Editor’s note: Every day from now until the start of the first match of the FIFA World Cup 2022 on November 20, we will reveal a different memory from the history of the World Cup. The the countdown from 101 continues with Germany’s upset against Hungary.
Yes, you read that right. Hard to believe all these years later, four-time World Cup champions Germany, the second most successful team in the tournament’s history alongside Italy, were heavy underdogs against Hungary in the final in Switzerland in 1954 .
The Hungarians were the favorites before the World Cup. They were led by Ferenc Puskás, considered the best player in the world, and striker Sándor Kocsis, who scored 11 goals in five games heading into the deciding game. They had already beaten the Germans 8-3 in the first round.
After beating Brazil and then defending champions Uruguay to reach the final with a 25-7 goal difference, Hungary’s first World Cup victory seemed inevitable. The so-called Golden Team was made up of full-time professionals and had gone undefeated in more than 30 games, spanning more than four years. Meanwhile, Germany was far from the perennial mastermind they are today; in 1954, Die Mannschaft fielded a semi-professional team full of fans.
Predictably, Hungary won 2-0 after just eight minutes. But the Germans came roaring back to level shortly after and then won the game with Helmut Rahn’s second of the game in the 84th minute. Die Mannschaft’s triumph helped restore some national pride to Germany after the embarrassment of the Second World War. But in Budapest, thousands took to the streets to protest the result, which some believe precipitated the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. Not only has the country not returned to a World Cup final, but Hungary has only in six of 17 since then, never getting past the quarter-finals. They haven’t qualified since 1986.
The miracle of Bern
Germany defeated Hungary 3-2 in the 1954 World Cup final.
Doug McIntyre is a football writer for FOX Sports. Before joining FOX Sports in 2021, he was a writer for ESPN and Yahoo Sports and has covered the US men’s and women’s national teams at multiple FIFA World Cups. Follow him on Twitter @By Doug McIntyre.
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