France 6-3 Belgium (partially found footage of FIFA World Cup qualifying match; 1956)

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Photo of the match.

Status: Partially Found

On 11th November 1956, France hosted Belgium for a 1958 FIFA World Cup qualifying match. Occurring in front of 46,049 at the Stade Yves-du-Manoir, the encounter was ultimately won by France 6-3, with Thadee Cisowski scoring five goals. A 45-minute taped broadcast of the match also convinced the French Football Federation and the Groupement des Clubs Autorisés of the viability of televising league games.


France and Belgium were both assigned to UEFA Group 2 of the 1958 FIFA World Cup qualification stage, alongside Iceland.[1] Only one team would automatically qualify for the World Cup, with the second-placed team having to rely on a chance to be drawn for the AFC/CAF-UEFA play-off.[1] The last time France and Belgium faced off was on 25th December 1955, which was won by Belgium 2-1 at the King Baudouin Stadium.[2]

Meanwhile, RTF elected to record 45 minutes of footage for a television broadcast.[3] According to L'Équipe, the match entertaining nature convinced both the French Football Federation and the Groupement des Clubs Autorisés that the televising of league matches was a viable prospect.[3] After initiating resisting the concept due to concerns it would reduce attendances at stadiums, both organisations gave permission for RTF to televise live a French Division 1 game between Stade de Reims and FC Metz on 29th December that same year.[3]

The Match

The match itself occurred on 11th November 1956, in front of 46,049 at the Stade Yves-du-Manoir.[4] The home side took the lead courtesy of a goal from Thadee Cisowski, who converted a short cross from a teammate.[4] Two minutes later, Cisowski would double France's lead, but Belgium's Denis Houf would quickly pull one back with a powerful strike to the left.[4] After 18 minutes, it was already 3-1, with Jean Vincent slamming the ball into the net after a Belgian defender failed to control it.[4] A minute before half-time, Cisowski earned his hat-trick, converting another cross for 4-1.[4]

After the game reached over 60 minutes, Belgium launched a comeback thanks to Maurice Willems.[4] Willems broke through the French defence, and despite goalkeeper Francois Remetter's block attempt, was able to fire the ball into the French net. Six minutes later, Willems made it 4-3.[4] Despite this comeback, France ultimately still came out on top, with Cisowski scoring another two goals after 72 and 88 minutes respectively to achieve a 6-3 victory and two points in the group standings.[4]

After both teams defeated Iceland home and away, they would play again at Belgium's King Baudouin Stadium on 27th October 1957.[5][1] Belgium needed to win to guarantee a replay on a neutral ground.[1] Neither side were able to score though, allowing France to top the group two points ahead of Belgium, thus qualifying for the World Cup.[5][1] Wales would be allocated the play-off spot, meaning Belgium failed to qualify for the event.[1] At the World Cup held in Sweden, France topped their group after beating Paraguay and Scotland, but losing to Yugoslavia.[6] In the quarter-finals, France beat Northern Ireland 4-0, before losing 5-2 to eventual champions Brazil in the semi-finals.[6] Nevertheless, France won the Third Place play-off against West Germany 6-3.[6]


As noted by L'Équipe, a 45-minute match broadcast aired on RTF television.[3] However, the coverage has yet to resurface. Nevertheless, footage from various newsreels are publicly available, although none document France's fifth goal.



Newsreel footage of the match.

Newsreel footage of the match.

Video providing highlights of the goals (with the exception of France's fifth) from various newsreels.

See Also