Wales rejoined FIFA in 1946 and took part in the qualifying rounds for the 1950 and 1954 World Cup (the British Championship served as the qualifying competition). The Welsh team included players of considerable ability, including Ivor Allchurch, Alf Sherwood, Jack Kelsey and the great John Charles, who throughout his long career was never booked or sent off. Despite his size and strength, he never sought to hurt an opponent and was known as the Gentle Giant. In 1958 Wales made their one and only appearance in the FIFA World Cup finals. Having finished second in their qualifying group, they were given a second chance when lots were drawn to find a team to play Israel (whose qualifying group opponents had refused to play them). Wales won both legs of the play-off to earn a place in Sweden.
During the wartime internationals (which are not included in the list of official fixtures), Wales wore hooped stockings and plain red ones in the 1945 series. Otherwise, plain red socks with white turnovers were worn, an exact replica of the strip worn by the Welsh rugby team.
Wales' post-war kits were manufactured by Umbro.
In 1947 an amended crest was introduced: the initials FAW now appeared above the dragon while the match details were recorded below. A slightly different version was worn against England, Scotland and Northern Ireland in the 1950-51 season with the year and opponent embroidered in a slightly different arrangement.
In May 1949 the Welsh team traveled to Portugal for a friendly and for the first time in their history, changed from their famous red shirts to avoid a colour clash. This kit was used on two other occasions and the yellow shirts with green trim became the alternative of choice for the next 40 years.
The FAW introduced a new crest for a match with the Rest of the United Kingdom to celebrate the Festival of Britain on 8 December 1951: the Red Dragon (Y Ddraig Goch) now appearing on a shield with a green border. The match details appeared in a scroll above the crest while below the motto Gorau Chwarae Cyd Chwarae (Best Play, Play Together) was embroidered. A red stripe was now regularly added to the shorts, a detail that became a signature of Welsh strips until all-red was adopted in 1966.
In 1955 modern, lightweight shorts were introduced but the traditional cotton drill shirts were retained.
1958 World Cup Change
In 1957 the FAW introduced the new, streamlined "Continental" style of kit. The team of the late 1950s was arguably the best in the history of the national team. Despite the fact that they qualified for the 1958 World Cup finals by the back door, they made a real impact. After drawing all three of their group games (including a creditable goal-less result against Sweden, the hosts) Wales beat Hungary 2-1 in a play-off to qualify for a quarter-final match with Brazil. A single goal by the 17 year-old Pele was enough to settle the tie, with John Charles out of the side due to injury.
A yellow and green change kit was available during this period, used for the first time in the 1958 World Cup Finals (details of opponents were omitted from the crest during the tournament) and again In Hungary in 1962.
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