Teams in qualifiers: 56
Notable absentees: Sweden
Golden Boot: Garrincha, Vava (Brazil), Leonel Sanchez (Chile), Drazan Jerkovic (Yugoslavia), Florian Albert (Hungary), Valentin Ivanov (USSR) -- 4
Stats: A total of 89 goals were scored (2.78 per match); Brazil (14) scored the most
Format: Four groups of four, with the top two progressing to the quarterfinals
Number of matches: 32
• For once, FIFA resisted the temptation to tinker
• Brazil's Garrincha was sent off in the semifinals and should have missed the final but the Brazilian Prime Minister, Tancredo Neves, managed to get his ban overturned by FIFA
• The tournament was marred by a string of ill-tempered games in the group stage, the worst being the infamous "Battle of Santiago" between Italy and hosts Chile. "I wasn't reffing a football match," referee Ken Aston said. "I was acting as an umpire in military manoeuvres"
• Two years before the start, Chile was hit by a massive earthquake. The president of the organising committee, Carlos Dittborn, said: "Because we don't have anything, we will do everything in our power to rebuild." And they did
• This World Cup was the last that was not televised live in Europe, just predating the arrival of the Telstar satellite
After two World Cup championships in Europe, FIFA decided that South America would be the host continent, and it was a straight shootout between Chile and Argentina.
When Chile was wracked by earthquakes that killed thousands in 1960, Argentina looked favourites. But an impassioned call by the Chilean CONMEBOL president Carlos Dittborn won the day and the country's regeneration was led by the building of new stadiums in time for the tournament.
Brazil, on somewhere approaching home soil and with almost the same squad as four years before, were undoubtedly favourites. Pele, still only 21, had become the complete forward and Garrincha's development trajectory had been similar. Sweden, meanwhile, had been the highest-profile victims of a new qualifying process.
At the finals, England reached for the second round as runners-up to a Hungarian team that, in Florian Albert, had a player with many of the qualities of the "Magical Magyars" of 1954. He scored the winner in the two nations' group meeting.
Brazil eased out of their group, but not without cost. Pele, who had been in shining form in the 2-0 opening win over Mexico, ripped a thigh muscle in the 0-0 draw with Czechoslovakia that followed. He was to play no further part in the finals. Amarildo, however, was a decent replacement and became known as the "White Pele" for his efforts during the tournament. Garrincha and Vava were also there to take up the goalscoring burden.
The Chilean World Cup is now recognised as being one of the poorest tournaments in terms of football, a legacy in which no small a part was played by the disgraceful scenes that took place in Santiago when the hosts met Italy. The game erupted into a flurry of kicks and punches and, though two Italians were sent off, it should have been many more. "The Battle of Santiago" ended in a 2-0 victory for Chile and a police escort for the players as they left the field prematurely.
Garrincha, one of the bright spots of the tournament, helped Brazil past England in the quarterfinals. West Germany lost to Yugoslavia, who gained revenge for successive quarterfinal defeats in the last two tournaments as Dragoslav Sekularac pulled the strings. The Czechs, marshalled by left-half and captain Josef Masopust, squeezed past the Hungarians. In another surprise result for the hosts, they managed to beat the highly-fancied Soviet Union.
But there was to be no fairy story in the semifinal as the tried-and-tested combination of Garrincha and Vava scored two goals each against them. For Garrincha, however, heartbreak looked in store after he was sent off for retaliation for repeated physical abuse. Somehow, though, Brazil managed to get his ban for the final overturned by FIFA.
The Czechs were their final opponents, having beaten Yugoslavia in the semifinals with a late surge in the last 10 minutes. And a shock looked on the cards when Masopust made a burst past his attackers to put his team ahead on 15 minutes. It was not for long, though, as Amarildo rose to the occasion to score from a seemingly impossible angle.
Czechoslovakia held on gamely and it would take a fantastic move started and finished by Zito in the 68th minute to break them. Vava then became the first person to score in two finals when he capitalised on a goalkeeping mistake from Viliam Schrojf. The cup was Brazil's again. They had become only the second team to retain the trophy and it had largely been achieved without Pele.
Considering that Italy's double win of the 1930s was achieved at a time of stay-aways and pull-outs, no team had ever dominated the world scene like this before.