslavia held firm, and after a good run by Veselinovic, Petakovic found Gilmar's top left corner, evening out the score. Brazil wouldn't be undone by the Yugoslavian performance and showed a whole new face during the second half, destroying the Yugoslavian hopes by scoring 4 in a row. Veselinovic's last minute volley kick would only be consolatory for Yugoslavia, who bent to the Brazilian dynasty.

Brazil on the offense

Elation for Brazil as they win their first Nations League.
1958-59 Stats and 59-60 Intro

Winners: Brazil - 1st title
Top scorer: Veselinovic (YUG) - 11 goals
Participants: Brazil (4), Argentina (4), Uruguay (4), West Germany (4), Spain (4), Hungary (4), Italy (4), Austria (4), France (4), Scotland (4), Soviet Union (2), Czechoslovakia (2), North Korea (2), United States (1)

1959-60 Participants:
Europe: Hungary, Soviet Union, France, Sweden, Spain, England, Yugoslavia, West Germany, Czechoslovakia, Scotland, Austria
South America: Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay
Asia: North Korea
North America: Mexico

Final Location: Paris, France
Bracket Order :
Argentina v Uruguay
Brazil v Mexico
Hungary v Yugoslavia
Sweden v Austria
Soviet Union v Czechoslovakia
England v Scotland
Spain v North Korea
France v West Germany

Location of finals up to 1965:
1961 - London
1962 - Santiago do Chile
1963 - Sao Paulo
1964 - Madrid
1965 - Tunis
Will this lead to the US getting better at soccer
(or football, as it's known outside the US)
earlier than OTL?

At this time, the American Football League is about to start and American football is beginning its ascent into becoming the #1 sport in America...
Will this lead to the US getting better at soccer
(or football, as it's known outside the US)
earlier than OTL?

At this time, the American Football League is about to start and American football is beginning its ascent into becoming the #1 sport in America...
It will certainly accelerate it yes. However for now the US is still looking at football/soccer like OTL europeans are looking at formula 1 around this time, interested but not drawn in as of yet.