History of the World Cup Soccer Championships 1954 Germany v. Hungary Part 1

About the history of the 1954 World Cup Championships for soccer or football ending with Germany v. Hungary.

1954

In 1954, West Germany was readmitted to the World Cup and Scotland competed for the 1st time. Uruguay was considered a strong contender, with 5 players who had participated in the spectacular 1950 final game again representing their country. But the new favorite was Hungary, which had twice soundly defeated the English during the preceding year.

The elimination scheme adopted for the tournament, held that year in Switzerland, was complex. One game in the quarter-finals has become immortal in its shame. Known as "The Battle of Berne," it pitted Brazil against Hungary. The 1st half witnessed a series of fouls; in the 2nd half, the situation degenerated to fistfights and kicking. The game ended with a score of Hungary 4, Brazil 2, but the violence went on. Allegedly, Ferenc Puskas, an injured Hungarian team member watching from the sidelines, hit the Brazilian Pinheiro in the face with a bottle. Thereupon the Brazilians invaded the Hungarian dressing room where further mayhem ensued. As British soccer star Bobby Moore recalled, "It should have been one of the greatest soccer exhibitions of all time. Instead these 2 nations disgraced the showpiece of the world."

The other quarter-final games ended as follows: Germany 2, Yugoslavia 0; Austria 7, Switzerland 5; and Uruguay 4, England 2.

A great downpour of rain greeted the semifinal match between Hungary and Uruguay, but it failed to dampen the skill of either team. The 1st Hungarian goal came from Kocsis to Czibor, past a gallant lunge by Uruguay's Maspoli. It was soon joined by another, headed in by Hidegkuti. Uruguay rallied close to the end with 2 goals. Hohberg was responsible for both, and after the 2nd he was so heartily congratulated by his team that they accidentally knocked him out and he had to be revived with smelling salts. The game went into extra time, during which Hungary made 2 more goals, for a victory of 4-2.

In the other semifinal game, Austria lost to the Germans, 6-1. The Austrian goalkeeper, Walter Zehman, appeared unsure of what game was being played and what he should do about it. Time and time again, the Germans came at him from one side or the other, sometimes from the center, and time and time again in the 2nd half the ball invaded the net. However, the German success was not entirely due to Austrian weakness; the Germans played a powerful, accurate, and manipulative game. They went from underdog to final contender.

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