1954

FourFourTwo - - WORLD CUP OF WORLD CUPS -

Host na­tion: Switzer­land Games: 26 Goals: 140 (5.38 per match) Dis­missals: 3 Venues: 6 Win­ners: West Ger­many Top scorer: San­dor Koc­sis (11 goals) No World Cup favourites have been hot­ter than Hun­gary in 1954. They were un­beaten in 31 matches, Olympic cham­pi­ons and had twice thumped Eng­land in the nine months be­fore these fi­nals. Gusz­tav Sebes’ team were so good they ef­fec­tively played a dif­fer­ent sport. Revo­lu­tion­ary deep-ly­ing for­ward Nan­dor Hidegkuti dis­tracted the cen­tre-halves and Ferenc Puskas and San­dor Koc­sis were lethal in front of goal, with Jozsef Bozsik an early box-to-box mid­fielder. They beat South Korea 9-0 (still a World Cup record) in their opener, and not even in­jury to Puskas in an 8-3 group-stage vic­tory against West Ger­many could get in the way of the Mag­i­cal Mag­yars’ pro­ces­sion to the ti­tle. Could it?

STAR FAC­TOR

Away from the Hun­gar­i­ans, Brazil pair Nil­ton and Djalma San­tos were rein­vent­ing mod­ern full-back play, as was West Ger­many cap­tain Fritz Wal­ter, a ge­nius in wet weather. Eng­land’s Billy Wright was at his peak, Stan­ley Matthews and Tom Fin­ney (top) age­ing foot­ball roy­alty.

WON­DER GOALS

Lefter Ku­cukan­donyadis’ vol­ley from the edge of the penalty area for Tur­key in a 7-0 rout of South Korea stood out. Brazil­ian winger Julinho backed up a mazy group-stage drib­ble and thun­der­ous cross-shot against Mex­ico with another show-stop­per against even­tual fi­nal­ists Hun­gary in the last eight.

AG­GRO

The Bat­tle of Berne’s bru­tal­ity be­tween at­tack­ing heavy­weights Brazil and Hun­gary in the last eight (above right) ended with 42 in­creas­ingly vi­o­lent fouls, four cau­tions and three dis­missals. The in­jured Puskas later burst into Brazil’s dress­ing room, open­ing up Pin­heiro’s fore­head with a bot­tle as fight­ing con­tin­ued.

THE THRILLERS

Three-up in­side 20 min­utes, Switzer­land lost 7-5 to Aus­tria in the last eight, their cen­tre-half Roger Boc­quet play­ing “in a sort of trance”. It tran­spired that the skip­per needed an op­er­a­tion to re­move a tu­mour. It re­mains the high­est-scor­ing World Cup game.

THE FI­NAL

Half-fit cap­tain Puskas de­manded to play against the West Ger­mans, whom Hun­gary had thrashed 8-3 in the group. Two-nil down in eight min­utes, West Ger­many roared back, with the never-say-die spirit of Fritz Wal­ter (right) as the heav­ens opened crit­i­cal to vic­tory. Hel­mut Rahn’s late strike sealed the World Cup's big­gest shock.

LEGACY

Films were made about the ‘Mir­a­cle of Berne’ and West Ger­many’s post-war re­birth. It was the first fi­nal shown live, and de­feat sowed the seeds for the Hun­gar­ian up­ris­ing two years later.

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